The role of James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes is critical in the history of Captain America, he’s Cap’s best friend, and later in the run took over the role of Captain himself. For Sebastian Stan, it’s his first big breakthrough role after having smaller roles in films like Black Swan. If this works, prepare to see more of Stan. Check out our interview…
How was Bucky compared to some of your past roles?
For the most part it was different, because sometimes I feel like it’s easy to pigeon-holed in one thing, but this is a different opportunity. What I’ve learned is that there’s a lot that could happen with the character. All that was very exciting in a different way.
I read that put yourself on tape for the role of Captain America, so when they came back to you and said “we’re thinking about you for Bucky” what was your reaction?
“Let’s work together. I’m so glad to be here.”
It sounds like the beefed up the character.
Well, I hadn’t looked up one thing about the character at that point. I was still into the whole Steve Rogers thing. So when I heard I didn’t get it, I thought it my job with that was done. I didn’t know what they were going to do, I hadn’t read the script. They just talked to me about it, and my instincts were really fresh. And then I went back and looked it up, and I was interested in what they were doing. As much as he was endearing character in the start of the comic books, it’s hard to have that now. I think people’s perspectives on war have changed. I feel like it’s more relate-able to have people who are conflicted and live a better life than “I’ll go anywhere!”
Chris Evans talked about having to sign for a six picture deal, obviously Bucky has gone on to be Captain America. Are there talks of your character returning?
Bucky could return when he’s fifty-five. The option’s possible. That was part of the conversation when I signed up for this, that’s another reason why I was seeing the character a certain way, and thought about laying the groundwork for what’s to come. There’s so much that would need to happen for there to be Captain America dying and replaced, obviously there’s the Avengers, and so much, so it’s too early to say. But it’s possible.
What was it like shooting the action sequences?
Super fun. The ones where we had something to work off of were more fun than the CGI stuff – the CGI stuff was tough because you had to always keep it in your mind, and keep yourself at that energy level, but when you are actually running through things that are blowing up around, you don’t think about anything, you don’t think about being cool, you just think about “my eye!”
How much of it was practical?
Fifty Fifty. There were a lot of things you could do. A lot of the sequences you see in the montage were practical. The CGI stuff was mainly the factory, the bigger things like that.
They didn’t actually have you teetering on an eye-beam?
They did, except there wasn’t a sea of fire that was suspended up in the air. There were some funny things were Chris was swinging from a wire and he fell – he dropped out of frame, and they didn’t know where he went. In the train sequence, I went through a wall, there were some funny sequences.
How did they shoot the Train sequences?
The train was never moving – you were doing all of the selling, as highly trained professionals (laughs). There was a scene where we were blasting through the doors, and we couldn’t get through it. “Oh here’s America’s hope, he can’t even break through a door.”
You were talking about how you originally went out for Steve Rogers, going on set did you ever give Chris hell?
No, I was very happy to be there. “You take your shirt off, be on camera with that.”
How was like working with him in general?
I loved it, we really hit it off since the beginning. It was nice that we had some time before to get to know each other. I had known him briefly, it’s a small world in Los Angeles, but other than that he’s a generous actor. No matter how many times we did a take, if I wanted to try something he was always my right hand man, talking about scenes with Joe, just being very supportive of virtually anything I brought up. The biggest challenge with him was getting on these laughing fits. We’d be getting ready to shoot and all I’d be trying to do was not laugh.
Even though you’re not Captain America, it’s still a physical role, what did you do to get ready?
I have a big bullshit radar, and I know when you’re being a silly buffoon up there, so to get over that I was doing physical training on my own, to increase my stamina. There was a lot of running, so there was some circuit training, and being much more flexible. Obviously there’s the weapons training, and in between you never let go of your weapon. They told us, never let go, just play with recock it, all that stuff, so it feels more natural.
Did you like wearing the 1940’s clothing?
Absolutely, it just makes you feel so much more cooler. I wonder if that’s how it was. You wear that uniform and you feel so proud to be a soldier, you think “do I really want to go back to the trenches?” I wonder how it was. You can’t not stand up straight, it doesn’t allow to slouch.
How would you describe Joe Johnston’s directorial style?
Very loose for the most part. He would allow us to have enough freedom to try things and see how it goes, and I had to adjust to that a little bit because I was coming from working on Apparition, and working with Darren Aronofsky. Apparition was three actors, I would told about every little thing, so I was used to that style. I had to readjust to Joe, because I had to learn that if he didn’t like what you were doing he would tell you, but if he liked it he wouldn’t do anything. And you should feel free to try different things and fail. That was the vibe I was getting from the screen test, I was never nervous or unsure. He never made me feel that way.
Does the budget keep you from experimenting?
That was the unusual experience of working on something this size, we did have a lot of freedom, and the writers let us improvise. We never had a studio beating on us. Everyone was respectful and trusting of us and Joe, and letting him be in his element. Joe was very clear; we weren’t going to force anything. I remember when Chris wasn’t feeling well, and he wanted everyone to give their best, he didn’t want to go if everyone wasn’t 100%. And on a big budget movie you don’t always have that luxury. It was special.
Captain America hits screens July 22. Check it out.