Lionsgate Finds a New 'Punisher'

Lionsgate is set to overhaul "The Punisher" franchise with a new star and a new director.

According to media reports, Ray Stevenson will take over the starring mantle previously held by Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren. This "Punisher" will begin production in October under the watchful eye of director Lexi Alexander ("Green Street Hooligans").

The Marvel property's main character, Frank Castle, is a military-trained vigilante seeking revenge for the murder of his family and, like the 2004 movie, the update will aim for an R rating. It's unclear if the new film will stay in continuity with the 2004 film or if it will be a full reboot.

That 2004 feature, also a Lionsgate release, made less than $35 million domestically, but based on its low budget and solid DVD sales, Marvel execs have long maintained it was a solid performer, particularly if you compare it to the 1989 Lundgren vehicle.

Stevenson is best known for his work as Titus Pullo in HBO's "Rome." His feature credits include "King Arthur." This past development season he starred in CBS' zombie drama pilot "Babylon Fields," which generated solid buzz, but couldn't claim a spot on the network's schedules.

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