Thomas Jane Talks Punisher Training

A fellow fansite has transcribed a recent interview from Drill Magazine with Thomas Jane and his trainer Mike Mello talking about the training for The Punisher. Click on the link to see the training regimen and the sexy cover of Drill.
THOMAS JANE WAS NEVER confused for Mr. Universe. Sure, he was in fine shape hunting sharks in Deep Blue Sea and was more than credible playing slugger Mickey Mantle in 61*. But to portray ex-Marine Frank Castle in the upcoming adaptation of Marvel Comics’ classic The Punisher, Jane, 35, had to have a superhero’s body. To get results, the former high school footballer endured a six-month regimen. We checked in with Jane and his trainer Mike Mello, a California cop and SWAT-tactics trainer, to find out how an average 178-pound thespian turns into a 200-pound killing machine.


Lots of protein, and up to eight meals per day. Fish, corn, beans, salads. No fruit and sugar. Liquid protein drinks like Myoplex, Carborush.

Mello: "It was all to get ‘the look’ of the character. This guy looks better now than some of the stunt guys."

Jane: "I stayed away from chicken, because chicken’s for sissies. For the first few months, all I was doing was working out and eating. It got really [frick]ing boring."


Two hours of weights and cardio per day, sometimes twice a day.

Mello: "It was more like a personal-training program than a military-training program. We were concerned about the injury factor."

Jane: "At the top of my game, I bench-pressed 275. They wanted me to do 300. I said, ‘Hey, I’m just 510! That’s plenty!"


Dry-firing with the M4 rifle, .45 caliber Colt semiautomatic, and a shotgun. Focus on shooting platform, stance, body alignment.

Mello: "We got him shooting on the move, thinking tactically. Normal military personnel aren’t even going to get most of this stuff."

Jane: "I have a thing for weapons. I grew up with shotguns — hunting rabbit, pheasant, and quail. I was the first guy in my Boy Scout camp to get my riflery merit badge."


Knife training included small daggers and the hooked Indonesian karambit. Short course in Japanese, Israeli, and Filipino martial arts.

Mello: "He got a little bit of everything in hand-to-hand. Movie training’s tough, since you don’t know what he’s gonna need"

Jane: "Mike turned me on to the finer points of the martial arts, how it enriches your mind, body, and spirit. And I loved the Indonesian knife — it’s beauty, simplicity, and effectiveness."


Writings by Japanese samurai warriors. Films like Black Hawk Down and Band of Brothers. Mello created tactical scenarios that taught Jane how to fight his way through a battle.

Mello: "I wanted to give him a base of reference that would help him think about this extreme-combat person he was playing."

Jane: "We talked a lot about samurai mentality, the ever-readiness, the state of relaxation and flow. You’re always at readiness, you know your body and how to use it."


Mello: "He’s a hardworking guy who didn’t come to me as a prima-donna athlete who would pick up all this stuff with ease. Everything was new to him, so it’s unfair to say he had weaknesses. His biggest strength was that, at some point, the light switched on and never switched off, focus-wise."

Jane: "I feel like I’d like another three months of training. But you give everything with the time you’re given, and that’s it — you go with it. It depends on your ability, your focus, your natural skill set. I absorbed as much as I could with the time I had."
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