He found fame as Frank Castle aka Punisher in the Netflix series based on Marvel Comics’ Daredevil, which has spawned a spinoff series called Punisher which he likewise headlines. Now Jon Bernthal stars as deadly hitman Brax in Warner Bros.’ action-thriller and recent U.S. no. 1 hit The Accountant.
Directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), The Accountant tells the story of Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.
The Treasury Department is not the only one on the hunt for Christian. Somehow, his “legitimate” assignment has unexpectedly put him in the crosshairs of a crack hitman named Brax, whose deadly skills rival Chris’s own. Affleck attests, “Brax is proficient in a way that’s commensurate with Chris, and we get a sense that these two mysterious characters are on a collision course.”
Cast in the role, Jon Bernthal describes Brax as “highly unpredictable and extremely dangerous and he seems to enjoy what he does. He’s a lone wolf who is quite capable of taking care of business by himself.”
O’Connor states that Bernthal was his first and only choice for the role. “I wanted Jon to play Brax because he’s a great actor and I knew he would bring ingredients to the character that I was looking for.”
Responding in kind, Bernthal says, “I’m a huge fan of Gavin’s movies and have been dying to work with him, so when the phone rang, I was in. Gavin is a real actor’s director and it was a real honor to be among the group of actors he put together for the film. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.”
Bernthal underwent training to play the ruthless mercenary Brax, under stunt coordinators Sam Hargrave and Fernando Chien. Chien clarifies, “What we wanted to do with Brax was to create a counter to the style of Ben Affleck’s character, Christian. Brax is more rough and tumble; he likes to mix it up. Jon has a background as a legit boxer and that frenetic type of boxing movement, where he’s in and out, left and right, punches in bunches and continually coming at his opponent, is in contrast to Christian.”
“Brax is more freestyle,” Hargrove agrees, “so we worked to differentiate the two characters, with one being very methodical and the other a bit more wild. And then you have Jon, who, from day one, was 100 percent game for anything and never missed a beat. Because of his boxing experience, he picked up the moves very quickly. It makes our job easier when you have an actor who has actually fought and can readily adjust to what we need.”
Bernthal concludes, “I like to do all my fighting myself and I came in feeling pretty prepared and confident, but these guys had a level of expertise that I can only dream of. It was great to train with them every day, learning all these moves and combining different styles to design the fights. The entire stunt team on this movie was unparalleled and it was a thrill to work with them.
Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 02, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.