You can check out Seb’s entire interview over at PLAYBILL.COM
How did Picnic come about for you? Were you actively looking for more theatre work?
Sebastian Stan: I actually met up with our director Sam Gold about two years ago — in L.A. of all places. I’d heard such great things about him. He didn’t know at the time when or if it was going to happen, but we started discussing Picnic. Then I read the play and thought it was great. I love the ’50s and grew up loving works from that time period and from those great playwrights. Fortunately, the timing worked out, and we were able to do the play together two years later.
So you were already buffing up to reprise your role as Bucky Barnes in the “Captain America: The First Avenger” sequel, “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”
SS: Yeah. And it’s funny, because everyone’s had very different reactions to my physique. Somebody who came to see the show said to me, “Don’t you think you’re in too good of shape for this? No one looked like that in the 1950s.” But I watched a lot of movies from that time period. Because Paul Newman had been in the original Broadway production of Picnic, I watched a lot of Paul Newman movies like “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Long, Hot Summer,” where he played a homeless drifter, and he was in incredible shape — ripped, tan, and glistening. So I didn’t find myself to be out of line when I was physically preparing for the role.
You were only 12 when you moved to the United States. That’s not exactly the most ideal age to be different.
SS: Yeah, it was an interesting time. I really didn’t want to be different at all. I lost my accent — although it still comes out every once in a while — but I just wanted to be like everyone else. It took me a few years to finally realize that I should actually embrace where I come from, because it’s something that sets me apart. In my head, that’s sort of what Hal’s trying to do too. Hal’s desperately trying to be someone he thinks he should be and someone he thinks will fit it. Finally, he comes across someone, Madge, who basically says, “Listen, dude, calm down and stop trying to be someone else, because I like you for you.” The peace of mind he discovers at the end of the play is that it’s OK to own who you are.