- Sylvester Stallone expressed his support for Ryan Gosling to become the next Rambo actor on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
- However, Jon Bernthal, known for his roles in The Walking Dead and The Punisher, might be better suited for the part.
- Bernthal demonstrated his hand-to-hand combat skills and ability to use heavy artillery in The Punisher, qualities that align with Rambo's character.
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Sylvester Stallone once again said he’d love to see Ryan Gosling become the next Rambo actor. As the person who brought the iconic action star to life across multiple decades and become synonymous with the role, Stallone’s backing carries a lot of weight. At the same time, Gosling has more than proven his versatility as a performer and would likely knock it out of the park if given the opportunity.
However, there’s another actor who might be better suited to the part, having already shown his adeptness at playing similar characters in previous films and television shows. He might not have the pomp and circumstance that Gosling has surrounding him in Hollywood at the moment, but he has both the emotional range and action credentials to convince anyone he is John Rambo. That person is none other than The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal.
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From Punisher to Rambo
Looking at what Jon Bernthal did as the Punisher, it’s easy to see why he would be ideal as the next Rambo. Not only did he demonstrate his superior hand-to-hand combat skills, but also his knack for using heavy artillery for maximum damage. Frank Castle doesn’t mess around when it comes to vengeance, and neither does Rambo. They are both the kind of characters that would burn down an entire forest to catch a singular rat, so it’s easy to see Bernthal transition from Punisher to Rambo without skipping a beat or changing his approach too much.
More importantly, Bernthal is convincing in tough guy roles. Even in The Walking Dead and The Accountant, he carries an air to his performances that strikes fear into others around him. He might be a man of few words, but when he speaks, everyone pays attention to what he says because business is about to pick up on screen. It’s necessary to have that kind of gravitas when playing an iconic action hero, and Bernthal more than has this special charisma in droves.
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Jon Bernthal knows how to play damaged characters
Another important aspect of John Rambo that’s often deemphasized in the later films is his fractured psyche. He’s a war veteran who has seen the worst of humanity and lost numerous friends while serving his country. This deep-rooted trauma creates a vulnerable quality to the character as demonstrated in First Blood when he breaks down in an explosive, tear-filled moment with Colonel Sam R. Trautman. It shows he’s a war machine used by his country when needed, then thrown back into the real world and expected to just fit in as if nothing happened.
It wouldn’t be the first time Jon Bernthal played a conflicted character. As Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead, Bernthal portrays a character that does anything necessary to survive, including sacrificing others around him. Ultimately, this does something to Shane – it dissociates him from his humanity and makes him feel as dead as the walkers he avoids. Toward the end of his run in the series, there’s a change noticeable in Shane’s eyes and demeanor, as he comes to terms with the consequences of what he’s done and what it’s done to him as a result.
Similarly, Frank Castle possesses a complicated past in The Punisher. Seeing his family die breaks something inside of him and sets him on a violent path of revenge. His behavior isn’t healthy nor a good coping mechanism for what he experienced, proving the old adage of how hurt people hurt people. Throughout the show, there are quiet moments that allow the viewer to peek through the cracks and see the broken man inside. Bernthal carries an equal intensity and sadness that elicit both sympathy and fear from the audience. He might be considered a hero, but he feels far from it. Isn’t that exactly who Rambo is?
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