Sirius XM – Sebastian Stan discusses ‘I, Tonya’, ‘Avengers’ , Auditioning for Bucky & Captain America, and Plays on Sirius XM’s Jim And Sam Show. Click below to listen. This interview is from September 10, 2018 I was able to pull it and didn’t know if it’s been heard around fandom or not so please enjoy!
Category: I Tonya
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?”
I’ve added 977 high quality screen captures of Sebastian as Jeff Gillooly in the biographical drama about Tonya Harding titled I, Tonya which came out in theaters last year.
Sebastian was so good in this film. Him and Margot really worked well off one another.
Hey guys! I’ve updated the gallery with additional production stills, promotional artwork, and behind the scenes photos of Sebastian from the following films: ‘I, Tonya’, ‘I’m Not Here’, ‘The Last Full Measure’, ‘We Have Always Lived in The Castle’ & ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – which you can see check out below:
CONGRATULATIONS ON THE FILM! CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU BECAME INVOLVED WITH IT? WHAT DREW YOU TO YOUR CHARACTER IN PARTICULAR?
I had a Skype call with Craig (Gillespie) around the same time I saw Price of Gold, the “30 for 30” documentary on Tonya Harding. After reading the script, I was blown away by the possibilities of this film: its honesty and humor, and how tragic these real life characters were – it felt like an important story to tell. From the perspective of an actor, Jeff (Gillooly) was such a complex character, and I was curious to learn the truth behind the man, and what really happened. I’m still not sure I have figured it out exactly, but it was worth the challenge.
YOU MET JEFF AND TONYA IN REAL LIFE – WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
It was really important for me to meet them, and Jeff in particular because it was difficult to find out anything about him besides the scandal surrounding the “incident”. It was also important to me from a technical perspective to be informed about how he moved and how he spoke. I got the sense through our meeting that he had had a difficult upbringing, and that as chaotic as his relationship became with Tonya, there was love between them at some point. That was my way in – my way of finding some humanity in him. I tried to approach the character with the idea that people can start out with good intentions, but don’t, or can’t always follow through.
It was difficult from the beginning because I couldn’t help but judge him, but I set to the task of trying to find some humanity behind what was on the page. I wanted to go back to the beginning and explore how Jeff and Tonya began, and to understand who he was and what led to what. Meeting him in person helped, because it allowed me to connect young Jeff with present-day Jeff, and I was able to start piecing a life together for him. Margot and I worked carefully with Craig to try and find the love underneath all of that pain and toxicity. We wanted to understand, and to show why Tonya kept going back.
I loved working with Margot. She is extremely generous as an actress and charismatic as a producer. She loves the filmmaking process and I was in perpetual awe at how determined she was to tell this story the right way. She was my anchor in this and I couldn’t have done it without her.
I am supportive of the movement. It is incredibly brave and heroic of all the women who have spoken out, and I want to hold space for that, and to honor that. I’m saddened as a man and a human being by everything that I have read and learned, but I am hopeful that through it, we can expand our awareness and learn how to communicate better with one another to embrace and propel a change that is long overdue. Hopefully, we can inspire future generations of men and women through the self-reflection we are all now experiencing. As an actor, I feel it is my duty to hold a mirror up to nature as best as I can, and to support stories that have been, and still need to be told.
WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY YOUR STATEMENT: “NOW IS THE TIME MORE THAN EVER FOR US TO REVIEW WHAT MASCULINITY IS ABOUT. VIOLENCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNFORTUNATELY EMBEDDED IN MASCULINITY, THIS ALPHA THING. IT’S MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
I think for a long time, the idea of an “alpha male” was romanticized or defined in a certain way – often including violence – and it’s time for that to be re-examined. What is a man in 2018? What’s exciting about this time is that we all have an opportunity to listen, and to see where changes need to be made in the examples we want to put forward for younger people. I think it’s all about having the conversation. To me personally, masculinity is about offering protection, offering safety, holding space, communication, being vulnerable, never making the other feel wrong for how they feel, and now more importantly than ever, it is about listening and learning how to be of service.Source: sbjctjournal.com
The story of figure skater Tonya Harding is so outrageous that the actress who portrays her, Margot Robbie, can be forgiven for not realizing it was a true tale when she first read the script. Harding, her then-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard Shawn Eckhart were implicated in an attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics, and the media coverage was relentless. In telling her story, screenwriter Steven Rogers spent time with both Harding and Gillooly and utilizes their different versions of the events to tell a funny, insightful and very human story. Best known for his work in such blockbusters as “The Martian” and as Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes in the “Captain America” films, Sebastian Stan completely transformed himself to play Gillooly, a man who sported a mustache he “can’t apologize enough for.”
Stan: “I remember hearing the story of Tonya and Nancy when it happened, but I think I was 10 and not really aware of what happened. I was in Europe back then and I can still remember seeing Tonya Harding’s face on the news. That gives you an idea how much they were recycling that footage and how prevalent it was everywhere.
“My agent sent me the script to ‘I, Tonya’ last year. From an actor’s perspective, the script was like finding gold. Not a lot of things like this come my way. It had this documentary style and so many funny elements, but also these very scary, violent sequences. I’ve never played anyone that was a real person before, so that excited me. I immediately went online and looked him up and found an episode of ‘Inside Edition’ with him and it was such an interesting character study. He was fascinating. I was bouncing ideas around with Craig and getting excited and then I had a moment where I realized this is a true story and these are real people and their lives were ruined by this. I’ve learned through the years to keep a rein on judging characters. It’s very easy to do that.
“The day I got the part, Craig said, ‘If you want to meet Jeff, you can. But you don’t have to.’ But I wanted to get some perspective. Tonya’s upbringing was out in the open, it was known she had a violent past and she was somewhat replaying her past. But with Jeff, I couldn’t really find anything on his upbringing. In addition, I was going to have to play him when he was 50 years old. I didn’t even have a picture of what he looks like.
“Two weeks before shooting, I met with him. It was bizarre sitting across from the person you’ve been looking at and listening to. I had the tapes from his meeting with Steven and had been listening to him over and over again. It was surreal at first. We met at a restaurant and had dinner. He seemed apprehensive, he hadn’t read the script and I think he was hesitant about revisiting it. At the same time, he was open and direct in talking about the experience and himself. I asked a lot of questions: ‘How did you meet? How did you fall in love? Why the mustache?’ He really didn’t have an answer for that one, I don’t think he gave it a lot of thought.
“Working with Margot was a dream come true. We laughed, we cried, we were exhausted at some points. There’s a scene with a gun that loomed large in my mind; I was always sort of dreading it because I knew it would be difficult emotionally. We shot it over and over again. we have so many versions of it. There are chaotic versions and slow versions and we did some improvising. We went from over–the-top to subtle, just trying to find it. Margot was very inspiring to be around during difficult times in the sense she had a positive attitude about the whole thing. We shot it in 30 days and they were long days with a lot on her plate and she kept showing up and having the best attitude. It inspired and motivated you.”
In January of this year, while filming I, Tonya, Sebastian Stan dropped into a bar to meet up with a bunch of his Marvel co-stars in Atlanta. These are people he’s known since at least 2010, when he was cast as Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger, a film that propelled one of the biggest movie franchises in modern history and Stan’s own career. Since that first Captain America film, he’s repeated the role in its two sequels; he’s also slated to appear in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which began filming earlier this year. He’s pretty good friends with some of the most recognizable superhero movie stars on the planet. They’re his people.
But when he walked into the middle of the bar, no one knew who the hell he was.
“I went and stood in the center of where everyone was hanging out and I realized that no one recognized me,” Stan says. “I had this haircut that was really high, a mustache and no sideburns, and I was very pale. I stood there for a minute before I went up to someone and was like, ‘Hey, it’s me.’”
