Sebastian stopped by AOL Build Series in New York on January 21st to talk about his film Destroyer. You can check out high quality photos, screen captures and video of the interview below in case you missed it.
Sebastian stopped by AOL Build Series in New York on January 21st to talk about his film Destroyer. You can check out high quality photos, screen captures and video of the interview below in case you missed it.
ScreenRant.com — We spoke with Stan about his role in Destroyer and how he plays an influential role in Erin’s past, while also threading into the emotional chaos of her present. He revealed what sort of one-on-one research he conducted with real-life undercover detectives to prepare for the role, what it was like working alongside Nicole Kidman, and even how his character differs from – but also relates to – Bucky Barnes in the MCU.
What sort of research is necessary to get into the mind of someone like Chris? Were there any real-life undercover stories that stood out before filming? Or did you prefer to rely more on Karyn’s direction and the script?
Yeah, it seems like everyone in Destroyer is kind of at odds with their identity in some way.
That’s what I loved about the script. I loved that everybody is sort of teetering on the edge of being a good or a bad person, per se; or being thrown in situations where they have to make decisions that are not likable or- and that’s very human to me. That’s what I love about her [Kidman’s] character. We’re seeing a female character that… you know, meeting situations in life, and doing the best that she can, but is still the character that she is; the circumstances of one’s life, what shapes them to be what they are – and how much of that can you let go of or how much of that can you accept or not accept. The demons can grab any kind of person, no matter what they are or where they come from.
Now, if you don’t mind me touching on this a little bit, you obviously play another character who famously struggles with his identity. Bucky Barnes. Did you notice any overlap in how you would approach Bucky’s struggle with identity versus how you approached Chris’?
Kind of just came at it from the same-
[Laughs] No, man. Of course not. Listen, I love Bucky Barnes. I really do. It’s just a very separate entity in a way. For me it is. And I certainly treat it that way. The characters, to me, are very different in terms of kind of the emotional baggage that they carry, per se, or what their emotional intelligence is. Now, you can make some parallels about identity, and a search for questions of identity; wanting to lose oneself or embrace certain aspects of yourself. Maybe that’s something the characters have in common. But, essentially, I was always thought it was a different situation.
BusinessInsider.com — Business Insider talked to Stan about that, the steps he took to get in the role for “Destroyer,” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
Jason Guerrasio: Were you as shocked to see how Nicole looks in the present day “Destroyer” footage as we were when that still of the movie came out?
Sebastian Stan: Yeah. I didn’t have any scenes where she transformed. I didn’t experience that firsthand. I only saw that photo once on the internet. It’s really impressive. You are always inspired by those things. And now that we are doing press it’s fascinating to listen to Nicole talk about her process and finding her way into the character. The whole thing to me is a science project. Not one choice wasn’t well thought out. Those are my favorite kind of roles, when you can see someone extremely recognizable and you lose them in the role.
Guerrasio: Well, how was your process for this? You also had to get into a certain mindset.
Stan: On a much smaller scale than her, but it was a little similar. The great thing about the script is it didn’t spell out who these people were. It didn’t tell you much about where they came from or what their lives were outside of the job. So it allowed me to build a whole backstory on my own based on what the guy was doing in the story. Figuring out what kind of guy would lose himself in this scenario.
Guerrasio: Does that include going back and watching old cop movies?
Stan: On something like this you get a good excuse to go back and revisit projects that are inspiring. And I also met with an FBI agent in New York who is a family friend and was able to go through the script with him. That was really helpful because I really wanted to understand what it takes to become an undercover agent and what sort of training you would need. A lot of these guys sometimes have military training, other times they have training on the street. That was one of the decisions I was making with my guy. Ultimately he’s somebody who is more at home while on the job rather than his real life. That’s how it appeared to me. So I kind of created this backstory that he had a bad history with the law when he was younger and then wanting more structure in his life decided to join this line of work using his experience from his past. [“Destroyer” director] Karyn [Kusama] suggested I shave my head and we talked about the tattoos and finding a look for the guy. That was exciting, too.
Guerrasio: How you all play off each other in this movie is one of the thrills. Do things get competitive on set between actors on a movie as intense as this? Will seeing an actor really bringing it across from you make you pick up your game?
Stan: It happens on set. It happens in a way that can be healthy for the movie, and it can also happen in a way that’s not healthy for the movie. We did not have that on this. And I think it’s because you have good actors. This cast, the work speaks for itself. But when it’s an intense scene some of us may keep our distance, but that’s a level of respect. You’re always coming from a level of honoring the other person and their process.
