Creating a television show is not just difficult because of the creative and technical requirements. It is also a juggling act between delivering a product that is true to its source material while still catering to the people watching the show. For example, comic books often feature excessive violence. Staying true to the comics without alienating audiences can be a difficult task for those making shows based on these books.
This is the situation highly acclaimed writer and producer Steve Lightfoot currently finds himself in. He is a decorated producer whose work on Hannibal earned him a significant amount of praise. His new project, The Punisher, is based on an extremely violent comic book series. As such, he had to manage both the expectations of Marvel fans and the expectations of general TV watchers. For those wondering who Lightfoot is, here are five of the most interesting facts about him.
5. He was an immediate success as a producer
It takes a while to become proficient at pretty much anything. With a task as complicated as creating a television show, one might expect it would take producers years to become skilled at their craft. Somehow, Lightfoot appeared to immediately take to the art. His first major production was Casualty, a show which would go on to win the BAFTA Series Award. Clearly, Lightfoot had a highly impressive start to his career.
4. He has formal training
Writing and producing television shows requires both technical and artistic prowess. While Lightfoot appeared to be immediately proficient in these arts, he did not succeed on skill alone. Instead, he invested in higher education to hone his craft. Lightfoot attended the University of East Anglia and graduated with an MA in Creative Writing. Clearly, dedicating years of hard work to his studies has paid off.
3. He doesn’t include violence for the sake of violence in his shows
Some viewers of The Punisher were quick to point out the routine violence in the show, especially the recurring violence against women. However, Lightfoot was quick to defend the show, stating that the violence was only included for a purpose. He has stated that what he was emphasizing was the cost of such brutality for the main character. As well, he stated that the recurring images of Frank’s wife dying are meant to provide the audience with a better understanding of the character as he comes to blame himself for her death.
2. He was convinced to do the show by Jon Bernthal
Lightfoot and Bernthal (who portrays Frank in the show) may not have had a discussion where Bernthal asked Lightfoot to work on The Punisher, but it was the actor who convinced Lightfoot to work on the show all the same. When Lightfoot was first meeting with the studio to discuss working on the show, they played clips of Bernthal in Daredevil. Lightfoot was so impressed by the layered and complex performance that he knew he could do interesting things with the character.
1. He’s conscious of TV stereotypes
Casting Amber Rose Revah, a woman of color, as one of the leads in the show was one of the more pleasant surprises about the production. Lightfoot has stated that aside from Amber’s obvious talent, he was happy to be able to break down some common stereotypes through the casting. The character is a proud American who comes from Middle Eastern descent. Not only is this against the common conception of Middle Eastern people living in America, but it is doubly powerful because the character is female.
Steve Lightfoot has received some criticism for the violence shown in The Punisher. A closer look, however, reveals that everything in the show was included for a reason. The show’s gratuitous violence is actually a medium through which the audience can better understand Frank. Further, the character Dinah was chosen not only to contribute to the plot, but also as a statement of inclusiveness and open-mindedness. With this kind of thoughtfulness, fans can expect great things from Lightfoot in coming years.