News: Sundance: ‘A Different Man’ Premiere Reveals Surprising ‘Avengers’ Connection in Sebastian Stan’s “Provocative” New Film

THR – The Marvel star toplines Aaron Schimberg’s “psychological thriller” as an aspiring actor who undergoes a radical procedure to drastically transform his appearance.

The Sundance Film Festival on Sunday night hosted the world premiere of Aaron Schimberg’s A Different Man starring Sebastian Stan, Adam Pearson and The Worst Person in the World breakout Renate Reinsve in her first American film.

Stan toplines the A24 release as an aspiring actor, Edward, who undergoes a radical medical procedure to drastically transform his appearance. But a new face turns into a nightmare when it causes him to lose a dream role he was born to play when the playwright/object of his affections, Reinsve, replaces him with someone who looks nearly identical to his former self, Pearson, a man with a disfigured face.

As for Pearson, he lives with neurofibromatosis (type 1), a rare genetic condition that causes excess body tissue to grow predominantly on his face. The condition fuels the plot of A Different Man and the actor, Pearson, actually inspired the film after having worked with Schimberg on his most recent film, 2018’s Chained for Life. That indie explored similar themes as A Different Man as it centered on a beautiful actress who struggled to connect with a disfigured costar (Pearson) on the set of a European filmmaker’s English-language debut.

In Chained for Life, “he plays a shy, kind of quiet person more based on myself, and I felt that for that reason, his performance was a little underrated because people thought he was playing himself,” Schimberg explained during the post screening Q&A. “And if you know Adam, he’s quite gregarious so I wanted to show off his range and show something that was a little more inspired by him.”

Amusingly enough, Schimberg’s official Sundance bio states that “he made two commercial disastrous features, but the second one, Chained for Life, was well-received by critics.” It’s true and backed up by a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Hollywood Reporter’s called it “bizarre and beautiful,” the New York Times’ Ben Kenigsberg wrote that the “film is odd, darkly funny and — when it means to be — a little frightening.” (A Different Man is sure to inspire some creative ink. The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer called it “provocative.”)

In the official Sundance literature, A Different Man is described as both “a surreal, singular tale” and “a unique psychological thriller.” Schimberg directed from his own script and Christine Vachon, Vanessa McDonnell and Gabriel Mayers produced.

Backing up a bit, Schimberg explained how he encountered the actor in the first place by seeing his feature film debut as “the deformed man” in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. The 2013 critically acclaimed film, which made the rounds at film festivals including Telluride, Venice and Toronto, stars Stan’s MCU colleague Scarlett Johansson.

“Aaron first got in touch with me regarding Chained for Life. Under the Skin had come out stateside and had done quite well by all accounts,” Pearson detailed. “Then he went to see Under the Skin and saw me and he said, your words not mine, ‘acting circles around Scarlett Johansson.’”

The quip got laughs from the Eccles Theater audience, and from costars Stan and Reinsve. When it came time for the pair to field questions, Stan also looked back on his career to explain why he took on the role in A Different Man.

“I, Tonya, for me, was a very big moment in my realization of things, in terms of what I thought I wanted the process of this experience to be,” he said of Craig Gillespie’s 2017 film starring Margot Robbie and Oscar winner Allison Janney. “Ever since then, I’ve really tried my best to make it a point to seek out filmmakers that I feel like have visions and are not afraid to ask difficult questions and are really specific. They know what they want, they’re after something specific, whatever it may be. And that’s how I felt about Aaron when I read this.”

Though Stan achieved global fame thanks to a Marvel run in the Avengers as Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier, he has regularly investigated more challenging arthouse fare in such films as I’m Not Here, Destroyer and Endings, Beginnings. He also played a cannibal killer in Fresh and earned raves as Tommy Lee in Pam & Tommy. He next stars as a young Donald Trump in The Apprentice as well as Thunderbolts.

Stan said when his “great agent,” CAA’s Shauna Perlman, sent him Schimberg’s script, he was immediately blown away. “You can all see how great the writing is. It’s unbelievable,” praised the actor. “Obviously, it was something that doesn’t usually come my way.” Stan said he reached out to the filmmaker and “kind of courted him and fortunately he said yes.”

He went a step further and suggested who should play the female lead. “I told [Aaron], did you watch Worst Person in the World? And he said, yes. And I was like, OK, we got to get her.” Reinsve in turn received the script and had questions. “I was, like, what is this? But it was so much heart and it was so weird and it was so fun and I’m still shocked from seeing it again, those scenes,” said the actress who also has another film at Sundance this year with Handling the Undead. “It is my first American or international movie. I’m very proud that it’s this one.”

