Pictured above: Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle aka "The Punisher." (Click on the image for a larger version)

Cinematical was lucky enough to attend a conference call earlier today with The Punisher: War Zone director Lexi Alexander in which we talked about the new film, the characters and the exciting Punisher universe. Above you will find the first image from the film, featuring Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle (aka The Punisher), a former FBI agent who wages war on the criminal underworld following the death of his family. The film arrives in theaters on September 12th, 2008. Here's a bit of our conversation:

Does this movie take place more in the Marvel universe or in its own world?

Lexi Alexander: Well I think in the sense of the other Marvel characters, it's definitely in its own world in terms of location, though, we call it the Marvel New York because, you know, rather than setting it in the real New York, we wanted it to have a little bit of a surreal feeling.

What one thing do you think distinguishes your take on The Punisher compared to the last Punisher movies that fans of the comic will truly appreciate?

LA: Well, the last Punisher movie really wasn't relevant to us. There's a lot of comparison to it, but none of the people on my team ever looked at that and said how can we be different or better -- we just kind of made our own film. The one thing I concentrated on was to really really make it as close to the MAX series as possible. I think we really achieved it as far as the look, as well as the tone. When I look at the dailies that I'm getting, I seriously feel like I'm looking at a MAX comic book right in front of me.

Related question: I think one thing the comic fans will realize immediately is that the world we created feels like the comic book in terms of the look as well.

Will this be a Hard-R Punisher?

LA: Well, it definitely will be a Hard R, and luckily Lionsgate's been great about it. They haven't given me any guidelines in terms of violence. I think they're a real good studio to make a violent movie, and I really like violent movies. So it's definitely going to be a Hard R.

Photo credit: Jonathan Wenk/Lionsgate

categories Movies, Cinematical