How one Marvel Punisher Actor had his dream become a reality
Hi everyone! My name is Tyler Boronski. For those that do not know me, I am a YouTube Video Reporter. What that means is I interview Celebrities (Actors, YouTubers, Athletes, etc.) for my YouTube Channel “Tbautos512”. Geek Genie has offered me a platform to write guest blog spots relating to the content from my interviews. I look forward to sharing their stories and the information I learn from my Pop Culture guests through Geek Genie.
The last few years, Marvel and Netflix have been knocking it out of the ballpark with their television series. An integral part of the success of these shows has been the consistency of quality characters. Fans have fallen in love with these Marvel characters, whether they are a main or recurring member of the cast. The same fan love reception is true for The Punisher’s “Sam Stein” (portrayed by Michael Nathanson). Sam Stein was Agent Madani’s Homeland Security Partner, who in Episode 8 Cold Steel (Spoiler Alert!) is tragically killed off by the cold-blooded Billy Russo.
I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Nathanson – a self-proclaimed Pop Culture geek. We were able to touch on a variety of topics pertaining to his recent major role on the hit Marvel Netflix show.
Joining the Marvel Universe!
There are so many comic book fans out there, but not many can say they are actually a part of the MCU. Michael Nathanson can! As expected, joining the Marvel Universe has been a blast for Michael. It’s something he never anticipated. He’s particularly proud of having his own Marvel Wiki Page (seriously, how cool is that?). Because of the show’s success, Michael has had the opportunity recently to make appearances at various comic cons. The journey so far has been something he has not taken for granted.
Swear into Secrecy!
Imagine booking your dream opportunity and then not being able to tell ANYBODY! Not one post on Social Media, not one conversation with your friend, not even telling your extended family! If you know about the acting industry, you know that with any project you work on, they sign you off into secrecy. That rule couldn’t be emphasized any more than on a Marvel project. A friend of mine who worked as an extra on a Marvel project told me they put red tape over everyone’s cell phone cameras so no pictures or videos can be taken. Michael spoke about how they worked under a Pseudonym to keep the show confidential. “That was the hardest thing, this was the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t tell anybody for a solid seven months”, Michael admitted. Joking how his Social Media is now set for the next year with all the set pictures he had accumulated but couldn’t post.
Working with Amber Rose Revah (Agent Madani)
Michael made it very clear that working with Amber was a terrible experience and that she was horrible in the show… just checking if you’re paying attention. Actually he did say that and of course we was totally joking. Michael was truly amazed at Amber’s performance and they remain very good friends. In fact, Michael gave a little sneak peek on a potential project he might have with Amber where they would play husband and wife in a playwright set in London. (Let me know in the comments how excited you would be to see Michael and Amber work together again!) Although as Michael stated they are, “very different types of actors,” he felt their chemistry showed through in their on-screen rapport.
Watching his own Death Scene!
The epic, brutal, and very bloody death of Michael Nathanson’s character Sam Stein is one of the most standout moments from the show. I asked Michael how surreal it was to watch his own “death scene” on screen. To my surprise, it was not something that was a big deal for him. Michael touched on how he has “seen himself on screen do plenty of weird things” and that he is pretty good at distancing himself from his character. He noted the toughest part of watching his acting performances back was playing the “I could have” game and knowing he could have improved in certain areas. For the most part though, watching himself on screen is something he has become accustom to.
Production of Episode 8 Cold Steel
The shootout scene in Episode 8 Cold Steel is one of my personal favorites in The Punisher (I’m sure for a lot of Punisher fans as well). I was interested in asking Michael about the production of that scene and how they were able to make it look so realistic. Michael broke down how tightly choreographed it was but even though he knew it was fake – it felt very real. He explained that most of the gunman were trained stunt people. And that nothing was actually shooting out of the guns but that pre-set squibs and mini explosives created the realistic shootout sights, sounds and feel. Michael said he was living out a dream moment being “on a Marvel show, in a shootout, against one of the biggest villains of all-time in Marvel comics.”
As far as Sam Stein’s death scene goes, Michael explained he had to wear a prosthetic around the neck, followed by some latex molding to make it seem like blood was coming out of his stab wounds. He wore a wet suit underneath his costume to capture the blood. The suit had tubes inside that were attached to a blood pump run by a “blood team” on set that made the blood pour out. The “blood team” also poured fake blood into his mouth (because there wasn’t enough blood already!). He thought it was neat doing the scene but also tiring and very cold laying on hard concrete in fake blood during the heart of winter. Talk about commitment!
Thoughts on Sam Stein being killed off
One of the most repeated questions Michael gets is his thoughts about his character being killed off. From the show’s standpoint it’s a crucial moment – a significant reason for Agent Madani to move forward. From the actor’s perspective, it means his time working on the show is over and that he (most likely) will not be in The Punisher Season 2. When I asked Michael this question, the one word that kept coming back to him was “grateful”. He deeply appreciated the opportunity to have a memorable character that was loved by the fans. Much preferring that to a character that lingers on for several seasons but without much purpose to the show or connection to the fans. He related his character to being the “martyr of the show” and hopes his role on The Punisher will lead to more opportunities for other projects.
Favorite aspects of “The Punisher”
Finally, I asked Michael about some of his big picture, favorite aspects of The Punisher. Immediately he thought of Jon Bernthal. Michael spoke on how he was already a big fan of Jon Bernthal from The Walking Dead and Daredevil Season 2. In The Punisher Michael says of Bernthal, “He is the heart, the head, the everything of that show”, observing that Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle was “never one note”. Michael also reiterated that he felt the entire cast did an amazing job, even Ben Barnes who Nathanson jokingly said apologized to him several times before shooting that scene. Other aspects that he felt the show really executed well was the topic of PTSD, the music score selection, and the overall editing.
I want to thank Michael Nathanson for taking the time to do this interview. It was a pleasure speaking with him and hearing about his experience on this sensational show. Be sure to reach out to Michael on Social Media as he is fantastic with interacting and engaging with fans. If you enjoy celebrity interviews, please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel “Tbautos512” as all the support is appreciated.
Follow Michael Nathanson on Twitter (@m_nathanson1) & Instagram (@michael_nathanson)
Follow Tyler Boronski on YouTube (Tbautos512), Facebook (Tbautos512 Interviews), Twitter (@TyBoronski10), & Instagram (@TyBoronski10)