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.
You definitely know Sebastian Stan. The 29-year-old rising star turned in memorable TV performances on Once Upon a Time, Gossip Girl and Political Animals, and he’s graced the movie screen in hits like Black Swan and Captain America. On top of that, Stan is an accomplished theater actor, having appeared on Broadway in 2007 in the Tony-nominated revival of Talk Radio. Nowadays he’s heating up the stage as a handsome, troubled drifter in Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of Picnic. Broadway.com chatted with Stan about learning lessons from Ellen Burstyn, growing up in theater and finding what it takes to make it on Broadway.
You play a classic “bad boy” in Picnic. What drew you to the role of Hal?
When I was studying acting at Rutgers, I was obsessed with actors from the ‘50s. I wanted to emulate them, the Montgomery Clifts and James Deans of the world. Everything they did seemed so iconic and so romantic in some broken, terrible way. And this play is, at first glance, an opportunity to explore that world. The challenge was to make that real.
You and Maggie Grace just ooze chemistry. Did that come naturally?
I would say so. Maggie’s incredibly sweet, very generous and there’s a very open communicative relationship between the two of us about what it is that we need to do every night. I can say the same about the rest of the group. I feel very lucky that it’s a welcoming, warm, friendly group. You don’t always get that.
Do you see yourself as the sexy, shirtless type?
[Laughs.] Don’t we all try and think of ourselves like that at some point in time?
You grew up doing theater, and you went to [the famous summer camp] Stagedoor Manor. Would you describe yourself as a “theater kid”?
Oh, for sure! I went to a tiny, tiny high school where kids weren’t competing with each other for a part in the musical because there weren’t enough people. It was Stagedoor Manor that advanced what I thought doing theater was—the process, the rehearsal, the costumes and what goes on backstage and everybody’s part in it.
What is it about theater that you fell in love with?
There’s something very arousing about having an immediate response from people, right then and there. Theater really is much more of an actor’s medium because you’re in control of the editing of what the audience is going to see. You’re the one making those choices. There isn’t somebody else up there cutting the moment together for you.
You’re also gearing up to play the amped-up role of Bucky Barnes in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Excited?
I’m completely excited to venture down that path. This is why January 1, 2013, was a glorious day to wake up to [laughs]. I’m very grateful and very lucky for what’s going on right now. I think you have to allow yourself to be excited about the magnitude of something like [Captain America].
Check out Sebastian’s entire interview over at BROADWAY.COM
Entering stage left: The best abs on Broadway.
The well-tended washboard belongs to Sebastian Stan, who plays Hal Carter in William Inge’s 1953 drama, “Picnic.”
Hal is the horndog drifter who wears his ripe, ever-ready sexuality on his sleeve.
When he’s got sleeves, that is.
Hal spends much of the first act without a shirt.
“It’s so important to the story,” says Stan, when asked about all the beefcake. “It’s about a small town in the ’50s and the repression.”
The role of Hal required the 29-year-old actor, who got hooked on theater growing up in Rockland County, to get in the shape of his life.
“The job presented a nice opportunity to push myself in a big way,” says Stan. “I’ve always been fit, but have never been to this point.”
He credits help from trainers Don Saladino and Ryan Johnson at Drive495 in SoHo for whipping him into shape.
The workout regimen included a mix of high-intensity cardio, weight training, plenty of shuteye and an eating plan that centers mostly on lean protein. Picnic fare, like potato salad swimming in mayo, wasn’t on the menu.
“I eat eight times a day,” says Stan. “Between the time the play ends and I take a bow, I down a protein drink.”
Saladino, who specializes in getting actors ready for a role, applauds Stan’s “unbelievable” dedication.“When Sebastian took his shirt off,” he says, “he wanted people’s mouths to drop open.”
Or their eyes to pop out. And that includes the elderly woman played by Ellen Burstyn. She and other characters stare at the half-naked Hal like a starving lioness eyeing a hobbled antelope.
Whispers of approval have been heard in the audience too.
The actor takes it in stride. “It’s fun,” he says. “I’m lucky that this is part of my work.”
Stan’s role as Hal wraps on Feb. 24, when the show ends its run at the American Airlines Theatre. He starts filming the sequel to “Captain America” in April. And he says his workouts will go on. “I told my trainers that they’re stuck with me for life.”