Guerrasio: This is the kind of story that’s not told in movie form anymore. These crime thrillers are more and more finding their way to TV. So how bad did you want this role because on the movie side it’s becoming more rare to do.
Stan: I wanted it very badly. I had done “I, Tonya,” and that was a great experience and I loved every minute of it. I wanted to find a collaborative effort similar to that. But I really thought I wasn’t going to find it. Then I found it with this. I wanted to be a part of it because I respected Karyn and Nicole and I just knew this was going to be a very specific movie.
Guerrasio: You’ve done some great supporting roles, are you gunning for lead actor parts?
Stan: Always. There were a couple of things that almost came my way that would have been great. The opportunity is there. I’m much more interested right now in working with a great director and on a great script and that’s been a priority for me. But I’m looking all the time. Down the line I want to be remembered for being a part of specific works and visions of directors rather than a group of characters. I’m still figuring that out.
Guerrasio: Have to throw out some Bucky questions before I go. (Note: This interview was conducted before the “Avengers: Endgame” trailer was released.) Have you wrapped all your stuff on “Avengers 4”?
Stan: I haven’t worked on anything since two years ago, so no. My character died in the last film. [laughs]
Guerrasio: Ok? How about this one: Are the reports true that you and Anthony Mackie are going to team up for a Winter Soldier/Falcon limited series on Disney+?
Stan: Anthony Mackie and I are going to try to revive “Beverly Hills Cop.” We’re trying to get Eddie Murphy, but he’s not calling us back. It’s been difficult, but hey, you have to keep trying, right?
Guerrasio: I’m getting nowhere with you, am I?
ETOnline.com — “At some point, I’ve got to ask you about some of your guilty pleasures out there,” Sebastian Stan says off-hand to his Destroyer director, Karyn Kusama. “Because in my head, I feel like you’re watching, like, super f–king amazing horror projects…”
Though Kusama may be best known for her own horror films, including the “really disturbing in a great way” (as Stan put it) The Invitation and the campy Megan Fox cult classic Jennifer’s Body, her tastes are hardly confined to the genre; one of her early films was the Charlize Theron sci-fi spy action flick Æon Flux. “I don’t have guilty pleasures,” she shrugs. “I think Point Break is a masterpiece. I legitimately think it’s a masterpiece.” In fact, her latest film is most like the latter, a pulpy detective drama about LAPD officer Erin Bell (a bewigged Nicole Kidman), who goes undercover to investigate a gang of bank robbers with her partner, Chris (Stan).
(For his part, on the topic of guilty pleasures, Stan shared, “I was working out today and because of this thing with a Boston accent that I’ve been looking up, I ended up watching the Housewives of Boston and I was like, Oh, my God, this is so insane!“) (I pointed out there is no Real Housewives of Boston.)
With Destroyer opening in select theaters on Christmas Day, Kusama and Stan sat down with ET to discuss leaving their comfort zones, what it took to make Kidman look like a meth addict and how hot Stan looks covered in tattoos.
ET: Karyn, you’ve worked in so many different genres — you did sci-fi early on and then moved into horror and television. This feels like something new. What was it about this story that called out to you?
Karyn Kusama: A couple of things. Practically, I was excited to make a movie in L.A., which is my home and I have a family here and I collaborate with my husband, who was one of the writers of the script. I have a dog! [Laughs.] I felt like it was a nice way to be committing to working in my hometown — which a lot of that TV that you mentioned doesn’t allow me to do. I was [also] really drawn to this labyrinthine journey that this very compelling character makes, where we discover her capacity for love, her capacity to make huge mistakes that haunt her for the rest of her life and her capacity to take some responsibility for those mistakes. In today’s times, that’s an interesting thing to watch a person decide to do.
What put this guy [Stan] on your radar?
Sebastian Stan:Our agents.
KK: Our agents, but also, you have a lot of nice friends.
SS: Oh, good!
KK: No, but you do. You have a lot of nice friends that I think are nice people and good actors, so when your name came up, I’d be like, “Oh, that’s cool.” And then I watched I, Tonya, and I felt like, that’s so interesting to see a guy who in real life, frankly, has a leading man vibe and leading man looks — in a great way, not holding it against you. You’re a very handsome dude — but to see you play a character who was capable of so much smallness and shame and ugliness, I just thought, “My God, that takes bravery.” After our first Skype session, I was like, let’s just figure out how we’re going to work together.
