GQ-Magazine.co.uk — Even as our backsides became numb and our eyes mere bloodshot arrow slits, at the very end of Avengers: Endgame, Sebastian Stan (as Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier) stayed true to form, keeping stoic and, largely, shtum.
While Anthony Mackie, in the role of Sam Wilson/The Falcon, was handed Captain America’s famous vibranium frisbee by a very wrinkly but very happy Chris Evans – thus becoming, for now, the MCU’s next Cap’ – all the dewy-eyed audience got from our favourite, oft-scowling tough guy was a modest nod of approval. No air punch. Not so much as a celebratory grunt. Stan as The Winter Soldier is nothing if not the very strong, very silent type.
Today, reminiscing freely about that last scene he had to play in Marvel’s multibillion-dollar-shifting Infinity Saga – Thanos defeated, Hulk with a sore hand, Tony Stark (*sob*) deceased, multiverse opened and unhinged – Stan explains how the germ of an idea for their new spinoff, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, now streaming on Disney+, began to take shape. “This wasn’t something long planned, not at all,” he says, laughing, when I suggest super-producer Kevin Feige – Marvel’s boardroom-based end-of-level boss – may well have had Mackie and Stan’s on-screen partnership in the pipeline for years.
“Maybe Kevin did, but he didn’t tell me about it. But once Anthony and I realised these changes were taking place to the storyline in Endgame, in particular to the story of Captain America, I think both of us sort of looked at one another and thought, ‘Well, we’re still here! We’re not dead! So, what happens to us now?’”
Naturally, almost unflinchingly, Marvel’s “not-so-random successful movie generator” had a decent answer: “This show is a revival, in spirit at least, of some of those buddy comedies that were so popular in the 1980s.” Think Lethal Weapon – just with more capes and a bigger pyro budget.
“Anthony and I both get a kick out of working together; we always have a lot of fun. Also, this show is six hour-long episodes, which gives us a lot more to play with than a two-hour film. ‘Buddy’ walked out of that last film with an identity crisis, so there’s a lot to dive into.”
Stan pauses momentarily, chuckling to himself. He stares off camera to his left, something he does sporadically throughout our chat, like he needs a horizon in order to contemplate certain answers. We’re Zooming, natch, he in Vancouver shooting Fresh with Daisy Edgar-Jones – who was kind enough to take these photographs of Stan, exclusively for British GQ – and me in darkest North London nursing a Heineken 0.0.
Stan lifts a flat cap, scrapes back a full hand of jet-black hair. Although his accent rolls in deep and direct from New York City, the actor was in fact born in communist Romania, where he witnessed his parents struggle through the revolution. He spent time in Vienna too, before emigrating to the States with his mother aged 12.
“Actually, now we’ve got these longer scenes together, there’s a lot more dialogue between us.” You make it sound like that is a problem, I say. “Well, in a way it’s the bit that worried me the most. Not as an actor, per se, but as a fan of the character.” How come? “Well, Winter Soldier and Falcon have worked together best when they’ve had little to say to one another. We’re good at quips. So, now, what are they going to say to one another?”
This sounds somewhat trivial but Winter Soldier’s entire thing – as the man who has walked, run and generally caused mayhem in his boots since 2011 knows only too well – is a very nonchalant, 1950s sort of sullenness. “He’s been silent for, well, almost all the movies and that’s what made him cool. He was cool because he didn’t open his mouth, a sort of less-is-more, brainwashed assassin.
“For this show I had to find his voice, in all senses, and do it in a way that was timely to what is going on in 2021.” Timely, how so? Stan is emphatic: “Look, you can’t do a show that explores the title of Captain America without touching on some of the stuff we have seen on the news. In fact, I would argue this is Marvel’s most relevant show yet.” Continue reading
EW.com — It was March 2014 when the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier assembled in London for the U.K. leg of their international press tour. For some, namely Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson, this wasn’t their first rodeo with Marvel Studios. They knew their talking points and how to regale reporters at the press conference by swapping war stories and feeding off each other’s energy. Sebastian Stan, only on his second outing in the franchise, was more reserved. He offered warm smiles and laughed along with the group’s jokes, but kept his own responses somewhat brief. When asked about any on-set injuries that might have incurred, he said. “I honestly wouldn’t feel anything until I was in the car on the way home, when I couldn’t get out of the seat. But I’m sure we hurt each other.”
