In the Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast features in-depth conversations with today’s most noteworthy actors and creators. Join host and senior editor Vinnie Mancuso for this guide to living the creative life from those who are doing it every day.

Sebastian Stan still remembers the piece of acting school advice that followed him into every audition, meeting, and role: “Bring the day with you.”

“You’re on the subway, you’re running late,” the actor posits on his In the Envelope episode. “You’re trying to get to the audition, and then someone bumps into you and spills your coffee. You’re pissed off, but then you get to the audition, and you’re trying to make a good impression? You might as well just own the day and go in with it. At least then, you’re starting from an honest place.”

Stan has “brought his day” to every performance he’s ever touched, pouring at least some of his current circumstances into the character—no matter how unlike himself that person may be. He’s spent the last few years establishing himself as a ferocious character actor by exploring the darkest parts of his onscreen personae—whether it’s in the grimy world of undercover cops in “Destroyer” or the backwoods corruption of “The Devil All the Time.”

More recently, he paired a stint playing real-life rocker Tommy Lee on Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy” with his turn as a charming man who happens to sell human meat in the stomach-churning “Fresh.” His work on all these roles, Stan says, was done “as a means of raising questions,” both about himself and the way he perceives the world. “Sometimes, uncomfortable questions,” he adds with a laugh.

But how does he bring his day to his most high-profile gig? You may have heard of it: Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is home to some of the most successful box office hits of all time. The MCU has been a constant in Stan’s career since he first appeared in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.” His 11-year run has seen him reprise the role nine times and counting, most recently on Disney+’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

“It’s just a bigger version of what we started with,” he says. “[After] 10 years, you bring your life with you. When you play the character for that long, it’s inevitable. The character will grow as you’re growing. You can see that with a lot of the characters in the Marvel world—that they’ve shifted in certain ways as the actors have shifted as well.”

Has he thought about what it will mean for him both personally and artistically when—hypothetically, of course—Bucky is no longer there for him to go back to? “I have and I haven’t,” Stan says, pausing the way any MCU actor does when asked about future plans that haven’t already been thrice-confirmed.

“I think it will be weird, for sure. It is weird already,” he continues. “It’s weird every time, because every time, it could be an ending; and you treat it like an ending. It’s always going to be about: What else is there to explore with that character? That’s not to say I don’t have certain things that I’d like to explore or certain things that I’d like to see more of. I do feel like there’s a lot left there to still unpack.”

For now, Stan will continue to juggle his franchise work with an eclectic smaller-scale slate that allows him to let loose. That includes stepping into the tattooed skin of Mötley Crüe drummer Lee, an experience that challenged Stan to find the “character” in a flesh-and-blood human being. “If I went into every scene thinking of him as a real person that existed, I just would never have been able to do the job,” he says.

To play the volatile musician, Stan looked for the essence of the man. He sought to create not a full-on impression, but rather an adaptation of Lee’s traits—the quirks, the manic energy, the small tics. The result is an onscreen whirlwind, but it never stopped being a cerebral exercise for Stan.

“I don’t believe in creating chaos for the purposes of [acting],” he says. “There are a lot of people who do that—create chaos on set, or chaos [with] the other people that they’re working with, in order to give the scene this tension or whatever. To me, that just reads like a very irresponsible, narcissistic, kind of self-indulgent thing. It just reads like: ‘I’m afraid, and I just want to torture everyone else because of it.’ ”

It goes back to that original piece of advice. Whether you’re playing an Avenger, a drummer, or a charismatic cannibal, you always bring a bit of your day to set—and you learn to work with it.

“You’re always thinking about the character or scene as you’re shooting it, and [the character] can come at you in different ways,” Stan says. “But the ‘you’—whoever that may be—has to be there guiding it a little bit. Otherwise, you’re just kind of a tornado.”



Superheroes are people, too, and that’s what Sebastian Stan loves about “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”

The video above was produced by IndieWire’s Creative Producer Leonardo Adrian Garcia.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Sebastian Stan made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the actor embodied (Captain) America’s Best Friend Bucky Barnes, a Brooklyn boy who spent his life looking after his buddy Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). But in his next appearance, Bucky is a shadow of himself, having been captured by Nazis during World War II and turned into a weapon of mass destruction with the moniker “The Winter Soldier.”

And that was just the beginning.

The most recent chapter of the Bucky Barnes saga took place in a new frontier, as the MCU shifted to TV on a series titled “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” where he worked side by side with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a.k.a. Falcon.

For his part, when first drafted into the Marvel movie business, Stan had no idea he’d still be around 10 years later, still exploring Bucky’s history, and now, future. To him, it was just a path he just kept traveling down, but was very happy to be included and for the opportunity to continue exploring a character that only grew more complicated.

