Now that Frank Castle fans all over the globe have binged and loved Marvel’s The Punisher, one thing is for sure: as a fandom, we can rarely agree on anything. Is our murderous vigilante Chaotic Good or Lawful Evil? Did the new Netflix show feature enough action scenes? Is Karen Page a likeable character? We’ll probably never reach a consensus for any of these. Yet, there is one thing we can all agree on, and that is our love for Ripley Sobo’s vibrant interpretation of Leo Lieberman.
As Micro’s daughter, Leo Lieberman doesn’t have extensive lines or appears in that many scenes. However, not a minute was wasted any time Ripley Sobo was on screen. Her character quickly became the center of all that is good and amazing in The Punisher, earning her fair share of emotional attachment from its viewers. Whose heart was not pounding when Leo was running from the bad guys all by herself?
While Leo Lieberman is endearing on paper, it would’ve definitely not carried the same spunk had it not been for Ripley Sobo’s soulful acting. And that’s no surprise. If you’re a frequent Broadway-goer, you might recognize Ripley for playing the lead role in Matilda.
This second iteration of the Broadway show featured an eccentric and quizzical Matilda, delivered brilliantly by the same actress who now interprets Frank Castle’s best friend. (You can watch a clip of her performance here. It truly makes my former New Yorker self remorseful that I didn’t get to attend Matilda while living there).
When it comes to being behind a camera, The Punisher isn’t Ripley’s first rodeo either. At such a young age, she’s already been directed by Academy Award-winning filmmakers like Zack Snyder (yes, she’s the girl from Batman vs. Superman), Danny Boyle, Jonathan Demme, and Akiva Goldsman. She’s worked opposite Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Russel Crow, HRH Meryl Streep, and has been hugged by Ben Affleck:
And truly, I’m just going to stop with her impressive, never-ending résumé here so we can finally get to the good part. We’re pleased to inform you that The Nerd League has snatched an exclusive interview with our newest sweetheart. We talked about everything from her acting journey to her experience working on the Punisher set to what superhero she’d like to interpret one day.
But beware: if you were already charmed by Ripley’s acting, you’ll probably never be able to get over her after peeking behind the curtain.
In Conversation With The Punisher‘s Ripley Sobo
TNL: Before The Punisher and Three Christs, most of your work was in theater. Now that you’ve experienced both, do you prefer the stage or the camera?
RS: I love both of them. They’re very different. The experience of having a live audience is incredibly fulfilling. To hear first-hand someone laugh or cry or cheer due to what I did on stage is amazing. It’s energizing. I love film because of the ability to touch so many people. To share my acting with people from all over the world. It’s magic.
TNL: What was your experience working with Jon Bernthal, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Jaime Ray Newman? Which other cast member would you be most excited to work with in a second season?
RS: They are so talented. They became my mentors and family. Each of them brings so much to their role. Watching and interacting with them is better than any master class. Of course, I’d be excited to work with any of the other cast members. Ben and Amber have such fun storylines. I’d love to work more with Ebon. We didn’t have a lot of scenes together, and I think he and Leo are very similar. They’re both smart, strong and believe in doing what’s right. No matter the cost.
TNL: Were you a fan of comics before joining The Punisher?
RS: A little. Probably the same as a lot of kids. I didn’t read them, my brother loves to do that. But, I definitely loved watching them. Comics are like modern day fairy tales. They let you become someone else. Someone different than who you are. What kid doesn’t love doing that?
TNL: Are there aspects of your characters in Matilda and Once you felt contributed to your interpretation of Leo?
RS: I didn’t consciously choose to do that. I think every part I’ve ever played becomes a part of me. Becomes a tool in my toolbox that I can use and draw from. I do think Leo has characteristics of both Ivonka and Matilda. Leo is strong, funny, and smart just like them.
TNL: What did you love most about playing Leo Lieberman?
RS: I loved bringing her to life. I loved figuring her out and growing with her. The audience doesn’t have a preconceived idea of who she is so I got to mold her. It was like becoming a better part of myself. I loved that Leo could fix things and that even though she was scared she could still see the good.
TNL: If you could play any superhero (Leo Lieberman spin-off aside), who would it be and why?
RS: I love animals. Any kind of animal. A bat once got into our house and I wasn’t scared it would hurt me, I was scared it would hurt itself. So, I’d love to be Squirrel Girl. I think it’s cool that she can talk to squirrels and they help her.
TNL: If you could have dinner with three actresses living or dead, who would they be and why?
RS: Jennifer Lawrence because I’m a huge fan and because she had the strength to keep acting even when she was unknown and not getting roles. She loves acting and didn’t quit. I’d love to talk to her about that.
Sarah Paulson because I think it’s incredible how she completely becomes a different character in each season of American Horror Story. She’s so talented and I’d love to talk to her and ask her how she goes about learning her characters.
Meryl Streep because when I was in Once they called me Little Meryl. I was in a movie with her called Ricki and the Flash. My character was seated at a nearby table to her character. She’s had the most impressive career and I’d love to talk to her about what’s she’s seen and how things have changed in acting.
TNL: The Punisher is the kind of show you end up binge-watching. Are there any shows you’re currently binging?
RS: I just finished The Office and now I’m watching Friends and Daredevil.
TNL: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
RS: Hah! My brother and I play this game all the time. I’d want the ability to have any power I want. But, he says that’s not fair. So if I had to pick it’d be super speed!! No one could ever catch me.
TNL: As a young actress breaking into the comic book industry, what advice would you give young girls looking to do the same?
RS: Follow your heart. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, that it’s for boys, that there aren’t any other girls or that a girl hasn’t ever done it before. Girls can do anything and be anything. Find others with similar interests and support each other. Make your own stories.
TNL: Do you have a Harry Potter house?
RS: I don’t think so. I’ve never found out. I’d love to be a Slytherin because they’re dark and scary and I love scary things. But, I think most people would say I’m a Hufflepuff though because of my loyalty.