On his left, Anthony Mackie chimed in. “You didn’t hurt me,” he said in a soft, almost amorous tone as they locked eyes. This made the audience chuckle. Stan livened up, volleying back what Mackie served. “You?! This is the first time I’m seeing you,” he joked.
Mackie had inadvertently solved a small problem for the Disney publicists managing that tour. “They were worried that I didn’t talk a lot. I get very uncomfortable,” Stan admits to EW, Zooming in from Vancouver for a chat with his New Orleans-based costar this past January. “They’re like, ‘Just put him in with Anthony, okay? They’re going to talk.’ And I was talking!” he says. “By the end, I was very lively, and it really is thanks to him.”
Mackie agrees. “I’m the ketchup to Sebastian’s French fries.”
Stan can’t help but smile. “Way to put a button on it, and then some!”
Whatever the special sauce, it’s this playful dynamic between the actors that made Marvel want to center them in their own event series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Premiering this Friday on Disney+ following the successful debut of WandaVision, the show sees Captain America’s two best mates — wise-cracking pararescue Sam Wilson (Mackie) and genetically enhanced super-soldier from World War II Bucky Barnes (Stan) — stomach each other long enough to face a global crisis involving a masked militia group and one Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), the big bad from 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. As it happens, head writer Malcolm Spellman points to a scene from that film as “the moment this show was born.” Fans know it well: a cramped Bucky in the back of an old Volkswagen Beetle asking Sam, “Can you move your seat up?” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, also looks to the duo’s battle with Spider-Man later in Civil War, which offered an opportunity for more banter. “They’re so funny,” Feige says. “Those are the two moments that we [at Marvel Studios] would watch and go, ‘I want to watch that! I want to watch them together more!'”
As production ramped up on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in Atlanta in October 2019, Stan needed reminding of that rapport. Again, he credits Mackie. “I think he had a much better handle on the temperature of the show than I did, because there are times where I was so scared and really trying to find the truth of everything,” Stan says. “He had to pull me back and be like, ‘Yo, just remember we’re going to have some fun, too!'” And that’s the show in a nutshell: a buddy comedy thrown in the middle of a high-stakes international thriller.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was once meant to be Marvel’s first Disney+ series out the gate, a show of force in the TV space from the masterminds behind one of the most successful Hollywood franchises in history. Though a scheduling shuffle and a production delay due to COVID-19 now has this premiering after WandaVision, the course for the six-episode hourlong series — as well as the entire Phase 4 slate — remains the same. The show is meant to set up what the world of the MCU looks like after the events of Avengers: Endgame. More specifically, it establishes what it looks like without Captain America. Steve Rogers (Evans), aged from his time-traveling adventures, chose Sam as his successor at the end of Endgame, but the Falcon notably remarks that the shield feels “like it’s someone else’s.” For Spellman, as a Black man, this was the essence of what he wanted the show to become.
“The idea of creating a series that features an African American superhero, and how he responded to that [moment], sparked a million ideas,” he says. It’s the thought “of exploring a decidedly Black, decidedly American hero in the current climate.”
“The show is very honest and forthright and very unapologetic about dealing with the truth of what it means to be American, Captain America, Black Captain America — and if that’s even a thing,” Mackie elaborates. “I think picking up from where we left off at the end of Endgame, the show progresses extremely well by asking those questions and really explaining why Sam said the shield feels like it belongs to someone else.”
Mackie doesn’t believe there is “a defacto Captain America figure” here. At least, not in the beginning. “I think the more important thing is, how do we now define the Falcon and the Winter Soldier? When you’ve been defined so long as an Avenger or a superhero, when you’re not that anymore, what are you?”
Marvel executive producer Nate Moore and co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout met with multiple writers in search of a lead for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Spellman, who wrote 2010’s Our Family Wedding and episodes of Fox’s Empire, rose to the top of the list. He had “one foot in what would be required for a fun action series,” Feige says, “but also, being a Black man working in this industry, [he had] very specific points of view that are required to tell the type of story we wanted to tell for, specifically, Sam Wilson.”
