The 5 Best Jon Bernthal Roles
He’s the kind of guy that would kick your ass but then buy you a beer afterwards because he’s Jon Bernthal. Acting professionally for the past seventeen years, Jon Bernthal has portrayed a variety of intense, enigmatic, and deeply personal roles. Of course, Bernthal is most known for his portrayal of Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead and Frank Castle in the Netflix series The Punisher. Bernthal was born to play a hardened loner. He was one of the most misunderstood characters in The Walking Dead and he brings depth to Frank Castle that no other actor or iteration has been able to encompass. It seems as though there is a monster buried deep behind Bernthal’s eyes. When he’s given the opportunity, he lets that monster loose. Whether he’s fighting Walkers with Rick or gangsters with Daredevil, Bernthal leaves it all on the line when he goes to work.
5) Griff – Baby Driver (2017)
Baby Driver is a film from director Edgar Wright that tells audiences it’s okay to drive as fast as you want as long as you have a heart of gold. The titular Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) had just that. One character did not have a heart of gold, and his name was Griff, a career-criminal with, presumably, a violent history. Nobody plays a tortured soul better than Jon Bernthal, which is why the role of Griff belonged to him. It wasn’t a huge role for Bernthal, but it was just enough to make an impact and, hopefully, land him in some more big-budget blockbusters.
4) Coon-Ass – Fury (2014)
We will never get tired of seeing Brad Pitt kill Nazis. It worked like aces in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, and it works even more in David Ayer’s 2014 film Fury. The film is about a crew of soldiers, led by Pitt’s character Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, who undertake a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Some might even call these men a suicide squad. Heh. One of the five men is named Coon-Ass, an unflattering name for a tough-as-nails guy played by Bernthal. The actor just naturally looks as though he’s an army sergeant, so his casting in this movie is no surprise. What is also of no surprise is how well Jon does with such “A-listers” as Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf.
3) Brax – The Accountant (2016)
Look, we were going to try to get through this entry without mentioning that it featured “Batman VS Punisher.” But, to be honest, that’s the best part of an otherwise bland action-movie. The Accountant isn’t bad, though. Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, a savant that works well with numbers, not so well with people. Turns out, Wolff is an accountant (hence the title of the movie) for a bunch of dangerous criminals. When Wolff comes face to face with a face from his past, he must fight for himself, for his family and for Anna Kendrick. Bernthal plays a criminal with a dark backstory who steps up to Christian and goes toe-to-toe with him in the film’s best scene. Again, it’s not a lot of screen time for Bernthal, but he leaves a lasting impression that extends far past the ending credits.
2) Shane Walsh – The Walking Dead (2010)
Shane Walsh (played by Bernthal) was made out to be the antagonist of the first couple seasons of AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead. And yes, he maybe did some shady stuff from time to time but, compared to Rick’s behavior in later seasons, Shane was an angel. He saved Rick’s life, saved the lives of Rick’s family, and got tossed away as soon as Rick rejoined the scene after spending a few months in a coma. Talk about being ungrateful. If Shane had survived to go against Negan, it would have been an entirely different story with a lot less bloodshed on the part of the Group. Shane knew what it took to survive and that’s exactly what he did. He survived. Well, until Rick stabbed him in the chest. That was kind of hard to survive.
1) Frank Castle – The Punisher/Daredevil (2017)
The Marvel Universe is full of genius casting decisions, but none were better than casting Bernthal as the Punisher! Jon Bernthal is basically the real-life Punisher. Aesthetics and anger-issues aside, Bernthal showed just how great of an actor he is with his performance as Frank Castle. He brings anger and violence, sure. He also brings a vulnerability and a quiet sadness as well. The Punisher is possibly the best thing to come out of the Netflix/Marvel alliance and that’s saying something.