You can’t really blame them, either. In I, Tonya, Stan looks almost nothing like the rugged and brooding Bucky Barnes. He transforms into the slimy Jeff Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s estranged husband and a figure skating villain who served time in prison for his involvement in the infamous attack on Nancy Kerrigan ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Along with the short hair and mustache, Stan assumes Gillooly’s meek-until-explosive temperament and his soft, delicate voice. It’s a chilling likeness to the man who helped destroy the career of one of the greatest figure skaters of all time—but allowed her to take most of the public’s blame.
In fact, if I hadn’t known it was Stan playing Gillooly, I might not have even recognized the world-famous Marvel actor—a confession he’s glad to hear.
“You’re always hoping to disappear in something,” Stan says, accepting the compliment. In order to dive deep into the character, he spent a month and a half listening to interviews with Jeff Gillooly. He also watched any footage he could find, and he eventually traveled to Portland, Oregon, where he spent three hours chatting with Gillooly—who changed his name to Jeff Stone—at a nice Mexican restaurant in town.
Stan admits he was nervous to meet the almost-forgotten Gillooly; one might imagine Jeff Stone might have had the same trepidation. “At that point, the only thing I really cared about was physicality, mannerisms, anything that I could see that I picked up from him,” Stan says. “The first thing he asked me was, ‘Why would anyone want to do this? Why would anyone want to see this movie? Why did you decide that you want to be in this movie?’ My impression was that it must be very strange for him to want to revisit that story. I don’t think it’s anything that he wants to talk about.”
Yet the Tonya Harding saga, all these years later, is still something a lot of people really do want to talk about. I, Tonya, which takes a surprisingly comic approach to the figure skater’s life story, is framed by interviews with its leading players. Presented as talking heads in a faux-documentary, Margot Robbie’s Harding, Stan’s Gillooly, and Allison Janney’s LaVona Fay Golden (Harding’s mother) take turns narrating the larger story of Harding’s rise and fall—and then another rise and fall—in competitive figure skating, culminating in Harding’s ultimately disappointing performance in Lillehammer and her ban from the United States Figure Skating Association.
This Rashomon-style take on a salacious tabloid story attempts to show that, beyond the media frenzy that abused Harding’s image and laid the groundwork for what became our exhausting and overwhelming 24-hour news cycle, the story of the events are still somewhat complicated. “There’s no such thing as truth. I mean, It’s bullshit,” Robbie’s Harding says in the film. The unreliable narrators only reiterate that theme, with conflicting accounts of the attack on Kerrigan, the abuse Harding suffered from her mother and her husband, and the subjectivity with which Harding’s many judges viewed her athleticism and class standing. Continue reading
CinemaBlend.com — Director Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is very upfront about the weird and contradictory nature of the true story behind its narrative — but it also features no shortage of “stranger than fiction” moments. There is not only a lot that is verifiable truth in the film, but a lot of that same material is also batshit insane. One perfect example is a scene where Jeff Gillooly drives for hours just to hurl an insult at Tonya — which was a sequence that actor Sebastian Stan couldn’t believe actually happened when he first read the script. He recently told me,
I had a lot of moments where I was really blown away by some of the scenes, because I just thought, ‘It’s just kind of ridiculous.’ I didn’t understand how anybody could be capable of doing those things — particularly the scene where Jeff and Tonya are on the phone, and they’re fighting, and she’s eight hours away in a different place. And he winds up driving eight hours just to say, ‘Fuck you!’ to her.
In the comedy/drama, Jeff (Sebastian Stan) and Tonya (Margot Robbie) have a volatile relationship that often leads to messy fights, and at one point they decide to break up. Jeff, staying with his friend Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser), tries to call her and patch things up, but every time he does he gets a quick, “Fuck you,” and she hangs up. Despite the fact that she is in a training facility eight hours away, he gets in the car with Sean, drives, and then gets satisfaction when he screams at her from a balcony, ‘No, fuck you!” It’s a very strange sequence, but apparently entirely real.
