Few actors can pull off the tough guy persona quite like Jon Bernthal. From his role as Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead to his more recent tenure as Frank Castle on The Punisher, the guy knows how to tap into something primal. Now it seems that at least a portion of that stems from his own innate ability to put his money where his mouth is. In fact, a new story from Bernthal himself even suggests that he once almost got into a fistfight with Oliver Stone on the set of World Trade Center over a decade ago.
As the story goes, things got somewhat intense on the set of the 2006 thriller about 9/11. Jon Bernthal was cast in the film in a fairly substantial role as a Port Authority police officer, and Oliver Stone took a pretty aggressive approach in his direction of the up-and-coming actor. At one point, Oliver Stone apparently started yelling at the actors to call them out for being "vain," and he specifically singled Bernthal out as "the worst" of them.
Not one to take anything from anyone, Jon Bernthal (who has had his nose broken fourteen times, some apparently even during fights) stood his ground and fought back against the Platoon director. According to Bernthal, he looked at Oliver Stone and said:
Let me tell you something, dude. You might be Oliver Stone, but I will beat your fucking ass right here on this set. In front of everybody here, I will beat your ass. You got that?
That's about as crystal clear as you can get when you're threatening to beat up an Academy Award-winning director. Following the encounter, Jon Bernthal was approached by World Trade Center star Nicholas Cage, who provided his own commentary on the incident. According to Bernthal in his recollection of the event to Esquire, Cage said:
Wow, man, there was adversity and you threw more adversity at it.
We're not entirely sure if that is Nicholas Cage's way of admonishing or praising Jon Bernthal's actions towards Oliver Stone. Given the National Treasure star's reputation for delightfully-bizarre antics, neither option would surprise us. It sounds like Bernthal and Stone ultimately never got to the point at which they were indeed ready to trade blows behind the scenes, but Bernthal later went on to explain that this was actually a trick by Oliver Stone, and the intention was to get a more intense performance out of the actor. Bernthal admitted that he was "young and stupid" during the incident, and he eventually would go on to become friends with the director in the long run.
Even in the face of that tense showdown with Oliver Stone, it looks like Jon Bernthal has managed to carve out a pretty strong career for himself as an actor in films like Fury and The Accountant. CinemaBlend will keep you posted with more updates related to any of his upcoming projects, and for now, you can catch him in The Punisher, which is currently streaming on Netflix.