Check out Sebastian’s interview in its entirety over at MovieFone.com
Moviefone: Did you see the Winter Soldier as a “tragic” figure?
Sebastian Stan: Yeah, I did, but you can’t play that, you know. It’s not something that you can really use. Me as an outsider looking at a character like that I would say tragic, yes. Me as the actor kind of playing him, I saw him as a real viable threatening weapon. Somebody who just is almost operating from complete mechanical automatic ways of existing in life. He has very little trace of humanity left to him. And then somebody that essentially is starting to kind of feel things that he’s not — he hasn’t felt in a while. He doesn’t know why.
How do you find your way into his head?
I don’t know. I don’t really know. I think there was a lot of research that I did in the months before we started shooting, where I was able to kind of observe certain — I watched a lot of documentaries on post-traumatic stress and a lot of army documentaries about the training programs and some of the extreme sort of circumstances that some of those guys that are training to be Navy SEALs and some who are a part of it go through.
I was trying to understand what it is, what it means for someone to be desensitized, to no longer question hurting something. I did as much research on all that stuff as I could in order to kind of know what that was like. And then my stepdad actually has Alzheimer’s, so there were parts about watching and studying that kind of disease, also, observing people like that that kind of helped me a little bit.
Sorry to hear about your stepdad.
Oh, thank you.
A lot of actors say it’s fun to play villains because you can go big. But this guy has a lot of stillness in him. Was it still fun?
Yeah, it’s really hard. It is hard because there’s always going to be that voice in your head that’s going, “Are you sure they’re going to get it? You sure you don’t want to do a little bit more? Maybe you should use more facial expression or be more angry and do more, do more.” You have to kind of keep that voice in check. The more stillness the character had, and the more sort of nonchalant attitude about what he was doing, you know, the better it was going to come across. Everything to him should have felt like a typical day, a walk in the park.