Had you read the script by then?
SS: I had read the script and then we had a Skype session about it. I just love that it felt like you were never really figuring out entirely what was happening or who these people were. It didn’t explain anything, it just kind of–
KK: Put you in their lives.
SS: Yeah, and you’re there as a witness and it’s as if you’re walking by and you’re turning and you’re seeing that scene happen. That felt very real to me. I always feel like, as an actor, you’re always looking in the writing for rhythms, and those scenes were written a certain way. It’s a very direct, frank nature that they have with each other, at least in the scenes that I was involved with Nicole. And I was like, here’s an opportunity to play a completely different character by not doing anything. By almost just letting–
KK: By not indicating anything about the character. By just being, they told so much story.
SS: Exactly. And I just knew it was going to be a very special movie. The idea of protagonist and antagonist was always flipped around here, and I think that in life, good people do bad things and bad people sometimes end up doing a good thing for that moment, or whatever. This movie was so straightforward about that. And to have a female character that had no excuse for anything in a way that didn’t apologize but also, you understood where she was coming from, because all the flaws were so… Nobody shied away from any of that. And then you get Nicole to do it and then you’re like, “All right, well, now it’s going to be a whole other thing!” [Laughs.] Continue reading
IndieWire.com — Nearly a decade into his turn as Marvel’s Bucky Barnes — otherwise known as The Winter Soldier — actor Sebastian Stan is busier than ever, but not with the kind of safe commercial bets that other franchise players might be pursuing. A year after taking on the risky role of former criminal and national laughingstock Jeff Gillooly in Craig Gillespie’s Oscar-winning “I, Tonya,” Stan is still chasing unconventional supporting roles in smaller features.
In Karyn Kusama’s “Destroyer,” he acts opposite Nicole Kidman as an undercover police officer helping Kidman’s no-nonsense detective through a dangerous mission that destroys her life. It’s a tricky r ole for any actor to hold their own opposite a proven movie star in dark, moody thriller, but Stan said that “I, Tonya” opened him up to embrace that sort of challenge.
“It was definitely a transformative year for me, in terms of what I want,” Stan said in an interview, and he credited “I, Tonya” with shifting his priorities. “It kind of set the bar for me in what I wanted going forward.”
The rest of his current schedule speaks to the actor’s interest in peering beyond the commercial realm: He starred in Stacie Passon’s Shirley Jackson adaptation “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” which debuted at LAFF earlier this year, and he recently wrapped roles in Todd Robinson’s true-life war drama “The Last Full Measure” and Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ romantic drama “Monday.”
After years of working in franchise mode, “I, Tonya” opened the actor up to exploring these opportunities. “It led me to want to look for that again, to find more things that scare me, and that are challenging,” he said. “I came out of that movie feeling like, ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna find the situation again.’ I was really wanting to find that again, and lo and behold, I actually did.”
However, “Destroyer” nearly slipped beyond his grasp. Stan originally met with Kusama to discuss the role of cult leader Silas, played in the film by Toby Kebbell, though he had some initial reservations about taking on another dark role. “I was actually concerned, after ‘I, Tonya,’ because I was like, ‘God, this is gonna be another really dark, dark role, I don’t know if I can sort just get into that again,’” he said.
He wanted to work with Kusama and Kidman, but walked away from the meeting wondering if the role was a fit, and even made his own audition tape as the character to further feel it out.
“I put a scene on my iPhone, and I sent it to her,” he said. “I said, ‘Hey, look, I just got inspired, and I want you to check this out, and you let me know what you think, obviously, you know, whatever you feel is best.’” Weeks went by without an update and Stan figured he didn’t make the cut. In October 2017, Kusama finally called. “She said, ‘You know, I loved your tape, but actually I feel like you’d be better in this role, the other role,’” he said.
As a choosy performer who takes his time pursuing various roles, Stan admits he wasn’t immediately comfortable with Marvel superstardom.
“I don’t think it came naturally to me,” Stan said of his ease with his fans and fame. “Even if you look back a few years ago, I remember doing interviews and just being so scared and just trying to take it all in. I feel like I’ve learned a way to sort of embrace it.” He added with a laugh, “You can see it, if you go on YouTube.” (Admittedly, in some of Stan’s earliest video interviews for “Captain America: First Avenger,” he looks ready to jump out of his skin.)