The mandate, Spellman recalls of pitching the show, was “this cannot be TV.” Instead, he decided with director Kari Skogland and the writers’ room to make each episode “feel like an event, not just as far as the spectacle on the screen, but the way you tell the story.” Skogland says, “Everybody went into this saying we’re making a six-hour feature. We’ll break it up so ultimately it will look like television, but it will feel like a six-hour feature.” Feige did note on the virtual Television Critics Association press tour in February that these “shows are not inexpensive. The per-episode cost is very high.”
Mackie had some reservations, let’s say, about this approach when he met separately with Marvel months after Endgame. “I was horrified,” he says of “being a guinea pig for the first [TV] spin-off of a Marvel movie.” He continues, “You’re in this amazing franchise and everything works. The last thing you want to do is be the lead of the first thing that does not work, ’cause that’s 100 percent you. I don’t want to be the guy that destroys an entire Marvel franchise.”
He felt a bit more at ease when Feige caught up with him before the start of filming. “I won’t let you suck,” he promised his star. But it was watching the finished episodes and what Marvel did with WandaVision that boosted Mackie’s confidence. Now, the actor feels like “Marvel has revolutionized the game of cinema” by bringing “the scope and magnitude” of the big screen to the small one. “If Kevin says it won’t be s—, I would bank on that,” he says. Continue reading
You can watch the recently released interviews above.
The new Disney+ series, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, uses its superheroes to examine a world still on edge after a global catastrophe.
NYTimes.com — When Anthony Mackie got the call that the executives at Marvel Studios wanted to meet with him shortly after the release of the 2019 superhero blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame,” he figured he was either getting a new gig or getting fired.
But after several years and multiple Marvel films in which he had played Sam Wilson, that airborne ally of Captain America who is also known as the Falcon, Mackie was feeling optimistic.
“I’m walking in with the assumption that the next ‘Captain America’ movie is going to be me,” he said.
So Mackie traveled to the Marvel offices in Burbank. “I put on a suit,” he said. “I sit there like they’re about to tell me the best news I could ever get.” His ebullient voice receded ever-so-slightly as he continued: “Then they’re like, ‘We’re going to do a TV show,’” he said.
Beyond the fleeting dismay that he wasn’t being offered another film, Mackie said he was fearful that he wouldn’t be able to translate the Marvel brand to TV.
“I was taken aback,” he said, “mostly because I didn’t want to tarnish the Marvel moniker.”
This was how Mackie first learned of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the new Disney+ series that will make its debut on March 19 and continue the adventures of those two reluctant allies, played by him and Sebastian Stan.
Arriving two weeks after the finale of “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is Marvel’s second show that seeks to extend the characters and momentum of its cinematic universe into streaming television. Its narrative mission is straightforward: to tell the next chapter in the story of its title characters, last seen in “Endgame,” after an aged Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has retired as Captain America and given his shield to Sam Wilson.
In both its story and its subtext, this show asks, how can the Marvel franchise continue without one of its most prominent figures?
As Stan explained: “We’re going to explore where these two guys left off, with one big character missing — the prominent figure that brought them into each other’s lives. Where are they, and how are they coping with the world?”
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” consisting of six 45-to-55-minute episodes to be rolled out weekly, offers timely explorations into the nature of patriotism and extremism and the values of inclusivity, diversity and representation, set in a world striving for stability after a global catastrophe.
It is also a series freighted with implications for the Wilson character and for Mackie the actor, who, in a universe with precious few Black heroes, now have the chance to become full-fledged lead characters after long careers as sidekicks.
“I’ve gotten used to being the guy overlooked,” Mackie said. “It’s become part of my brand.”
The stage was set for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” about two years ago, when Disney introduced its Disney+ streaming service and turned to its subsidiary studios for original content.
At the same time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was arriving at a narrative turning point with “Endgame,” which said farewell to beloved characters like Steve Rogers while creating opportunities for new champions to rise.
Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president, said that from the outset, his company wanted its Disney+ programs to feel as significant as its movies in terms of their production values and of the characters and stories they included.
“As far as Marvel Studios is concerned, the M.C.U. now lives in features and in shows,” Feige said. “We really wanted people to get used to the idea that it was going to be a back-and-forth. The story will be consistent across it and just as important in both places.”
The Captain America films are renowned for holding a mirror up to society, acting as parables for the modern world. Sure enough, as soon as Steve Rogers retired the shield and hung up his star-spangled boots, the world moved into uncharted, uncertain territory. Now, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan face the task of continuing a legacy that’s been built on values of courage and responsibility. Add mateship to that equation and you have a pair of comic book heroes uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of our times.