Stan, who wears extensive prosthetics created by Renaissance Prosthetics throughout the first chunk of the film, also revealed that he wore his disguise while walking around New York where they filmed. “It was really interesting and sort of scary to see how limited the interaction is,” he said. “It just really is limited between two extremes, which is either [people] won’t address it, or overcompensation. The only people that really were the most honest were kids.”

He continued by offering an anecdote of an encounter with a little girl and a protective mother. “Her mom was just being a parent and trying to do the right thing, but in doing the right thing, she was actually preventing the little girl from just simply having an experience. She was just being inquisitive, and she was brave and courageous and that’s kids, right? It’s like they just want to know. They don’t have judgment. It was a learning lesson for me, really.”


News/Video: THR ‘A Different Man’ Discussion

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Note: Screencaps are here


News/Video: Sebastian Stan Says ‘I’ve Missed’ Marvel and MCU’s ‘Batting Average Is So High’; Talks ‘A Different Man’ 22-Day Shoot and Hyperventilating in His ‘Mother!’ Audition


Sebastian Stan is back at Sundance this year for the world premiere of A24’s “A Different Man,” co-starring Adam Pearson and Renate Reinsve. The three actors joined director Aaron Schimberg at the Variety Studio presented by Audible to discuss the film, which centers on an aspiring actor with a facial disability who undergoes a radical medical procedure to transform his appearance that proves to be his downfall.

Stan told Variety’s Matt Donnelly that “A Different Man” was shot in only 22 days. To appear in scenes with a facial disability, Stan was in the makeup chair for “probably one-and-a-half to two hours.” Pearson, a British actor with neurofibromatosis who is best known for his role in “Under the Skin,” hopes “A Different Man” gives cinema new kind of representation for actors with facial disabilities.

“Normally there are three kinds of roles or tropes for us,” Pearson said. “We’re either the villain because I have a disfigurement and I want to kill Batman or James Bond, or the victim like ‘woe is me,’ or the hero, because I have a disability but do regular stuff I’m somehow braver than the next guy.”

“It’s lazy writing,” Pearson added. “Why are non-disabled people writing about disability without consultation? When that happens, the end result …you might get it right once, but 9 times out 10 it’s going to be very inauthentic and inaccurate.”

Stan said that he was “cautious” to take the role because he just “wanted to service the story the right way,” adding: “It’s an important story. It’s a subject that doesn’t really get a lot of light on it. We just really wanted to do it right.”

Elsewhere during the interview, Stan revealed that he had a panic attack during an audition for Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” He went out for a role in the film that ultimately went to Domhnall Gleeson. The actor said he “hyperventilated” during the audition and “I got very nervous and I didn’t get it.”

Next up for Stan is a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’ll once again be playing the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes in “Thunderbolts.”

“I’m excited. I’m going to go back basically in a month or so. I’ve missed it. It’s a great cast,” Stan said before alluding to Marvel’s recent box office struggles. “The batting average is so high that it’s difficult to always land everything right away. It’s always been a great experience. With this one in particular, I think there’s a lot of good things.”

A24 is expected to release “A Different Man” in theaters at some point in 2024.

Note: Screencaps are here


News/Video: ‘A Different Man’ Director Aaron Schimberg On Preserving Identity, Dignity “If General Consensus Is Staked Against Us” – Sundance Studio



Director: Aaron Schimberg

Screenwriter: Aaron Schimberg

Section: Premieres

LOGLINE: Aspiring actor Edward undergoes a radical medical procedure to drastically transform his appearance. But his new dream face quickly turns into a nightmare, as he loses out on the role he was born to play and becomes obsessed with reclaiming what was lost.

Panelists: Aaron Schimberg, Sebastian Stan, Adam Pearson, Renate Reinsve.

Key Quote: Adam Pearson: I want people to go see it and I want people to talk about it. I think we as humans tend to avoid discomfort at all costs like it’s a bad thing. But I think a little bit of discomfort when you can fight through it in the end makes us better people…It’s always easy to make a film and get an audience and tell them what to think. And if you do that, you can change what they think for maybe a day. But with something like this, it’s nuanced and a real springboard to conversation. It does it on a whole different level. Good cinema can change what you think. Great cinema can change how you think.

Note: Screencaps are here


News: What’s going to pop big at Sundance? We have thoughts (‘A Different Man’)

LA Times


A24 has another movie that should have people talking this year: “A Different Man,” starring Sebastian Stan as an actor with neurofibromatosis who undergoes an operation to radically transform his features. When he wakes up, he looks like … Sebastian Stan. This improves his dating life, but he can’t score any jobs, because his looks are now too generic. Meanwhile, the woman who loved him pre-surgery (played by Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve, so great in “The Worst Person in the World”), dumps him and writes a play based on their relationship. Think “Being John Malkovich” starring the guy known for playing Bucky Barnes, and you’ll understand why this will break social media platforms when it premieres.