Variety – Sebastian Stan Pushes Back After Reporter Uses the Word ‘Beast’ to Describe ‘A Different Man’ Character With Facial Disfigurement: ‘I Have to Call You Out’
Sebastian Stan corrected a journalist at the Berlin Film Festival press conference for his new film, the psychological thriller “A Different Man,” when they used insensitive language to describe a character with facial disfigurement.
The film follows Edward (Stan), who, after undergoing facial surgery, becomes fixated on another man playing him in a stage production based on his former life. In the first act of the movie, Stan wears heavy makeup to portray a character with a facial disfigurement, and after the surgery, his face returns to its typical look.
At Friday’s press conference, a journalist asked, “What do you think happens after the transformation from this so-called beast, as they call him, to this perfect man?”
“I have to call you out a little bit on the choice of words there, because I think part of why the film is important is because we often don’t have the right vocabulary,” Stan responded. “I think it’s a little bit more complex than that, and obviously there are language barriers, but you know, ‘beast’ isn’t the word. And I think, ultimately, it’s just interesting to hear this word because I think that’s one of the things the film is saying — we have these preconceived ideas and we’re not really educated on how to understand this experience in particular.”
“That’s one of the things I love about the movie,” he continued. “He’s offering you a way to look at it, and hopefully, if you can have the same objective point of view while you’re experiencing the film, maybe you can kind of pick apart the initial instincts that you have, and maybe those aren’t always the right ones.”
Following its Sundance premiere, “A Different Man” is set to debut in competition at Berlin Film Festival on Friday night. Directed by Aaron Schimberg, the film also stars Renate Reinsve and Adam Pearson.
The film was well-received at Sundance, where the audience was left laughing and gasping at the film’s twists and turns. Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote in his review that the film “asks what it means to be ‘normal,’ and whether, if we could wave a magic wand and ‘correct’ those same aberrant qualities which set us apart, that’s really something we’d want.”
Pearson, who has neurofibromatosis, spoke at the Sundance premiere about how he was able to find common ground with Stan while discussing their characters.
“This was the hook that we gave to Sebastian,” he said. “‘You don’t know what it’s like to have a disfigurement, but you do know what it’s like to not have privacy and to have your life constantly invaded. You become public property.’”