Lexi Alexander Director of Punisher: War Zone Reveals Freddie Prinze Jr. Was Almost Jigsaw

Lexi Alexander (Green Street Hooligans) gives an in-depth interview with Paul Scheer for his podcast, "How Did This Get Made?" Click the jump to learn about all the challenges that this director encountered while making the movie.

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By nailbiter111 - 10/5/2011


Click Here to Listen to the Interview with Lexi Alexander
Episode 20, Punisher: War Zone

This week’s How Did This Get Made? is the first of its kind. Our guests are Lexi Alexander, director of Punisher: War Zone and Patton Oswalt, one of the movie’s most vocal supporters. Together with Paul and June (unfortunately Jason had to miss this one) they honestly explain how this movie got made: From the very first pitch meetings to the week after it was released. Hear how unfortunate timing, poor marketing, and mixed expectations affected the success of one of the coolest, craziest, most fun comic book adaptations of the decade (at least).


Punisher: War Zone is one of the most over-the-top violent action movies to come out in years. It has so many WTF moments, that involve potentally brutal visuals. While the movie is certainly not a success, it does have moments where it is the most accurate portrayal of the Punisher character ever on film.

Another piece of information that you can now look back at years later as a mistake is that the first script was tossed away. That script was penned by Kurt Sutter, who is now best known for Sons of Anarachy. If his Punisher script had any of the talent that he has marked his biker show with, then I suspect we missed out on something very special.

Here are some great quotes from the podcast, transcribed by ropeofsilicon.com.
"The meeting is set the day after that Virginia Tech guy goes and shoots a million people. Not only that, I happen to watch the one newscast that showed his room, and what's in that room? A Punisher poster. So I call my agent and his manager and I say, 'I cannot go into this meeting.' Because now I had prepared a whole thing about how he goes in, he kills a million people…"


"The way that came about is I had a friend and we're talking about how I'm doing The Punisher, and the rewrite, and the studio wanted to hire another six writers and I'm like, 'Oh my God I can't…' and they're like, 'Look, just promise me one thing, don't you dare cast any fucking parkour guys and put parkour guys in because everybody's doing that.' And there were like three movies — I think Hulk and Die Hard — and everybody had parkour guys and there was a reverse reaction and then I heard it again from somebody, 'Just don't put any parkour guys in there!'

"I was like, 'What's with this reverse reaction to them? I'm kind of liking that. What can we do?' And I thought, 'Let's just blow them up!' If people hate them so much I kind of figured…"




"Lionsgate said, 'Unlike any other movie we do of this genre, we will screen this for the critics.' And they had simultaneous screenings for critics in New York and L.A. Now two days before I am panicking, a New York critic, now think about this… I thought I'm so screwed, I'm so screwed… I became this devil of the whole arguing directors and it was a bad choice on my part, but I wanted to fight for the movie.

"So I said, two days before, can't we at least put a one sheet on the seat that shows that we have taken every scene, every violent scene, every action scene from the comic book and even [cinematographer Steve Gainer's] look, he shot it beautifully the way the comic book looked. Can we at least show them so even though they don't — they're not comic book fans, so even though they don't what this is they'll understand the effort that was based on the source material. [They said,] 'That's a ridiculous idea, we're not doing that.'

"So what ended up in every paper, I'll never forget this, [...] a woman in New York, I think it was the New York Times [it wasn't], wrote this in her review, I think she wrote, 'Lexi Alexander should go to prison for her violent imagination.' Now, mind you, I didn't come up with it, it was in the damn comic book. But people thought we had some sadistic jerk off session."


"I had a soundtrack on it that kind of reflected what this movie was. It wasn't an orchestra, it was kind of ridiculous. It was good, but it was more up to what the tone of the movie was. They pulled it off, fired my composer and put one on, which I later found out the direction to this composer was 'make it more like The Dark Knight.'"


"My favorite scene in this movie, it'll surprise you, but I basically had to come up with this finale and I thought, 'Okay, now he has to kill a million people.' So how do I kill them? And I thought, 'There's all these gangs in the comic book so let's do that.' And, I don't know if you caught this, but when Jigsaw and Looney Bin Jim do this whole speech to recruit these gangs, that was a direct spin-off from that scene in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 when these two doofus recruiters come to the high schools.

