As Captain America’s best friend Bucky – and as the subsequently brainwashed-by-the-Soviets-to-be-an-assassin-Winter Soldier – Sebastian Stan has been a key character in what is now an iconic trilogy.
With the third installment, Civil War, he is a primary cause of the, uh, civil war, led on opposite sides by Iron Man and the red, white and blue Avenger.
“The appeal is simple,” Stan said at a recent Marvel press event. “It’s a challenge.
“Every scene the Russos [Joe and Anthony, the film’s directors] and I would get together and go, ‘Where is he now? Does he remember this? Does he not? Did he remember that he might have committed that crime or not? So there’s a lot of fun questions with how to play it.
“We saw in the first movie – that’s the [real] guy. Then, this is what happened to him in the second movie and this movie is, ‘How does he live with it now?'”
Stan’s Bucky is in fights with at least 10 characters during the course of the film and he says it was a challenge with the Russos to make each fight distinctive.
“It’s like a dance,” Stan said. Plus, “we just had an amazing stunt team. These guys come from places like Ip Man and The Raid and all those awesome Asian films. So, it’s just a lot of repetition over and over.
“It’s like ballet.”
Stan said there was additional excitement in the stunt work because he wasn’t wearing a mask.
“I was like ‘the audience is going to see it’s me,’ so I was determined to do as much of [the action scenes] as I could, to the point where I was a pain in the ass to them – but I didn’t care, because I can sit here and tell you that I’ve done 90 percent of those fight scenes. I was even on the motorcycle.”
But the actor was forced to admit his limits.
“I fell off the motorcycle twice, off a Harley-Davidson,” he said laughing. “You have to know when your time is up and when to give it over to somebody . . . but you always do as much as you can – and then you’ve got to let a professional in there.”
To get in shape for the role, Stan said he had a trainer and nutritionist and ate 5,000 calories a day.
“I had a delivery system that basically delivered all my meals at 7 every morning and then I’d train at least four days a week. I got up to 200 pounds. I just wanted to be solid.”
Stan says a large part of his motivation came from his castmates.
“It’s tough, being around these guys,” he laughed. “All these guys are just working out constantly, but that’s part of the camaraderie that we share on set, the idea of pushing each other, always saying ‘Let’s do better.’
“That’s why when people ask about these solo movies, it’s like, none of us would ever say no but at the same time, we’ve got a good thing. Nobody’s squirming in the back seat.”
Stan is unsure if he will be in the “Infinity War” films or whether there will be a “Captain America 4.” While he says he would be up for one, he is more than happy with what he’s been able to do so far.
“These are trilogies and I think Marvel is aware that there’s gotta be a different phase [of films with new characters].”