a child, Sebastian Stan occupied more countries than most people do houses. At the age of 8, he moved from his native Romania to Vienna, and then, four years later, to New York.
Now 33, Stan doesn’t think all that dislocation was always healthy. But it may have given him a certain psychological edge in understanding characters who slip from one guise to another.
“It was hard. You’re inhabiting different worlds, speaking different languages,” Stan said in an interview recently. “But it helped me in a way. When you’re young you just want to fit in. And when you’re older you realize that what it really did was make you OK with feeling different.”
Stan is decidedly a man caught between two worlds in Anthony and Joe Russo’s “Captain America: Civil War.” The new and well-reviewed superhero movie, which begins its U.S. run Thursday night after a massive opening overseas, has Stan revisiting his role as James “Bucky” Barnes, a.k.a “The Winter Solider.” As viewers of the erstwhile film named for him know (and the first “Captain America” before that), Barnes was a respected U.S. military man — and childhood friend of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) — later brainwashed into working for the Soviets as a kind of human instrument of torture, before (possibly) remembering his roots and seeking redemption.
As viewers of the new film soon learn, Barnes will continue to evolve, as will the significance of his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character in “Civil War” becomes, owing to past actions, a key fillip in the tension between emerging rivals Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Rogers’ Captain America. He is, in a real sense, the pivot point around which all the action revolves.
As Stan eats a burger at a restaurant near his downtown Manhattan apartment on a recent Friday afternoon, he shows little of the prepossession of a man whose actions are about to viewed and scrutinized by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
His long hair hangs straight to his chin, a ballcap sits in his hand and his face wears the kind of stubble that is neither shadow nor beard. A pair of designer-casual shoes are the only hint of someone with a more upscale day job.
Stan recently moved to the neighborhood, and he’s taking a breather from the kind of media siege that wasn’t exactly standard for past roles on the likes of “Gossip Girl,” “Once Upon a Time” and several New York theater projects. In a few days he will appear on a morning show (“GMA”) for the first time and is about to embark on the type of circuit of late-night hosts (Stephen Colbert, James Corden) usually reserved for Super Bowl MVPs
It is a far cry from the actor who, on graduating from a theater program at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, just wanted to stay busy. Continue reading