He’s the indomitable Bucky Barnes, who told a pre-warhero Steve Rogers that, “I’m with you till the end of the line”. He wasn’t kidding.
“Yeah, I love having beers with all the guys, Anthony Mackie (the Falcon) and Chris Evans included. I’m still really close friends with all the people I’ve worked with,” he tells me. Here. the Romanian born New Yorker answers 7 questions for us.
From Gossip Girl to Winter Soldier, what was your actor’s process? And do you have a ritual that always helps you get into character?
I used to smoke a lot. And I had this ritual, where I’d show up for the audition, have a cigarette, and keep the stub until I heard whether or not I got the job. Now its a lot of meditation, music, I’m a bit music guy and I like to create my own playlists. Anything that helps get your concentration in order.
What’s your dream crew? As in directors, writers, or actors you’d like to work with.
I love Aaron Aronofsky. Hey, can I send him a personal letter through you? (sure, go ahead I reply.) Aaron, you’re the only man who can wear a mustache well. Please call me, I’d love to grab lunch or see a movie together. Talk to you soon (Stan laughs, because, and you can tell, he’s half serious). Other than that, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard, amazing guys like that. Directors are important, movies are ultimately a directors medium. It’s their world, not so much an actors world. End of the day, it’s their vision.
On a scale of one to ten, how lucky are you in life?
Oh wow, I’m very, very lucky to do what I do. In fact I’m going to get a chance to travel to Malaysia soon for work. Everyday, I make a gratitude list of 10 things that I’m grateful for. (I’m incredulous so I reconfirm that anecdote) Yes, I do! I really think I’m really lucky. I’m so grateful for my family, my mom, my stepdad, they all made it possible for me to come here. Plus the opportunities I’ve had, for my friends, for the fact that I’m living in New York, in my own apartment in the city. I’m also grateful to have people that believe in me the way they do; my manager has been with me 17 years, my agent for 15 years. It’s also a friendly reminder that life is has got to keep going, you should never feel like you’ve arrived. You gotta stay hungry. It’s all over for you the moment you don’t. And in my job, it’s also about exploring yourself. Films are an incredible medium where you get to talk to people. I have these great fans, they write me everyday, telling me about their lives getting better from watching my movies. To me that’s more important than anything else. And as a man in the world, you have to leave something behind, if not what the hell am I doing while I’m here?
Okay, time for some fun questions. What kind of music gets you dancing when no one’s looking?
Haha… My favourite is 80’s music. There’s this one singer called Tiffany, her song was I Think we’re Alone Now.
Who would you want to be marooned on a tropical island with?
Easy. Endless pizza delivery.
How would the friends you grew up with describe you?
I hope – and this is a big one – that they say I’m loyal, driven and direct.
Who’s your favourite Disney princess and why.
Oh man… I think Princess Jasmine, from Aladdin? She’s just great and such a strong character that just stuck in my mind.
A war movie? An action thriller? A super-powered face-off for the ages? However you’ve heard Captain America: Civil War described, you’ve probably only heard it called a love story in semi-jest. But that’s exactly how director Joe Russo termed it when Empire caught up with him on set.
“What’s fascinating about the Cap-Bucky story as well is it’s a love story,” says the co-director. Stop your sniggering at the back, he’s talking about the fraternal kind. “These are two guys who grew up together, and so they have that same emotional connection to each other as brothers would, and even more so because Bucky was all Steve had growing up.”
The picture, of course, is clouded by Cap’s guilt and Barnes’ ambiguous morality. “Is he good or is he bad?” ponders Russo. “Steve has to answer that question for himself, and there are other characters in the movie who hold the opposite point of view. It becomes a very explosive. It incites a lot of conflict.”
Bucky himself, Sebastian Stan, dials back a little on the love talk – hey, it’s not like that fan fiction needs help writing itself – instead likening the pair’s relationship to the Bad Boys movies’ Will Smith/Martin Lawrence dynamic. “I think it’s easy and generalising it to say that they’re lovers, when you’re forgetting that one has a lot of guilt because he swore to be the protector of the other, the father figure or older brother so to speak, and then left him behind.” Adds the actor: “I have no qualms with it but I think people like to see it much more as a love story than it actually is. It’s brotherhood to me.” Science Bros, eat your hearts out.
One thing that is clear is that Cap’s loyalty to his old friend, now compromised by that whole Winter Soldier thing, fuels the breakdown of another, more brittle friendship. Tony Stark is, as the movie’s most recent trailer shows, is a foe to be reckoned with.
Joe and Anthony Russo are directing this one, from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars (deep breath): Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, William Hurt, and Daniel Brühl.
Captain America: Civil War lands in the UK on from April 29, and US cinemas from May 6.
Den of Geek: What were your first impressions of Lance when you read the script?
Sebastian Stan: Oh, man. Well, I was just laughing, really out loud, with my friend. And I just kept quoting the movie over and over again. Then I just kept thinking about the character later on, the day after, and then going to sleep at night. Usually when something sticks in my brain that prominently, I take that as a good sign. He was just this unafraid, bold, somewhat narcissistic, arrogant prick that was also just like extremely insecure and filled with a lot of emptiness. I thought the script was really just original and comedic and, at the same time, had a lot of heart. And I was a fan of (director) Bryan Buckley. So it was a pretty done deal for me at that point.
Had you worked with Melissa before?
