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Se­bas­tian Stan must be the most down-to-earth su­per­hero of all time!

One can’t imag­ine a su­per­hero from the Marvel uni­verse played by such a down-to-earth and unas­sum­ing man as Se­bas­tian Stan, aka Cap­tain Bucky Barnes. Maybe that’s how Marvel and Dis­ney get us to the cinema: they hire nu­anced, thought­ful ac­tors, not just ac­tion stars. Se­bas­tian’s also had a star turn in I, Tonya and ap­pears op­po­site Ni­cole Kid­man in the up­com­ing De­stroyer. He’ll also star in Beat

the Reaper, based on the Josh Bazell crime novel and pro­duced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

TV SOAP catches up with him in the pent­house of the luxe Shangri-La in Santa Mon­ica.

You’re orig­i­nally from Ro­ma­nia, right?

Yes. I was born there and I left when I was eight. Then I lived in Aus­tria for four years and I came to the US in 1995.

What was it like to ar­rive in New York aged 12?

It was very weird. A lot of my child­hood was kind of chaotic, mov­ing around. But this is what life is – the life of an ac­tor. You’re al­ways mov­ing, four months there, 10 months there. I’m kinda used to change, I crave it. I like re­lo­cat­ing and go­ing to a place I’ve never been and restart, get to know it. All that stuff is fun for me when do­ing my job.

Your first big break was Gos­sip Girl?

I did some things be­fore that but Gos­sip Girl was such a pop­u­lar show! It was an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity for me. I was liv­ing in New York and it was shoot­ing there. I never thought my char­ac­ter would re­cur. Also one of my best friends was in it, Chace Craw­ford, so it was nice to re­con­nect with him. We were hang­ing out any­way, so it was like, “Let’s just go to work at the same time!” I guess that was the first time that, here and there, any­one recog­nised me.

You’ve been play­ing Cap­tain Bucky Barnes for close to a decade now. How has it changed your life?

Oh my God! It’s so bizarre. It’s cer­tainly brought me a lot of ex­po­sure. So many peo­ple com­ing up to you feel­ing they have a spe­cial bond to the char­ac­ter. It led to a lot of work op­por­tu­ni­ties as well, be­cause of the ex­po­sure these movies have. It re­ally cat­a­pulted me into the pub­lic eye, in a dif­fer­ent way than I was used to but in a nice way. I’ve been re­ally grate­ful and lucky to come back and re­visit that char­ac­ter over time. It’s even kinda strange to imag­ine what life would be with­out that char­ac­ter and with­out the peo­ple I’m play­ing with. It’s a gi­ant fam­ily, Marvel, in a way. Ev­ery movie’s a hit. I think ev­ery movie is cre­ated like its their first and last. That’s why they’re good. It’s be­come a big part of my life.

Do you think any of the as­pects of the Marvel Uni­verse re­late to real events? Or is it fan­tasy?

Look, I think it varies movie by movie but there’s some­thing to be said that these movies some­times pen­e­trate into the real pulse of what’s go­ing on. You can see it with Black Pan­therPan­ther. Pan­ther. It was not only a story that needed to be told but it was some­thing peo­ple wanted to see, needed to see, and there was a lot of themes that are preva­lent to what’s go­ing on to­day. So I think Marvel’s very smart with that kind of stuff, al­ways find­ing a fine line be­tween keep­ing you en­ter­tained and keep­ing you grounded so that you will be think­ing of cer­tain things. It’s an in­ter­est­ing time to have these movies now be­cause they serve a lot of pur­poses. It’s al­most like we re­ally need he­roes. We need lead­ers. There’s some­thing sub­con­scious there about the idea of feel­ing pro­tected and safe. Maybe these movies tap into some­thing sub­con­scious, into peo­ple’s de­sires be­cause we live in a scary world. I al­ways think about one or two decades from now — when peo­ple will look back, how will they be look­ing at these movies and the pop cul­ture of the time.

Are you sur­prised a movie like Cap­tain Amer­ica, , which has very pa­tri­otic, “proud to be Amer­i­can” themes do­ing so well over­seas?

I think Cap­tain Amer­ica (far left) has been sort of up­dated. He’s more re­lat­able than peo­ple ini­tially thought. A man lost in time. He’s ac­tu­ally a very sad char­ac­ter. He’s try­ing to find his way. The ideals he grew up with and made him do the things he wanted to do are no longer ap­plied the same way in the mod­ern world. It goes to show that there’s some­thing about these movies that tran­scends stereo­types and

per­spec­tives. Es­pe­cially in Asia, in China, these movies are huge.

How has your re­la­tion­ship with all the other ac­tors in the Marvel uni­verse evolved?

