Can you talk about the characters that you play in THE MARTIAN?
Kate Mara: I play Beth Johanssen. She’s basically the hacker of the group. She’s much smarter than I am. She’s definitely the computer wiz of the crew.
Sebastian Stan: I play Chris Beck. He’s a doctor which is kind of funny to me. I can’t imagine anyone entrusting their life to me. These are all very specifically trained astronauts and my character’s background is in medicine. But they do trade off certain tasks across the day and just help each other out.
We’ve heard a lot that NASA has been closely involved with giving advice. Have you guys experienced any training?
KM: I wish! I’m sure if we had to have had it, we would have found a way but a bunch of us came straight from other jobs. I really wanted to go visit NASA with Jessica. She went right before we came out here. I was stuck in New Orleans finishing a movie there and I couldn’t make it out. But I really knew nothing about space or NASA or anything of the subject. I’ve just been trying every day to go on their website and read about women in space and the history there. I had no information to go off of. When we got here, I read the book, which I hadn’t before reading the script. I know that NASA is really involved and really supportive of the whole thing. That’s always really nice to hear because it’s very rare.
SS: I concur. (laughs) No, that’s what I heard as well. I heard they were very excited and supportive. Obviously, all of the research I’ve done was from my apartment. I didn’t get to go to Houston or JPL or any of those places unfortunately. I wish I would have had the time to do that. All of the stuff I’ve found, not surprisingly, is close to a lot of the details that are in the book. Reading the book definitely helped. I feel like we’re on a new wave of interest for NASA and space, particularly Mars. There’s a lot of campaigns going on that are independent of NASA. Popularity is rising. I feel like we’re going to see this actually happen in our lifetimes. You sort of end up pinching yourself as you’re shooting this stuff. A lot of what happens in the book follows closely these theories that you can find on YouTube.
The set seems like a really challenging environment to shoot in.
KM: Yeah. The first two days, Sebastian and I didn’t have anything in our costumes, which are brilliant and really incredibly designed but so hard to wear.
SS: I refer to it as a car. Every day there’s a part of it that works better than another. Some parts have issues.
KM: The incredible set we’re on, obviously you can’t make everything work perfectly. We need to be able to take the helmets off quickly and put them on. They’re lit perfectly. But because of that, we have some problems with all the dust getting in our eyes and not being able to breathe. There’s a lot of panic involved when you can’t breathe and you can’t see and you’re trying to stay in it. It is helping with the scenes. It’s been wearing us down.
SS: We were talking about getting here. We leave the hotel during night because the sun doesn’t rise until 7:30. We leave at 5:30, 6 a.m. We get here, barely see the day while shooting, then get into the car and it’s night again already. So it kind of feels like isolation.
KM: We constantly feel like we’re in our own little bubbles. People are watching us and talking at us and we can’t hear a thing they’re saying. All we can hear is what all the other astronauts are saying. At first it’s a little jarring but then you get used to it. Again, that helps to stay in it.
What’s it like working with Ridley Scott?
SS: For me, it’s like having a front seat education to acting. You think, “I get to go to work with these types of people” and that’s enough for me.
Do you think he gets enough credit for the performances in his films? He’s seen as a big spectacle director but he gets great performances.
KM: As an actor, I know actors that know that and recognize that.
SS: A lot of his films are very character-based. I think there’s storytelling there and a focus on character. How many amazing characters have come from his movies?
KM: That’s one of the things I love about his movies is that they are epic in scale but they –
SS: There’s always a part at the core of it that sort of grounds the whole situation. He just sees something in a way an actor likes. He sees how they shine the brightest and how to translate that to film.
What’s it like being on Mars? Is it nice to have a practical set and scenery around you rather than it being all green-screened around you?
KM: It’s crazy.
SS: Oh my God, it helps so much. It’s funny, there is some green in there somewhere but –
KM: We don’t ever see it. We were shocked when we showed up on set and found out that’s what we had to play with.
SS: Half the time, I don’t even know where the cameras are.
KM: That’s another bonus. There’s five cameras going and we all have cameras on our helmets, which, we were just told, are also going at all times.
SS: It’s cool though because it keeps the momentum going. It’s kind of like a play that way.
Last January, Captain America star Sebastian Stan had Sundance audiences buzzing about his dark comedy The Bronze, especially since he gets pretty damn naked in an extended (and highly flexible) sex scene. “I was a maybe too enthusiastic about it,” Stan told us with a grin last night at the opening night of The Heidi Chronicles, “but I certainly, uh, brought everything I had.”
