Being A Kid On The Set Of The Punisher: An Interview With Kobi Frumer And Ripley Sobo

The up and coming child stars talk success, bullying, and being a kid on a hit TV show.

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With The Punisher, Netflix delivers its most promising, most praised series yet as we see a more detailed look at Frank “The Punisher” Castle’s (Jon Bernthal) life before and after Daredevil. With the new series comes new faces, as we are introduced to Billy “Jigsaw” Russo and David “Micro” or “Microchip” Lieberman. Lieberman’s family also becomes more and more prominent in each episode, especially his children, Zach and Leo.

“Everyone who knows me knows this was a dream role for me,” said Kobi Frumer, who plays Zach Lieberman. “Ever since I was a little kid, I was always obsessed with superheroes. When I heard that the audition was for The Punisher, I was screaming so much, I almost lost my voice. At the audition, I was so nervous in front of the director that I messed up one of the lines and thought I blew it, that when I got to the part of the audition where I had to cry, I was crying for real.”

Co-star Ripley Sobo, who plays Leo, didn’t even know what she was getting into because The Punisher was under a code name while auditions were taking place. “I didn’t know what it [the audition was for] until I booked it,” she said.

Photo by Gian DiStefano

Sobo sees a lot of her character Leo in herself, who is smart, strong, and brave. And she learned something from her, that she shouldn’t take people for granted because you don’t know what “tomorrow will bring.”

Like Leo, Sobo has a younger brother and is close to her father. In order to relate to Leo, she had herself imagine what life would be like if something happened to him. “One of the things I learned from Jon as to try and stay in character as much as possible [in order to] maintain emotion,” she recalled.

Frumer opened up about his own experience with bullying, and how it made him better able to relate to Zach, who he described as a typical kid who is struggling with the death of his father and bullying because his father was accused of crimes he didn’t commit. “Although I never suffered a tragedy as great as losing a parent, I have been picked on and bullied, so I know firsthand how painful that can be. I was able to bring all that hurting to the role of Zach.” He continued, “Bullying is so hurtful and the pain it causes makes kids act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. There is so much bullying going on in schools today, it is an epidemic. It would be great if schools could do even more to help in these situations so that kids don’t have to suffer and lash out the way Zach did.”

Frumer is not only a self-proclaimed fan of Marvel and DC comics, he’s well aware of The Punisher’s backstory. He said that he’s watched every Marvel and DC show or movie released, and although it makes him sounds like a “geek,” he just loves it.

Photo by Sean T. Smith

Sobo, however, came to the Netflix series without any prior knowledge. “[Working with Netflix and the cast] was great! Throughout the process [of filming,] everyone was kind, talented and welcoming,” she recalled. “Working with Marvel and Netflix was better than anything I could have asked for. Everyone from the cast, crew, writers, directors, and producers were so unbelievably talented, I was always in awe of them. Working with Jon Bernthal was truly a dream come true”, Frumer said, “I learned so much from him. Some of our scenes together were pretty intense, and Jon had so many great ideas how to make the scenes even better. He was just amazing!” Sobo also remains close with her on-screen mother, Jaime Ray Newman. “We still text each other and we are planning to get together,” she said.

Frumer and Sobo had very different accounts of their best memories on set. Frumer’s favorite scenes included the ones involving stunts, and the Thanksgiving scene, despite the level of intensity. One of the only drawbacks involved the cold weather when they were filming outside. During a football scene, hand warmers and hot chocolate between takes weren’t enough to prevent his hands from becoming numb, which made throwing and catching the ball a challenge.

Sobo’s favorite scenes were with Bernthal, since they allowed her to show a deeper side of Leo. She would “absolutely” see herself taking up a role on a similar project in the future.

Frumer also would love to work on more [graphic novel] projects in the future, and thinks it would be amazing if he could portray a “kid superhero.” Right now, he feels fortunate to be able to interact with his fans and meet other Marvel Universe actors, wo he’s in awe of. He and co-star Ripley “Leo Lieberman” Sobo “are like real-life brother and sister,” and have become good friends.

“If I could be in any movie right now,” Frumer said, “it would definitely be Avengers: Infinity War, because it combines all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into one movie. If I could play one of the characters, I would love to play Adam Warlock. He started the Infinity War, so it would be a pretty chill character to play.”

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