Chris Evans and An­thony Mackie are prob­a­bly the clos­est to me. Ev­ery­body gets along. I got to know dif­fer­ent peo­ple this time around. I spent much more time with Mark Ruf­falo and Chris Hemsworth. And Scar­lett [Jo­hans­son]. You al­most grow with those peo­ple. Some get mar­ried, some get di­vorced, some have kids, some move houses. It feels like we come to­gether and a lot of things have hap­pened since we’ve been in each other’s lives. It does feel like fam­ily.

How do you think you’ll feel af­ter the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse fi­nally comes to an end? Is it even go­ing to end?

You don’t know. Every­thing ends and be­gins one way, but you don’t know. These movies are still bring­ing peo­ple to the cinema. Why go to the movie theatre? When you have a nice plasma TV at home, you can watch it there. But I feel these movies are still serv­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence vis­ually. You can watch on iMax, with ad­vanced sound tech­nol­ogy and a big part of this is that tech­nol­ogy right now is so great to help those sto­ries to be told. Ten to 20 years from now… you may be able to pick your favourite char­ac­ter and make him do what­ever you want. Net­flix might own a coun­try!

It seems your re­la­tion­ship with your celebrity is some­what am­biva­lent. Would you even want to be more fa­mous?

I’m def­i­nitely not seek­ing it. I like walk­ing the street. I don’t know what it would be like to be some­one who can­not walk the streets. I have no idea what it would be like. I’d love to con­tinue do­ing what I’m do­ing. Some­times one is a bi-prod­uct of the other. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, some­times. The only good thing about be­ing fa­mous… I see it more of a re­spon­si­bil­ity than any­thing else

What else have you got com­ing up?

There’s one that I just fin­ished that I was re­ally happy about called De­stroyer. That was a great ex­pe­ri­ence that I was re­ally happy with. Then there’s We Have Al­ways Lived in the

Cas­tle, which I filmed two years ago. Re­ally nice ex­pe­ri­ence, but a tricky film, a tricky story. In

De­stroyer, you can ex­pect Ni­cole Kid­man as you’ve never seen her be­fore. I’ve never seen her play a part like this. She was un­recog­nis­able in some scenes! It’s a re­ally well-writ­ten script that was a bit twisted. It was in LA and LA is a big part of it. The movie is about con­trol and how we strug­gle with that. We all want con­trol. Some­times it’s also about who we present our­selves to be, and who we re­ally are. It’s a very in­ter­est­ing movie and I’m also ex­cited be­cause of the direc­tor, Karyn Kusama. She’s re­ally tal­ented.

Is it easy to fit in the clothes af­ter all the Marvel su­per­hero train­ing you do?

No… I’m not sure if I train as hard as I used to! Maybe it’s be­come part of my reg­u­lar life and I don’t no­tice it any­more. Some­times you have to lose weight, some­times you have to gain weight. You just go with the job – the job just takes over.

You have mil­lions of fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram. How did you de­velop your fan­base?

It’s al­ways a learn­ing les­son for me, on so­cial me­dia. A lot of it hap­pened with Marvel, ob­vi­ously. I got on In­sta­gram when the Win­ter Soldier movie came out, it was in 2014. It was strange. But now it’s be­come a re­ally in­ter­est­ing way to be able to com­mu­ni­cate with the fans. Some­times a lot of peo­ple reach out and ask me ques­tions or ad­vice. And that’s al­ways very ful­fill­ing.

What made you change your mind about be­ing on so­cial me­dia?

I wasn’t on it be­cause I didn’t think I was go­ing to be good at it. I’m still try­ing to fig­ure it out, in a way. I’ve fig­ured out how to en­joy it, though. I just re­alised it was a ne­ces­sity, in a way. It was part of the way the world was go­ing. When some­one re­ally ex­plained it to me that it was a way to keep in touch with your fans, and them to keep in touch with me, that re­ally opened it up for me. Be­fore I thought, What

am I gonna say? At least now we have a con­nec­tion.

How much do the fans mean to you?

Well none of this would hap­pen with­out the fans. They’re the ones that go to the movies, they’re the ones that spend the money, they’re the ones that con­nect to those char­ac­ters and re­late to them. A lot of them put their hearts out and be­come vo­cal. I’ve had a lot of fans come up to me and tell me how much they re­lated to these char­ac­ters, to the Win­ter Soldier and how much he’s meant to them. You need that, you need that sup­port. That’s the feed­back you’re look­ing for. Act­ing, to me, is an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For me, per­son­ally, it’s grat­i­fy­ing. There’s a sense of re­lease, a peace I get. But in the end, it’s a way to com­mu­ni­cate some­thing with some­body.

Gos­sip Girl Suit­ing up (far left) for The Avengers Se­bas­tian with Mar­got Rob­bie in I, Tonya

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