"Because when I saw that movie I thought, 'Okay, who listens to these doofus guys who come up and say, Sign your life it'll be great? You may die, but…"





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51 Comments
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AiyalKilU - 10/5/2011, 10:50 AM
I almost forgot this was a movie

... maybe Marvel can do the character some justice with the rights
Dumegg - 10/5/2011, 11:04 AM
GOD!!! please keep Lexi Alexander away from
anymore CBM's. she BLOWS!!!
nuck82 - 10/5/2011, 11:07 AM
wow that would have been so much worse, wow mind blown right here
Villainous1 - 10/5/2011, 11:08 AM
I don't know how anyone can say anything even remotely close to a compliment about this piece of shit movie. It was a disgrace to movies, adaptations, and more than anything, the Punisher character and mythos...Here's a thought for the rumored reboot of a reboot of a reboot, let a [frick]ing fan (me) make it!
sexymuppet - 10/5/2011, 11:12 AM
its a guilty pleasure
JohnnyKrypton - 10/5/2011, 11:13 AM
As a Punisher film, it's INFINITELY better than that polished turd Jane and Travolta did (which was a disgrace to adaptations and, more than anything, the Punisher character and mythos).
nailbiter111 - 10/5/2011, 11:14 AM
thanks for the heads up teddy
headlopper - 10/5/2011, 11:16 AM
I wouldn't wipe my a** with this movie if it was the last piece on toilet paper on Earth.
Tom Jame FTW!
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/5/2011, 11:16 AM
............Yooouuur'e kidding, right? Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jigsaw?!! Ugh, what next? Matthew Lillard almost had the role for Microchip? Lol.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/5/2011, 11:17 AM
Tom Jane FTW!!! :)
RorMachine - 10/5/2011, 11:21 AM
It's a shite movie. I don't care if it has the most violent Punisher in film history, it's still shite. Laughable actually. I agree, she should go to prison but not for her sick mind, for her completely inept one.
MassExecutions - 10/5/2011, 11:23 AM
Yes, it is a bad movie, BUT Ray Stevenson is still awesome, and at least the violence was amusing.

It's just one bad Punisher movie among three bad Punisher movies.
KidDynamo0 - 10/5/2011, 11:26 AM
The movie is garbage. They sacrificed story telling for over the top violence. If you want an idea for a good revenge flick watch, "I Saw the Devil." The Punisher should have been in the vein of that film. Not some ridiculous shit they we were given. Lexi Alexander seemed to be out to prove that a woman could make a violent action movie more so than just making a good movie. Also, Dominic West was horrendous in Punisher: WarZone
MrBlueSky - 10/5/2011, 11:26 AM
Lexi Alexander: The Stephenie Meyer of CBM's.

@JohnnyKrypton Dude, you got it all backwards. War Zone was the polished turd. The Tom Jane Punisher is the better one.
RunDTC - 10/5/2011, 11:40 AM
I prefer this over the one with Jane. that one put me to sleep.
headlopper - 10/5/2011, 11:40 AM
Janes' 'Punisher' wasn't perfect, but it was entertaining as hell...and it had heart.
mattattack - 10/5/2011, 11:44 AM
The Tom Jane one was infinitely better in every way, shape, and form.
SuperFrost - 10/5/2011, 11:46 AM
i think i'm going to be sick... why do they let stooooopid people direct these movies. they need to screen them.
soberchimera - 10/5/2011, 11:50 AM
@Intruder
ditto
jimoakley666 - 10/5/2011, 11:50 AM
All we need is Ray Stevenson back with a [frick]ing brutal director...
VictorHugo - 10/5/2011, 11:51 AM
"What do you call 125 murders in five years!?"
"Work in progress."
MarkJulian - 10/5/2011, 11:51 AM
Terrible movie. Considering walking out multiple times.
NOLANITE - 10/5/2011, 11:53 AM
Kurt Sutter wouldve turned this into an Epic Franchise. SoA is a dope show.
Lexi Alexander should get raped and inserted with a tube of AIDS.
HelaGood - 10/5/2011, 12:00 PM
NOLANITE - 10/5/2011, 12:02 PM
Photobucket
"VENGEANCE HAS A NAME"
headlopper - 10/5/2011, 12:04 PM
@Intruder- C'mon man, Janes' 'Punisher' was horrible?
That's way too harsh. 'Catwoman' was horrible as CBM's go.
Stevenson's 'Punisher' seemed to be violent for violence's sake. It had no heart, no empathy.
It was like a slasher movie with a CB character in it. I'm not saying it was an abomination, but at least Janes' 'Punisher' was a movie you could emotionally invest in for a couple hours. You were rooting for the guy and his misfit friends...Even Mickey, which reminds me: "... isn't science fun Mickey?!"
grifter - 10/5/2011, 12:08 PM
My mother likes the Tom Jane Punisher, only rated R movie she watches for some reason.
grifter - 10/5/2011, 12:09 PM
I won't lie tho, I enjoyed War zone for what it was. Question is, can the Punisher get deeper?
JohnnyKrypton - 10/5/2011, 12:09 PM
@MrBlueSky

