Check out Sebastian’s interview in full over at MOVIEWEB.COM
It’s a testament to you as an actor, even on TV, you play these popular, memorable recurring characters. And here, we see people in the Marvel Universe get recast all the time. It had to be cool to know that you were wanted back…
Sebastian Stan: I’m so grateful, man! Before I even started on the first movie, and I listened to them describe this character, and where he goes, I wondered…God, I wish I would have know this was how it was all going to play out. But I’m glad…The whole way that all happened…Finding out, coming back around, getting another chance to further develop this character a second time, who I have become so obsessed with…I am so protective of this character, because to some extent, you live with them for quite a while. Its usually only on TV that you really live with a character, and get to add to it, and find new things…This was such a great character, and such a great opportunity to show off such a great side…Here’s what could have happened to this guy. Added onto what did happen to him in the comic books. Its like, it shows you what could happen if one emotion becomes the authority of how a person leads his life. It’s like me saying, everyone gets angry. But if you stay angry all the time, and you prey on that one emotion, and you keep flexing it like a muscle, and that’s the only muscle, you have to wonder what would happen. So, I don’t know if I’m making any sense…
No, you’re making perfect sense. It’s like that scene in the first movie, where they told Steve Rogers that the serum amplifies who you are as a person. And he was such a strong, good hearted, kind man that it allowed him to become Captain America. So, that would be amplified differently in Bucky Barnes, who is holding onto some anger…
Sebastian Stan: For sure. You also have to remember that scene in the first movie, where Steve rescues Bucky. You have to wonder, what is he rescuing him from? For all the fans that thought, ‘Well, god, I thought the guy died when he went off the cliff…’ Those people need to go back and re-watch that scene. Maybe there is a nice little clue on the wall somewhere that says this was going to happen. They are very smart. Marvel amazes me how they plan this out. It’s incredible. I find myself being constantly surprised.
Looking back at the first movie, Bucky and Steve have this neat little arc as friends. Bucky is the better soldier. He’s stronger, faster. But then Steve becomes Captain America. I don’t know if you would call it jealousy…But you do see that, wow, this guy is having a bit of a problem. But here, we see the Winter Soldier is now really giving Captain America a run for his money. Does that play into your relationship with Chris Evans?
Sebastian Stan: Chris Evans is so awesome. He is like one of my brothers. Literally, we show up, we laugh, we talk about our weekends, and then we get back to work. I give it my all, he gives it his all, and I feel so comfortable with him in terms of…You’re doing extremely physical and sometimes dangerous stuff. You’re trying to make something very realistic. So you want to have someone you are doing it with that you trust. You want to get along with the guy. You want to say, “We got each other. We’re gong to go for it this time.” The whole thing is a dance. It’s so technical. You’re trying to be improvisational in a controlled way. We’re really great friends.
Sebastian is interviewed around the 2:09 mark. 🙂
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.
You can check out Sebastian’s full interview with Blackbook Magazine over at BLACKBOOKMAG.COM
On the subject of talented actors, in another interview you mentioned learning a lot from fellow cast member Ellen Burstyn. Can you tell me more?
As an actor, in terms of performing the same thing every night, the challenge is to rediscover that sense of truth and be as honest as possible, which is difficult. Being opposite her, there’s always the element of surprise. Working with her leads to new discoveries. She’s a generous actress. She is such a presence that it’s very easy to work off of. I’ve become familiar with her book, which I urge everyone to read. It’s tremendously inspiring what that woman has lived through. Her knowledge extends decades; about writers, actors, movies, books, and poems that have inspired her, so she shares some of that. It’s almost like going to school and learning about all of these wonderful things again. She’s lived an incredible life.
Do you consider yourself a fairly grounded person?
Well, I feel the ground beneath my feet. [Laughs] There were times I wish I could have had a more normal upbringing, in terms of being in one place and going to the same school the entire time. I’m very grateful for where I came from and the way things worked out. I already feel like I’ve come a long way. If this is what’s happened so far, if I keep on the line I’m going, then perhaps many other great things will happen. It’s just the beginning.
So, did you have to get in shape for the role, or is that just your natural physique?
[Laughs] No, that is not my natural physique. Boy, would I love it to be. I did have to get into shape. While I can, I gotta answer some of these funny questions. People weren’t in shape like that back then, no way. That’s so 21st Century. No one can be ripped like that in the 1950s. And for anyone that says that, I would say, go and look at Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke and The Long, Hot Summer. Just look at his physique in those films. That should answer the question. The play asks very specifically for—it’s gotta be physical. This is how I saw it and so did the director. At the same time, it became a great challenge to want to get into shape. But, it coincides with another little project where I have to be in shape, so why not kill two birds with one stone?
You’ve done TV, film, and stage acting. How do they compare, and do you have a favorite medium?
The biggest thing that sticks out for all three of them is the element of time. In TV, everything goes quick, quick, quick. You gotta shoot a lot in one day. In movies, you have the luxury of taking your time and shooting something over the span of a few months. And then, on stage, you get your rehearsal period, which you don’t often get for TV and movies, so that’s always a very amazing thing in itself, which I enjoy about stage. That being said, TV keeps you on your toes because you gotta go, go, go. You don’t have time to think and reevaluate. In movies, which is ultimately the director’s medium, there’s opportunity for being a part of a really great project because you have the time to shoot the way you want to shoot. If you’re working with a good group of people and you’re enjoying the material, it really doesn’t matter. The final thing I’ll say about stage is, everything you do is in the moment every night. What the audience sees is your creation. It’s not edited. It’s not chopped up. It’s not one version of somebody’s point of view. It’s you up there that the audience sees.
See what Sebastian’s Picnic co-star, Maggie Grace had to say when she spoke with ELLE.COM recently.
ELLE: We should mention that Sebastian Stan, who plays Hal, is gorgeous and he spends almost the entire play shirtless and gleaming with sweat.
MG: It’s ridiculously hot, right? It reminds me of that scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love in which Ryan Gosling takes his shirt off and Emma Stone says, “That’s not even real; that’s Photoshop.” There are muscles on that man that I didn’t even know existed.”
ELLE: Did he just show up on the first day of rehearsal and strip?
MG: There was one day when the director said it would be helpful to understand how obscene it was at the time [of the play] for a man to be half-naked. He said, “I’d really appreciate it if you’d remove your shirt starting today.” And it changed everything! All of us became so uncomfortable! Once that happened, I honestly think we could divide the rehearsal process. There was B.S.S. (before Sebastian shirtless) and A.S.S. (after Sebastian shirtless)!
VANITY FAIR spoke with the fabulous Ellen Burstyn recently, and she had nothing but kind words to say about Sebastian! Read below to see what she had to say. 🙂
So how has it been working with Sebastian Stan again?
Oh, terrific. We were still doing Political Animals when he met with [Picnic director] Sam Gold and he told me about it, and then I was all excited for him because I thought it was a wonderful part for him, and then all of a sudden I got a call to meet with Sam. When I did, I told him how much I enjoyed working with Sebastian, and I was kind of pitching him to Sam. And Sam said, “I’m hiring him.” So he had already decided. I was very excited for him. He’s a darling guy. He’s just real sweet and we are having a very good time.
Yes. You can tell! The chemistry is very obvious onstage between the two of you.
Yeah, I must say the whole company, you know, it’s a true ensemble and we get along very well. Everybody is terrific. They’re wonderful people, and we are having a glorious time.