COMIC-CON 2013 EXCLUSIVE: Sebastian Stan talks Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In the midst of Comic-Con 2013 and all its craziness, we were lucky enough to sit down with Sebastian Stan and discuss his role as former best friend of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, turned evil assassin The Winter Soldier in the Marvel Phase Two sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Check out our exclusive interview, as conducted by Timelord JL Watkins.
How's your Con so far?
Sebastian Stan: I'm going to be asked that a lot. I'm just realizing it. We just got here, literally. We just arrived. All I saw was some of the streets on the way over here. But I haven't really gotten to experience it yet.
It gets crazier and crazier every second!
Sebastian Stan: I'm sure! It sounds cool!
Last time we saw Bucky Barns, he was plunging off a cliff, into a chasm. Catch us up. What happened between that icy death and where he is now, coming into Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
Sebastian Stan: Do I really have to answer that? I feel like people know what he's been up to. He's been assassinating people left and right under an entirely different identity. Apparently. Without him even knowing it.
The Winter Soldier is almost like the Boba Fett of the Captain America comic book series. He's a fan favorite...
Sebastian Stan: Oh, I love that you are saying that! I love Boba Fett! That's so cool!
Did you read the Ed Brubaker books?
Sebastian Stan: Oh, absolutely! I read them even before we shot the first movie. You know? I was familiar with this storyline before we went forward on that first movie. I wanted to make sure that some of those books and that storyline was in there. I didn't have a lot to work with, per se. But what I did have to work with, I wanted hand to hand, for it to get in there, and I figured some of that stuff out.
So, did you always know going into this franchise that you'd eventually become the Winter Soldier?
Sebastian Stan: No! Not at all. I only found out a year ago. I found out right at this time. At the Con. When the title was revealed, I got a phone call from a friend. He said, "We'll, I guess we're doing this arc of the story."
It's a testament to you as an actor, even on TV, you play these popular, memorable recurring characters. And here, we see people in the Marvel Universe get recast all the time. It had to be cool to know that you were wanted back...
Sebastian Stan: I'm so grateful, man! Before I even started on the first movie, and I listened to them describe this character, and where he goes, I wondered...God, I wish I would have know this was how it was all going to play out. But I'm glad...The whole way that all happened...Finding out, coming back around, getting another chance to further develop this character a second time, who I have become so obsessed with...I am so protective of this character, because to some extent, you live with them for quite a while. Its usually only on TV that you really live with a character, and get to add to it, and find new things...This was such a great character, and such a great opportunity to show off such a great side...Here's what could have happened to this guy. Added onto what did happen to him in the comic books. Its like, it shows you what could happen if one emotion becomes the authority of how a person leads his life. It's like me saying, everyone gets angry. But if you stay angry all the time, and you prey on that one emotion, and you keep flexing it like a muscle, and that's the only muscle, you have to wonder what would happen. So, I don't know if I'm making any sense...
No, you're making perfect sense. It's like that scene in the first movie, where they told Steve Rogers that the serum amplifies who you are as a person. And he was such a strong, good hearted, kind man that it allowed him to become Captain America. So, that would be amplified differently in Bucky Barnes, who is holding onto some anger...
Sebastian Stan: For sure. You also have to remember that scene in the first movie, where Steve rescues Bucky. You have to wonder, what is he rescuing him from? For all the fans that thought, 'Well, god, I thought the guy died when he went off the cliff...' Those people need to go back and re-watch that scene. Maybe there is a nice little clue on the wall somewhere that says this was going to happen. They are very smart. Marvel amazes me how they plan this out. It's incredible. I find myself being constantly surprised.
You always hear about people having to do weird things to prepare for a role like this, was there any icy, wintry...
Sebastian Stan: (Laughs) Well, no, I didn't live in a freezer for two months. If that's what you mean.
Your character has a very Eastern background...Well, like, I don't know much about your personal background, but I did read that you were born in Romania. Does that kind of personal background help you play a role, in approaching someone like Bucky...
Sebastian Stan: I was born in Romania, yeah...That's funny, because my friends used to tease me. I grew up, in some sense, in a communist country. I lived there until I was eight years old, but there were still communism. My friends would tease me and call me a red. Its funny, cause, low and behold, I end up with a Red Star on my shoulder. It was a neat little coincidence. I had a lot of time, to physically train, I had three to five months beforehand. Just in terms of body conditioning. In this situation, it's about being extremely flexible, and having extreme endurance. Having these long fight scenes that are epic. Doing that every day, all day, take after take, its almost like being an athlete. That was great. And then, you know, I dove into the whole cold war thing. I looked at the KGB. I looked at all kinds of spy movies, and all kinds of documentaries about that time, and what it was about. I grabbed anything from that time period. Anything about brainwashing. Just anything, cause I had the opportunity to do it. I went all over the place.
What do you feel is different about this movie, and how its done, compared to the first one?
Sebastian Stan: Looking back, I was describing it...For me, that first movie was almost like a dream sequence. It was almost like listening to someone tell you a story. And it goes into your imagination. This new one is like being in the room with these people. This is happening, and you are in the room. It takes a quick 360 turn. It's a quick 180 in terms of smack down reality as we know it. It's a badass 2013 reality, like, bam, this is happening on your street, its happening right now. I think the directors, that's what they had in mind. They did a really great job of bringing that to the screen.
Looking back at the first movie, Bucky and Steve have this neat little arc as friends. Bucky is the better soldier. He's stronger, faster. But then Steve becomes Captain America. I don't know if you would call it jealousy...But you do see that, wow, this guy is having a bit of a problem. But here, we see the Winter Soldier is now really giving Captain America a run for his money. Does that play into your relationship with Chris Evans?
Sebastian Stan: Chris Evans is so awesome. He is like one of my brothers. Literally, we show up, we laugh, we talk about our weekends, and then we get back to work. I give it my all, he gives it his all, and I feel so comfortable with him in terms of...You're doing extremely physical and sometimes dangerous stuff. You're trying to make something very realistic. So you want to have someone you are doing it with that you trust. You want to get along with the guy. You want to say, "We got each other. We're gong to go for it this time." The whole thing is a dance. It's so technical. You're trying to be improvisational in a controlled way. We're really great friends.