Nah. The Jane movie wasn't the Punisher; they changed the origin too much, to the point where the attack on his family was almost justified, the relocation to Florida was pathetic and Jane (who I like as an actor) never felt like the Punisher to me at any point. Jane's WAS a better film (West was AWWWFUL in WZ), but not a better PUNISHER film.

JaySin420 - 10/5/2011, 12:15 PM
The guy who played Jigsaw might be the worst actor ever.
MassExecutions - 10/5/2011, 12:28 PM
Intruder and JohnnyKrypton are both right.
headlopper - 10/5/2011, 12:30 PM
Looks like nobody here GAS about FP jr. Good.
I guess it's a matter of taste as to what 'Punisher' film you like the best based upon the comments.
I loved Jane as 'Punisher' and all the collateral stuff with the other minor characters, and if another was to be made , I hope he's offered the role and takes it.
BTW, funniest line in the movie- Clerk: "Need any help with some underpants sir?"
Quinton:" Go phuque yourself".
Dedpool - 10/5/2011, 12:50 PM
If you could take the tone of the Thomas Jane "Punisher" and the ultra violence, setting, and visual of "War Zone" you'd have the perfect Punisher film.
And I almost threw up in my mouth a little when i read the Freddie Prinze Gellar thing!
PaulRom - 10/5/2011, 12:53 PM
I recently saw War Zone for the first time, and I don't get all the hate. Sure it didn't have a lot of story at all, but it was entertaining enough to keep me watching it.
headlopper - 10/5/2011, 1:16 PM
@Dedpool- Yeah, I was kinda thinking the same thing- combine the two and voila-! ; the best of both...(with
Neill Blomkamp directing).
themayer88 - 10/5/2011, 1:27 PM
i liked this movie. sure the acting asnt all that great. but Ray stevenson was a total badass. its just violence for the sake of violence. so just sit back and enjoy the bloodbath=)
NOLANITE - 10/5/2011, 1:46 PM
I have a question for all: Who is this mother[fricker] named dude who is going around and trolling everyone?! 'truder and marvel72 have like 10 badges a piece!
warlock - 10/5/2011, 1:49 PM
I loved it found it fun. U guys are puppets ya,all like the same shiit, and agree with what others, say its a cbm not real life punishers a superhero slash vigatlante so i dont care if he punches peoples heads off, or blows them into smithereans he has to be like that hes a cb character, no 1 sais anything about tarintinos exagerated shiit or robert, rod shit, ya love cuz every one else loves it, god then fas furiouse movies are terrible and ya all dick ride and love it i dont get u guys
NOLANITE - 10/5/2011, 2:04 PM
warlock: you should turn on your spell check function on your computer...that or you are just dumb. but i agree with ya. the movie was total chaos and fun!
MaddMonkk - 10/5/2011, 2:23 PM
Looney Bin Jim was what ruined War Zone in my opinion, along with West's Jigsaw.
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