In a rather short period of time, Sebastian Stan has become quite well known to fans of all different genres. The CW set know him as Carter Baizen from Gossip Girl, while comedy fans may recall his turn as Hot Tub Time Machine. His wide variety of roles including Black Swan, USA Network's Political Animals and ABC's Once Upon a Time have little in common, except for how vastly different they are from one another.
Of course, Marvel fans were introduced to the actor in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger as Bucky Barnes, the best friend of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and one of his Howling Commandos, but although he's returning in this weekend's sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he most certainly isn't playing the same old Bucky. Thought to be dead for decades, this once-heroic character emerges as the powerful Winter Soldier, whose abilities exceed even the super serum-enhanced Captain America, giving Cap his greatest battle yet. I recently had the chance to speak with this diverse and talented actor about switching sides in this Marvel Phase Two sequel (CLICK HERE to read my full review), working with Chris Evans again, and much more. Take a look at what he had to say below.
Going into Captain America: The First Avenger, I have to imagine you were hoping to get a chance to play Winter Soldier. Were they ever discussing plans for that during the first movie, or did they come to you with the story much later?
Sebastian Stan: The whole story was brought to me before we shot the first movie. I didn't really know where they were going to take the sequel next, or even if we were going to have a sequel, at the time. We were still making the movie, which is why when people start talking about the next film now, it's the same thing. The movie has to come out, so I didn't really know, at all. In the script, there were certain things about Bucky Barnes, he wasn't written linear. There were peaks and valleys and some dark undertones, and that kind of made me feel like this is a chance to show various colors of things, depending on how it's going to go.
I read you really embraced the training aspects of this, especially with the knives. Even before I saw the movie, that knife fight part in the trailer was one of the coolest things I had seen in awhile.
Sebastian Stan: Yeah, you've got to credit our stunt guys. I had this amazing stuntman, James Young, and he was teaching me everything, in terms of the knife training. Yeah, we got into it, because we had the time and we really wanted to get it. It was fun. I mean, Chris (Evans) had been in a number of action movies, but I don't think any of us had learned this type of sequenced, choreographed type of fighting. This was something that, if there was a shot that would take three minutes, we would break it up and it took awhile. We took advantage of trying to do as much as we could.
The Winter Soldier's look is so menacing and awesome, and you know right away this guy is bad. It was like one of those Darth Vader moments, where you see this guy and you know he's the real deal. Can you talk about the actual costume you had to wear and the arm. Was there a lot of bulk to it, or were you still able to move around in it rather well?
Sebastian Stan: There was a lot of bulk to it. The way that the costume came together is it was made from five different pieces, and flexibility was definitely an issues, one we couldn't have really known, because we weren't rehearsing with the costumes on. We just saw how flexible we were once we got on set. It was tough. We went through some periods where we ripped a bunch of the costumes, just flying by the seat of your pants, a little bit. The arm was very specific. There were a couple of them, some more mobile than others. The ones that were more immobile were actually the better looking ones that looked cooler, so I always wanted to have that one. By the end, we just really adjusted to that.
I read that the Russo's (directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo) shot as much in camera as they possibly could, and that freeway chase sequences was just astounding. How much of that scene was actually you, as opposed to a stunt double?
Sebastian Stan: Listen, being on the hood of a car at 90 miles per hour, with other cars coming up behind you, you've got to let a professional do that. It's still tough, but the Russo let me go as far as I could possibly go. There was a certain way that I was moving, based on the way the costume was actually making me move, and so even with the mask and the goggles, a lot of it had to be me, just in terms of the physicality.
I also heard you delved into a lot of Cold War research to get into the mentality of this guy. What kinds of things did you take away from those documentaries about what kind of a mindset he should have?
Sebastian Stan: Well, it wasn't necessarily about the mindset of my character, as it was I really needed to understand what kind of movie we were making. I was looking at the origins of some of those great movies in the 70s, some that starred Robert Redford, so I saw that as an opportunity to study that time period and this idea of Russian spies, and this Manchurian Candidate. All that I was looking for were examples of people carrying out missions, the idea behind it. There's almost like a mythology to the whole system, with spies and the way they live and how they don't rat on one another. They don't survive. A lot of those people did not survive in the Cold War. It was like, you better not care about death, because you're probably going to die. There were different aspects. That kind of fearlessness was something that was interesting to me. I read this book called On Killing, which is about the desensitizing a human being through the military program, how does one go to that point where you can just pick up a gun and shoot somebody and not feel anything. What is that? Those were all things I thought I should look up, in knowing the character.
Is there anything that you're developing know or that you're attached to that you can talk about?
Sebastian Stan: No, not at this time, not that I'm allowed to say, per usual. Do you hear those words a lot?
Yeah, I do.
Sebastian Stan: That's really funny.
That's my time. Thank you so much.
Sebastian Stan: All right, man. Thank you.