No, I didn’t. I watched her after I met her and it I was amazed because her character in The Big Bang Theory is so different from who she is as a person. She’s also extremely different playing Hope. It just shows you how she disappears sort of in her roles. But yeah, I think she’s really, really talented.
What did you find in Lance that you could emphasize with?
Well, I think there was a moment towards the end of the film where you kind of see a little bit the cracks through this sort of heavy exterior that he puts out. That was the only moment in the movie where I felt you get to see some of the reasons as to why he is the way he is, also just kind of how his story ends up. It kind of made me feel at least like, “Oh, I think it’s OK if we really go for it.” I think this movie was not afraid to show those flaws of these characters.
You said that you felt like you were comedically challenged working on this movie, especially in terms of doing improv.
Oh, yeah. It’s still very new for me, but that was the exciting part, to want to sign up for a challenge like that, because Melissa and Thomas (Middlemitch) and Cecily (Strong), they’re all really comedic actors. They are just so witty and off the cuff. For me, I just had…because I have a European background, even though I’m very Americanized, still, in my mind, my thought process is very different. So I always wonder how that’s going to read across, because in my head it might make sense, but sometimes the way it comes out it might be different.
Fortunately, Bryan was just so encouraging for me to just kind of go out there. I think you just have to sort to jump in the water, which is why this was such a good experience for me in terms of comedy. To me, it’s a lot about taking risks and staying fearless. I think that’s a big basis of what improv is.
Did you look into the whole gymnastics culture?
I did, yeah. I looked at all the men’s Olympic teams from a few years ago, all the way to going back to ’87. I’m like, just who were the guys? Who were the people that inspire the others? Then I actually was following some of them on Instagram and social media, which was great because I got to kind of get a little bit of insight into their inside world, so to speak. And I got to see them out and about in life with their friends.
So I had this idea at one point through someone I knew that Lance always had a backpack with him that had the essentials in it or, like, what he needed. He just had this really immaculate, expensive, epic backpack that had a change of clothes in case he needed to hit the gym last minute, or a couple protein bars, a book on like…maybe Trump’s Art of the Deal could be in there. You know what I mean? So just kind of little things like that that would give me an idea of who the guy is.
What do you think the movie says about celebrity culture?
I think it says a lot. Look at Peyton Manning. I think football players deal with it a lot. But yes, our industry certainly has a fair share of it. I think the idea is that there is a dark side to success. There is definitely an underbelly underneath all the glamour and success that is quite taxing on people. I think that this movie explores a little bit of what loss of childhood is about, for example, and being rewarded to the extent that these gymnasts or athletes are rewarded so early in their lives where their psyches are still forming. Their careers kind of come to an end around 25, 27 years old. You’re not even a man really at that point.
But they learn the reward centers in their brain and so on. So it does create a monster a little bit in people, I think, at least in this movie. It sort of deals with that a little bit at the root; you know, what happens when the Olympics are over? What happens when the training is done and you go home? What happens when your body gives out and you are not able to compete like you used to? We’ve certainly seen that be a tragic sort of movie with a lot of different celebrities. So that’s all part of the film. Continue reading
On the 100th episode of Happy Sad Confused, the dynamically short-haired Miles Teller returns to join Josh to talk about Han Solo rumors, The Divergent Series, and his perspective on Fantastic Four. Then, the delightful Sebastian Stan joins Josh to talk about his many nicknames, The Bronze, and becoming the Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Millions of moviegoers will soon watch Sebastian Stan (as Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier) mix it up in the Marvel superhero-battle flick “Captain America: Civil War,” out May 7. But this Friday, he’s in a different type of battle as the cocky antagonist of the vulgar gymnastics comedy “The Bronze.”
In the movie, written by star Melissa Rauch (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Winston Rauch, Stan plays gold and silver medalist Lance Tucker opposite Rauch’s bronze-winning Hope Ann Greggory, two aging gymnasts fighting over who will coach a new prodigy, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson).
“Both Melissa’s character and my character are adult children who never grew up,” says the 33-year-old actor. “They’re both stomping their feet and going, ‘I deserve what I deserve,’ because they didn’t really have childhoods.”
Stan talked to Speakeasy about other aspects of his role in “The Bronze,” including its buzzed-about sex scene, as well his college days, his pro-wrestling fandom, and what’s next for him – and what we can expect from Marvel Studios films starting with “Civil War.”
Stan based his “Bronze” performance on real people, some of them jerks.
The actor says he modeled much of his character’s mannerisms on someone he met, although he was worried that the person would see the movie and recognize that Stan’s arrogant bully of a character was in part based on him. “Can’t judge a book by its cover, but this individual ended up being the sweetest person in the world,” Stan says, adding that he was also inspired by jerks he went to high school and college with.
“The Bronze” sex scene was a challenge in more ways than one.
A movie featuring a sex scene involving gymnasts has to involve some, well, gymnastics. Stan said he tried to do as many flips and moves as possible while being mostly naked, with the exception of a sock covering his genitals, in front of the crew. “And you’d be surprised by what you’re capable of once you’re on the spot,” he says. “It’s almost like you rise to the challenge, no pun intended.”
Stan knows his classic wrestlers.
When asked about how “The Bronze” compares to “The Wrestler” – another, albeit much more serious movie about a washed-up athlete struggling to stay relevant – Stan lights up. “I used to love wrestling growing up,” he says. “I was into WWF, which is what we called it back then.” Mr. Perfect (aka Curt Hennig, who died in 2003 at age 44) was one of his favorites. “The Perfect-Plex was the most intense maneuver,” Stan says. Continue reading