Who Plays Jigsaw in ‘The Punisher’ on Netflix?
When Netflix canceled Iron Fist and Luke Cage in October, fans became nervous for the fate of other Marvel shows like The Punisher. When Daredevil’s cancellation was announced in November, it seemed certain the streaming service was canceling all of its Marvel shows. The Punisher fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was announced the series would return for a second season. The relief quickly turned to excitement for fans as they watched the Season 1 finale.
In the finale, Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) finally gets revenge against the man who killed his family, Billy Russo, by permanently disfiguring him. In the hard-to-watch scene, Castle smashes Russo’s face into a broken mirror, dragging it across the jagged shards of glass. Castle then tells him, “When you look at your ugly, mangled face, you’re gonna remember what you did.”
Fans who are familiar with the comics know this is a monumental moment for The Punisher, because it sets the stage for Jigsaw, The Punisher’s main adversary, to enter in Season 2.
Who plays Jigsaw in ‘The Punisher’ on Netflix?
Jigsaw/Billy Russo is played British actor Ben Barnes. Barnes made his acting debut on the TV shoe Doctors in 2000 and landed his first major role in the film Stardust in 2007. Until he joined the cast of The Punisher, Barnes was best known for portraying Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in 2008. Barnes returned as Prince Caspian in 2010’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Barnes has worked consistently, landing many respectable roles in his career. Barnes portrayed Logan in Westworld from 2016 to 2018 and will appear in mini-series Gold Digger when it is released later this year.
In addition to his acting talent, Barnes is also musically inclined. In addition to acting in Easy Virtue, Killing Bono, The Words, and Jackie & Ryan, Barnes contributed to each of the films’ soundtracks. With the exception of Easy Virtue, Barnes has multiple performances on each soundtrack. He was a singer in a boy-band called Hyrise for a short time.
Who is Jigsaw?
According to Fandom, Billy Russo first appeared in Marvel comics as a Maggia crime family assassin who was later hired by the Costa family to clean up after a botched job that killed Frank Castle’s wife and kids (which motivated Castle to become The Punisher). Russo takes out everyone on his hit list, with the exception of The Punisher, who escaped death by avoiding a bomb placed in his home. The Punisher exacts his revenge on Russo by killing all of his associates and throwing him through a nightclub window.
The broken glass permanently disfigured Russo, despite the attempts of the surgeons who stitched him up, leaving puzzle-like scars that inspired him to adopt the moniker Jigsaw. Jigsaw made it his life’s mission to hunt down and destroy The Punisher. Throughout his series of appearances, Jigsaw managed to find The Punisher on several occasions and subject him to varying degrees of cruel and evil plans, but never actually killed him. Jigsaw’s first appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #162.
How will Jigsaw be different in Netflix’s ‘The Punisher’?
In Netflix’s The Punisher, Russo is introduced as a friend who served in the Army with Castle. We already know that Russo has been disfigured, so we can surmise that he will return in Season 2 as The Punisher’s arch nemesis. Netflix’s The Punisher will give Jigsaw a “more realistic and less gimmicky” appearance than he had in the comics. Barnes told Den of Geek that Jigsaw’s mental state will also be impacted in the series, as this version of the villain also suffered significant brain injuries.
“It’s not necessarily about his face,” says Barnes. “It’s about the psychological, which is the way they try to approach everything this season. Even more so than last season, it’s about what’s in his head.” The implications of Jigsaw’s brain injuries may be far-reaching, stripping the character of his iconic name. Barnes explained, “We don’t actually refer to the character as ‘Jigsaw.’ Instead, he very much has a jigsaw puzzle in his brain.”