And then some! Stan plays a preening gymnastics coach in the film, and when he finally has his romp with Melissa Rauch’s former Olympic athlete, the two of them cartwheel, leap, and pile-drive each other in the nude. “I really enjoyed the people I was working with, and when they explained to me what the scene was about, it was so funny,” Stan said. “I just thought, You know what, you’ve just got to jump in the water sometimes, right? You’ve just got to take your clothes off and go for it.” So he overcame his initial hesitations about baring all? “No, that’s the thing, I had no hesitation,” he laughed. “I was very happy about it.”
Stan will soon have to report for duty for Captain America: Civil War, where he’ll be reprising his role as the conflicted Winter Soldier. Has he seen a script yet? “You know, I have, actually, believe it or not!” he said, sounding as surprised as anyone. We wondered whether there’d be much room for his character in a Captain America sequel that adds Iron Man, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Hawkeye to the mix, and Stan wasn’t willing to allay our fears. “You should figure that one out,” he laughed. “I have no idea.”
The Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Thursday night with the premiere of “The Bronze,” which opens in the same plum spot that launched “Whiplash” last year. And like ”Whiplash,” “The Bronze” focuses on hyper-devoted players in a niche world of competition.
“The Bronze,” directed by Bryan Buckley (he made the 2004 Sundance short “Krug”), tells the story of a washed-up Olympics gymnast named Hope (Melissa Rauch) who tries to regain her glory days in a small town. The buzzy comedy, which hasn’t screened widely yet, is already drawing comparisons to “Napoleon Dynamite,” thanks to quotable one-liners in its screenplay. Rauch co-wrote it with her husband Winston, and they cast Marvel heartthrob Sebastian Stan as an aging male Olympics medal-winner who serves as the love interest/arch nemesis.
Stan, coming off a strong 2014 thanks to his pivotal role as the Winter Soldier in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” spoke to Variety about making “The Bronze.”
Tell me about the premise of the “The Bronze.”
It’s about the world of gymnastics. It’s a world we know very little about, and it’s a dark comedy about what happens to some of these triathletes that we see in competition who train since they are very young and their life just becomes about winning. Hope, after winning a bronze medal, lives in this bitter world, stuck in reflecting about the past and reliving her memories in a small town. I play Lance Tucker who is the splitting image of her, an ex-gold medalist-turned-adviser turned mentor.
Do you do your own stunts?
A little bit. I did a lot of research into the world of gymnastics and what kind of training these guys do. I watched a lot of videos, as many as I could find. God bless the Internet for that. I looked at the men’s Olympics teams from the last decade, going back to the ’70s and ’80s. A gymnast is the most physically all-around-perfect specimen. The training is so difficult on so many levels. It’s a very twisted world, in my opinion. We live in an age now where we’re seeing different sides to sports. We’re seeing what we see on TV, and then we’re seeing all the other stuff that goes into forming the image.
How did you get cast?
The script got sent to me by my agent. I read it and it was literally one of the things where I couldn’t stop laughing. I was laughing so much, I was calling my friends and quoting my character. Sometimes you read something, and you get so excited to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it. I then had a meeting with Melissa and Winston and Bryan Buckley. We had a two-hour conversation about our ideas. I was very lucky, I didn’t need to audition.
Have you been to Sundance before?
I’ll tell you, I’ve never been to Sundance. I have to get on a plane immediately on Friday [to shoot another movie], so I won’t actually be around for long. I always see those cast portraits, and all I ever wanted was to be in one of those portraits with a beard. But I won’t even be able to do that.
How has starring in “Captain America” changed your career?
Credit is due where credit is due–2014 was a very different year for me because of “Winter Soldier.” The awareness of me in terms of the industry has been very different. It’s granted me more opportunity to be able to search for the projects I want to be involved in, and work with the kind of filmmakers I’m really interested in working with. Bryan Buckley, to me, I feel like he’s going to be someone you’re going to know for a long time time. I was like, “Wow, I got the chance to work this guy before everyone is going to want to work with him.”
NewYorkMoves.com — There’s a sense, when you’re watching celebrities on the red carpet at the premiere of their newest blockbuster, that they’re as comfortable in front of screaming legions of fans as they might be sitting on their couch at home. There’s also a sense that they enjoy standing there, squinting under flashing lights and deafened by photographers crying out for their attention–and may even be basking in it.
Not so for Sebastian Stan. The evening I spoke to him was also the evening premiere of Captain America: Winter Soldier in LA. Although he was about to take a turn on the red carpet himself, he didn’t seem to know what to feel about the madness about to ensue.
“It’s not a normal thing,” Sebastian says of the red carpet experience. “You just see all the fans that have gathered and they’ve been there since…I don’t know what hour. And it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”
That’s not to say he takes the feeling as his Moment of Arrival. “I find that if feels better always being on the chase, as opposed to feeling like you’ve never arrived somewhere. Because arriving somewhere also means kind of an end… If anything you’ve arrived at one point and then it just sort of begins again.”