MensHealth.com.au — Over the past decade I’ve felt a difference within myself. A change, a pull, a stirring. And as the Zoom call connects and my face pops up between Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, my suspicions are confirmed: I’m a nerd.
Of course, I’m not alone. The slope to Marvel fandom is not only slippery, it’s one that’s claimed millions around the world in the last decade-and-a-half. It’s the original pandemic, a wave of nerd culture sweeping up millennial males, driven for the most part by the creative forces behind Marvel Studios.
Over the course of 23 films, the Disney-owned studio has brought the comic book heroes of our childhood to the big screen, intricately weaving together a saga that culminated in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the highest grossing film of all time. Beyond their box office clout, these films have had a profound impact on popular culture. They’ve created superstars of their casts, spawned a new generation of fitness idols and provided a great deal of fodder for this very magazine.
Here and now, I find myself positioned between two of the linchpins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (what us nerds call the MCU), trying my very best not to geek out. Maintain professionalism, don’t be a dork, do your job.
“How are you, boys?” I say, intentionally lowering my voice to mask my delight at the situation.
“Chillin’, ” says Mackie, stirring a tea in his mid-century-fitted living room. “Very, very excited,” adds Stan, juxtaposed in a cabin-style living room.
My inner geek stirs. So well cast are Mackie and Stan, that even their homes are reflective of their onscreen alter egos – Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson and Bucky ‘The Winter Soldier’ Barnes respectively. To my relief, they’re both equally excited to be here, clearly relishing the opportunity to once again be back saving the world, and many others, in the process.
“They brought me back! I’m not fired!” says a jubilant Mackie. “Just don’t get fired, bro,” he urges Stan, as if immediately realizing the fragility of their future. “Just don’t get fired.”
“I just wanted to keep going,” reassures Stan. “I always want to keep going. I’m happy we got another round at it, however we got it.”
Mackie and Stan have once again joined forces as the titular characters in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, taking on villains in their very own Disney + limited series. This time around the stakes are higher, for both the characters and the real-world players backing the project.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is an ambitious move for Marvel, a studio renowned for taking large, and often extremely profitable risks within the comic-book genre.
The show extends the MCU beyond the big screen, a moved planned well before COVID-19 shut cinemas worldwide, although the current appetite for on-demand, short-form content has only built excitement for the delayed release of the series.
If the early buzz and the popularity of its first limited series, WandaVision, are anything to go by, success for Mackie, Stan and the entire MCU seems all but assured. The critically acclaimed follow-up to Avengers: Endgame has even provided an opportunity for more work for the two leading men, with the possible introduction of a ‘multiverse’ (an equally exciting prospect for MH, with the promise of infinite cover men).
“They keep me so in the dark about what possibly happens with these dudes,” says Mackie, on what he hopes for Falcon’s future beyond this particular project. “I would just be happy to be in another movie.” That should be easy enough. Just don’t get fired. Continue reading
Youtube – Join stars Jessica Chastain, Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger (In The Fade), and Fan Bingbing (X-Men: Days of Future Past) for Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel, moderated by EW’s Devan Coggan, as they discuss this groundbreaking, breakneck new film and the dangers and thrills of launching a new global vision for the 21st century action film.
In the spirit of Bond and Bourne, Universal Pictures’ The 355′ (in theatres Jan. 15) is an action-packed espionage thriller, conceived and produced by Oscar® nominee Jessica Chastain, directed by genre-defying filmmaker Simon Kinberg, and starring a jaw-dropping cast of some of the most powerful female actors in film history.
‘The 355’ also stars Oscar® winner Penélope Cruz, Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramírez.
Netflix Film – ‘The Devil All The Time’ – “In Knockemstiff, Ohio and its neighboring backwoods, sinister characters — an unholy preacher (Robert Pattinson), twisted couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), and crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan) — converge around young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family.”
Here’s a small featurette of Sebastian talking about his role as Lee Bodecker. (Netflix © 2020)
”The Devil All The Time” is now streaming on Netflix.
SAG-AFTRA Foundation – Conversations at Home with Sebastian Stan of ‘Endings, Beginnings’ Q&A with Sebastian Stan. Moderated by Jenelle Riley.