Indeed, the beauty for many Marvel fans when watching “Winter Soldier” was the chance to see Bucky get some time to delve into the trauma he’s been carrying for decades upon decades. (He is 106 years old, after all.) That included finally being freed from the code words that had been implanted in the character’s brain by HYDRA to control him so many years ago, as depicted in an intensely emotional scene at the beginning of Episode 4.
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Superheroes are people, too, and that’s what Sebastian Stan loves about “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”

It’s been nearly 10 years since Sebastian Stan made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the actor embodied (Captain) America’s Best Friend Bucky Barnes, a Brooklyn boy who spent his life looking after his buddy Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). But in his next appearance, Bucky is a shadow of himself, having been captured by Nazis during World War II and turned into a weapon of mass destruction with the moniker “The Winter Soldier.”

And that was just the beginning.

The most recent chapter of the Bucky Barnes saga took place in a new frontier, as the MCU shifted to TV on a series titled “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” where he worked side by side with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a.k.a. Falcon.

For his part, when first drafted into the Marvel movie business, Stan had no idea he’d still be around 10 years later, still exploring Bucky’s history, and now, future. To him, it was just a path he just kept traveling down, but was very happy to be included and for the opportunity to continue exploring a character that only grew more complicated.

Indeed, the beauty for many Marvel fans when watching “Winter Soldier” was the chance to see Bucky get some time to delve into the trauma he’s been carrying for decades upon decades. (He is 106 years old, after all.) That included finally being freed from the code words that had been implanted in the character’s brain by HYDRA to control him so many years ago, as depicted in an intensely emotional scene at the beginning of Episode 4.
Read More



The Marvel star, photographed for GQ by Normal People star Daisy Edgar-Jones, on the relevance of his new Disney+ show, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Even as our backsides became numb and our eyes mere bloodshot arrow slits, at the very end of Avengers: Endgame, Sebastian Stan (as Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier) stayed true to form, keeping stoic and, largely, shtum.

While Anthony Mackie, in the role of Sam Wilson/The Falcon, was handed Captain America’s famous vibranium frisbee by a very wrinkly but very happy Chris Evans – thus becoming, for now, the MCU’s next Cap’ – all the dewy-eyed audience got from our favourite, oft-scowling tough guy was a modest nod of approval. No air punch. Not so much as a celebratory grunt. Stan as The Winter Soldier is nothing if not the very strong, very silent type.

Today, reminiscing freely about that last scene he had to play in Marvel’s multibillion-dollar-shifting Infinity Saga – Thanos defeated, Hulk with a sore hand, Tony Stark (*sob*) deceased, multiverse opened and unhinged – Stan explains how the germ of an idea for their new spinoff, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, now streaming on Disney+, began to take shape. “This wasn’t something long planned, not at all,” he says, laughing, when I suggest super-producer Kevin Feige – Marvel’s boardroom-based end-of-level boss – may well have had Mackie and Stan’s on-screen partnership in the pipeline for years.

“Maybe Kevin did, but he didn’t tell me about it. But once Anthony and I realised these changes were taking place to the storyline in Endgame, in particular to the story of Captain America, I think both of us sort of looked at one another and thought, ‘Well, we’re still here! We’re not dead! So, what happens to us now?’”

Naturally, almost unflinchingly, Marvel’s “not-so-random successful movie generator” had a decent answer: “This show is a revival, in spirit at least, of some of those buddy comedies that were so popular in the 1980s.” Think Lethal Weapon – just with more capes and a bigger pyro budget.

“Anthony and I both get a kick out of working together; we always have a lot of fun. Also, this show is six hour-long episodes, which gives us a lot more to play with than a two-hour film. ‘Buddy’ walked out of that last film with an identity crisis, so there’s a lot to dive into.”

Stan pauses momentarily, chuckling to himself. He stares off camera to his left, something he does sporadically throughout our chat, like he needs a horizon in order to contemplate certain answers. We’re Zooming, natch, he in Vancouver shooting Fresh with Daisy Edgar-Jones – who was kind enough to take these photographs of Stan, exclusively for British GQ – and me in darkest North London nursing a Heineken 0.0.

Stan lifts a flat cap, scrapes back a full hand of jet-black hair. Although his accent rolls in deep and direct from New York City, the actor was in fact born in communist Romania, where he witnessed his parents struggle through the revolution. He spent time in Vienna too, before emigrating to the States with his mother aged 12.

“Actually, now we’ve got these longer scenes together, there’s a lot more dialogue between us.” You make it sound like that is a problem, I say. “Well, in a way it’s the bit that worried me the most. Not as an actor, per se, but as a fan of the character.” How come? “Well, Winter Soldier and Falcon have worked together best when they’ve had little to say to one another. We’re good at quips. So, now, what are they going to say to one another?”

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