(We’ll see how it feels after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, catapults his name even farther into the Marvel fandom than Captain America: The First Avenger did.)
Sebastian Stan has had his share of beginnings. He’s lived in several countries. As a kid he grew up in Romania then moved to Vienna and finally New York when he was 12. While New Yorkers might have grown up playing Captain America with their friends, Captain America was never on Sebastian’s radar. “I didn’t even grow up with comic books,” he says. “I grew up in Communism. I think that’s the bigger coincidence–that I ended up playing somebody that has a red star on their shoulder.”
“[The move] was a long time ago,” he adds, “but at the same time I feel like it was the right age because I adapted pretty quickly. I had an accent and I was also so self-conscious–some people feel I still have an accent. But it got me to where I am today, and I’m happy it happened the way it happened.”
Sebastian still calls New York home–largely because he was just more accustomed to the urban way of life, as opposed to sort of more suburbia, spread-out type living. “For me it’s as simple as that, it’s just where we came when me and my family came to this country.”
From the first play he ever performed in, Sebastian knew that acting would be his calling. Since then he’s made it his business to be a triple threat: acting on television (Political Animals), on stage (he played Hal Carter in William Inge’s Picnic last year), and now stepping up to put his focus on film. When asked if he has a preference for a particular media platform, he pauses thoughtfully before deciding.
“They have their own challenges… I don’t necessarily prefer one over the others. At the moment, the movie experience is something I’m currently more focused on. But at the end of the day, it comes down to the material. … If it’s something I read and really respond to, or just get a feeling like ‘I have to somehow do this’, I gauge it by that.”
Flawed and conflicted characters are his preferred ones–as they often are with actors, and it’s easy to see why. “It’s sort of like going to a restaurant,” he says, “You have a menu… and you see all the things you can order; and you’re asking the waiter, ‘Hey, what’s in that? What kind of sauce is that? How do you cook that?’ It’s like wanting to order the richest thing [on the menu]. Rich characters are perfect characters. They’re always swinging to either side of the pendulum…” He chuckles and rushes to assure: “It doesn’t mean they would ever be fun to live in real life; I definitely beg to differ on that.”
Flawed? Conflicted? Rich? These adjectives certainly describe several of the characters Sebastian has graced us with – TJ Hammond and Bucky Barnes most definitely included. Not only because of the characters but also the space which they occupy. Concerning TJ, Political Animals followed the life of a prominent political family and all their personal troubles–and how those troubles, TJ’s in particular, followed them into the public spotlight.
“We live in a world where celebrity culture is really massive… For [TJ], [coming up with his character] was more like, [looking at] some of these kids of really public figures that end up taking the weight [of their parents’ public lives] and how they deal with it.”
In this super-sized, extra-large, seriously bloody bumper edition of the Empire Podcast, there are six interviewees. Count ’em, six: Muppets Most Wanted’s Kermit and Miss Piggy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, plus Inside No. 9’s Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. All of this, for free. We’re too good to you, we know.
You can listen to Marvel’s podcast featuring Sebastian and Chris below!
Sebastian dropped by Chelsea Lately to discuss Captain America: The Winter Soldier! In case you missed it you can watch the video below, and check out high quality captures in the gallery now!
Big thank you to my good friend Pedro of ChrisEvansHQ.com for the video!
USAToday.com — It wasn’t long ago that most of the explosions in Sebastian Stan’s on-screen life were of the sort caused by catty teen girls on New York City’s Upper East Side.
The stage-trained actor has left the TV soap-opera drama of Gossip Girl behind. Now, he’s armed with a cool costume, heavy weaponry, an abundance of psychological issues and, well, a metal arm as the complicated antagonist of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Drawing from a Marvel Comics story line, Stan’s Winter Soldier character is actually Bucky Barnes, the best friend and former partner of Captain America (Chris Evans) from World War II.
Like Cap, Bucky was thought to be killed in the line of duty. But instead of being encased in ice for 70 years like his buddy, Bucky was brainwashed and turned into an assassin who now works for Hydra. His mission: Eliminate Cap, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and pretty much anyone who gets in Hydra’s way.
“Bucky had to essentially become like part machine,” says Stan, who reprises the role from 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
While the Winter Soldier is essentially a new character, the actor revisited some aspects of Bucky he established in the first movie for continuity’s sake — which are important when Cap and his new foe figure out their connection in the heat of battle.
“Those are some meaty scenes, because it is a meaty concept,” Evans says. “Waking up 70 years later is heavy enough, and then seeing someone you thought was dead — that’s big. And he’s evil!” Continue reading