"Sometimes when people write about me, it sounds like I'm glorifying the violence," Bernthal told Esquire in a lengthy new cover story.
The actor -- who previously got candid about Kevin Spacey -- opened up on his own gun use and gun control. He also addressed the way "The Punisher" symbol has been adopted by some fans, from war veterans to alt-right white supremacists.
Bernthal is married with three young kids under seven, and he referenced them when talking about gun safety and the necessity for serious dialogue.
Here's that part of the Esquire profile:
The Punisher is so brutal that its debut was pushed back a month because of the massacre in Las Vegas in October. Not surprisingly, Bernthal is conflicted about the role that will likely define his career. He confessed that he spent days before we first talked thinking about how to address his character's obsession with guns. The more he thought about it, and the more people he talked to, the more uncertain he became.
"I'm a gun owner," Bernthal told me one afternoon in Ojai. "I have a gun in my house to keep my family safe. I'm trained in that gun's use. I know how to keep it away from my kids, and I know how to use it if I need to."
With [one of his rescue pit bulls] Boss at his feet, he went back and forth talking about the cowardice of those who hold absolute positions on either side of the issue. "Should there be a way that a guy with mental issues like the a**hole in Texas can't get guns? Absolutely. We have to have a dialogue, and that's not happening."
I noted that the Punisher's symbol, a skull with long fangs, has been spotted on military helmets in Iraq and biker jackets, and was seen on the shoulders of alt-right protesters at the white-supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"I feel honored to play a guy who people putting their life on the line identify with," Bernthal said.
And the alt-righters?
Read his full profile for a lot more of his thoughts on his career, and dogs, and family, and more. "The Punisher" is now streaming on Netflix.
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