These days, he appears more comfortable with the role. His Instagram account is filled with pictures and videos of him interacting with fans, and happily so. He’s a vocal supporter of the charity Our Big Day Out, which aims to provide shelter and a better way of life for children in Stan’s home country Romania. It’s raised thousands of dollars over the years, with big pushes often spearheaded by the actor’s fans in honor of the star.
He’s understandably tight-lipped about what to expect from future Marvel movies (he’s credited on the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” but isn’t entirely sure what stuff he filmed will be in the final cut). But he’s quick to talk about his latest projects, including an untitled romance directed by Drake Doremus, which allowed him to stretch his improv muscles. As for other genres he’d like to explore, he’s interested in doing a period piece like “Game of Thrones,” something that would let him play around with “a great accent.”
And he’s not saying no to more big films, though it’s the smaller ones that seem most top of mind.
“Look, I would never necessarily say no to a lead in a franchise,” he said. “I love all movies, so I’m game. … I think I’ve been so lucky to have this Marvel universe to go back to. I’ve learned a tremendous amount in 10 years. They’ve given me so many opportunities, and one of the opportunities that they’ve given me is a chance to go out there and find something that’s gonna stretch me in some way, and challenge me in a way that’s gonna be different. … I mean, how much better than that can it get?”
TheMarySue.com — While the movie focuses on Erin and her past and present, Chris plays an important role in how Erin exists in the modern day. He’s only in the movie for maybe ten minutes, but his role is so important to the Erin we meet later in her life, and his presence is felt throughout the film thanks to his performance:
“Thankfully, Sebastian brought so much intelligence and complexity and genuine tenderness to the role so you really felt, by that last scene, that he is so desperately in love with her and that he’s going to do something so foolish in service to those feelings.”
Erin and Chris are head over heels in love (and continually high on drugs as they get further into their undercover mission), but there are aspects of their characters that reach into the audience and make us care for them both:
“He (Sebastian Stan) brought a lot of layers to it that just told us that these guys were not ready for what happened, and Sebastian is just such a lovely guy that there is something about him and Nicole. It was so instant that I was like, ‘We’re going to be okay.’ I feel like the chemistry between them is very real and genuine and, I don’t know, just truly emotionally connected. And I know that, in some respects, the audience isn’t sure, initially—when we discover that they really are a couple—we’re not sure what’s really driving that, but by the end, to learn that they are crazy about each other, it makes it heartbreaking.”
Their love is told in a way that brings a contrast to the film, separating the two sides of Erin’s story, and it’s important to uphold the significance of her relationship with Chris:
“She opens herself up to him, and in doing so immediately ensnares him in a plan that’s so wrong-headed, and she lives with that for the rest of her life.”
Sebastian has been busy promoting his upcoming film Destroyer with Nicole Kidman this month. You will find high quality photos of Sebastian from various events below:
On November 8th, Sebastian stopped by Jimmy Kimmel LIVE for his first solo appearance on the late night talk show. During his visit he discussed his upcoming film with Nicole Kidman Destroyer which is set for a Christmas Day release.
You can find high quality screen captures, promotional stills and arrival candids from his appearance int he gallery now. Including the video interview below:
In theaters December 25th.
Destroyer follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.
ScreenDaily.com — Lionsgate UK has picked up Karyn Kusama’s crime thriller Destroyer, starring Nicole Kidman, following the film’s premiere at Telluride and screening in Toronto.
International rights are being sold by Thorsten Schumacher’s Rocket Science. Annapurna will release in the US.
Kidman stars in the film as a Los Angeles police officer who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert. When the leader of the gang re-emerges many years later, the officer must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history to finally reckon with her demons.
Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford, Toby Kebbell, and Scoot McNairy also star in the film that was fully financed by 30WEST. It was produced by Fred Berger of Automatik with Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who also wrote the screenplay.
Screen’s review said that Kidman ”brings such compelling conviction to her role as a tormented detective that she single handedly imbues the film with urgency and authenticity”.
Lionsgate has had a busy month, also taking UK rights to Max Minghella’s feature debut Teen Spirit, with Elle Fanning, Kristoffer Nyholm’s thriller Keepers, starring Gerard Butler, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Toronto drama Farming, starring Kate Beckinsale and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Peter Cattaneo’s upcoming Military Wives, with Sharon Horgan and Kristin Scott-Thomas.