Sebastian Stan sees the humor of the scene as part of the genius of the I, Tonyascript — a great example of the very strange sense of humor. There is a great deal in the story that really isn’t funny (there is a lot of horrible physical and emotional abuse featured), but at the same time you really can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of some of it. Said Stan,
But that was the irony of this script that was really interesting, just balancing the humor and then also tragedy, and also that there was so much sadness in these characters that were to some extent also funny.
You can watch the I, Tonya star talk about Jeff Gillooly’s crazy drive by clicking play on the Sebastian Stan video below!
Collide.com — Directed by Craig Gillespie and based on unbelievable true events, the darkly comedic I, Tonya tells the story of American figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie, in a truly stand-out performance and one of the best of 2017), who went from being the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition to being a part of one of the most sensational and infamous scandals in sports history. Harding’s career as a skater was as challenging as her home life, and even though she had some major highs that made you want to root for her, she seemingly just couldn’t get out of her own way.
At the film’s Los Angeles press day, Collider got the opportunity to sit down with actor Sebastian Stan (who gives a terrific performance as Harding’s mustachioed and impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly) to chat 1-on-1 about why he wanted to play this character, what he was most excited and most nervous about, the impression he got from meeting Jeff Gillooly, having Margot Robbie as a scene partner, and what it means to be a part of the awards conversation with this film. He also talked about how things are going on Avengers 4, the insanity of the 10-year anniversary party that took eight months to plan, and why he feels so blessed right now.
Collider: When you read a script this good and a character that you know will be great to play, it must be so hard to not that still have to audition and not know whether you’ll get the role.
SEBASTIAN STAN: That’s a good question. I haven’t heard that one yet. Yeah, it is hard. You do get attached to it, absolutely. You recognize that it’s a good script, and if it’s a good script, you know you’re not the only one going after it. I’ve been in so many crazy experiences in my life. I was always moving, when I was a kid. When I look back, it’s hard for me not to feel that certain things just happen for a reason. I don’t know. I have no other explanation. After I had a Skype with Craig [Gillespie], I didn’t think I was gonna get this part because they were talking to a way bigger name, and it was gonna go that way. I only heard, three weeks after my Skype with him, that they were still interested in auditioning me. That’s when it started.
Once you signed on for this role, what were you most excited about getting to do with this character and what were you most nervous about?
STAN: There was a lot of nerves. Excited and nervous go hand in hand. Because it was a real person and a real incident, it seemed like there was a huge mountain of information to tackle. I had to really be a detective and go out there and find everything out, so that’s what I did for a month and a half. I scavaged the internet and I watched every single performance I could find of her skating, just to see if I could capture a glimpse of Jeff on the side ‘cause there was not a lot on him. I got as much as I could, and then I met with him, and that was helpful.
Meeting Jeff Gillooly must have been weird.
STAN: It was very weird, only ‘cause I felt like I was living with him on my TV, and then suddenly he had materialized in front of me, except 25 years later. But it was important because I had to play him from 20 to 50, so I needed to see where he is, whether he regrets things, how he feels now, looking back, what he looks like now and whether he took care of himself. There were all of these questions.
Did he express whether he feels like he’s a very different person now and that all of that is long behind him?
STAN: I don’t know that he said that, but I know he felt very regretful about how things ended and about how things went down. He’s not a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. He keeps things very close to himself. He’s very hard to read, in certain ways. I think it’s very sensitive for him to revisit that time.
STAN: If you’re changing your name, yeah.
The relationship between Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly is very intense and volatile, at times. What was it like to have Margot Robbie to go through this with?
STAN: I couldn’t have asked for a better scene partner. I really enjoyed working with her. I thought she brought out the best in me, and I like to think that we brought out the best in each other. There’s a great sense of trust there. I knew Margot was feeling good about just taking it to where it needed to go. If we needed to improvise somewhere, we could improvise. If we needed to turn up the volume on the violence, we could do that. If we needed to find the humor there, we could do that. It was a very open dialogue and a continuous communication between us, which was important. Continue reading