DEADLINE: Sebastian Stan certainly picks interesting and challenging projects these days. He joins me for this week’s edition of my Deadline video series The Actor’s Side where we discuss his decision to play Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee as he falls hard for Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and gets immersed in a marriage and sex-tape scandal that dominated the mid-1990s tabloid headlines.

As Stan tells me this isn’t the first time he has taken on the troubled life and times of a real person — he also talks about playing Jeff Gillooly who engineered the infamous Tonya Harding ice-skating scandal in the acclaimed film I, Tonya — but admits this one really brought out his insecurities. He said every week leading up to shooting gave him nightmares, but once they were fully into the transformation (and thanks especially to a game hair and makeup team) it became more comfortable.

Of course it is never that comfortable when you have to wear a talking prosthetic penis, get tattooed like there is no tomorrow, and be completely convincing as an iconic rocker who plays the drums. Stan pulls it all off though and describes every detail. We also get into his current film, also on Hulu, saying Fresh has its own set of challenges, but one he was eager to take on.

And you can’t talk to Sebastian Stan without getting the latest on the Winter Soldier himself aka Bucky Barnes. Stan has appeared in about nine different projects for Marvel where he plays that character, most recently the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and he fills us in on whether he has any plans for more.

To watch our conversation click on the video above, and join me every Wednesday during Emmy season for another edition of The Actor’s Side.



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.”



 
 

FLAUNT: Ever had a bad dinner date? It’s not the law of attraction—rather the law of averages—that ensures anyone putting themselves out there on the love-seeking scene today will encounter their fair share of whackjobs, weirdos, and ghosts. But no dating disaster you’ve been through could be worse than what befalls the characters in gripping new Rom-Com/ Horror film, Fresh (Hulu). Starring young British actor Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) and seasoned leading man Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I, Tonya, The Martian), Fresh begins by exploring the dynamics of the contemporary dating world… before crossing the boundaries of… taste…

Stan plays Steve, a handsome, single doctor who accidentally (but we realize later, of course, on purpose) strikes up a conversation with Daisy Edgar-Jones’ Noa in the produce aisle. It’s all so natural. They exchange numbers. He texts her. They go on a date. It’s a good date. Since they met IRL and not through an impersonal app interface, they skip a few steps and quickly get intimate. Noa’s best friend, Mollie, (played with verve by Jojo T. Gibbs) finds Steve’s lack of digital presence disturbing, but enjoying the love-buzz, Noa throws herself into her exciting new romance.

But Noa’s soon to find out—the very hard way—that behind this charming facade, ‘Steve’—a pseudonym—is really quite something else. Instead of the sophisticated getaway he promises her, she’s face to face with primal fears, and her sweet, sensitive lover is revealed to be a mix of Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and American Psycho, prone to Patrick Bateman-style musical interludes as he … well, that would be giving it all away. Suffice to say, in classic horror movie style, trapped in a mysterious house in the woods, Noa has to find a way to get out… And Fresh—directed by Mimi Cave, written by Lauryn Kahn, and produced by Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up, The Big Short, Vice)—is the clever, knowing, and full of suspense result.

Flaunt caught up with Daisy and Sebastian in London about Fresh, cuisine, and how they found a friendship in the midst of horror.

So how is London treating you?

SS: I think it’s been good, it’s only been 24 hours now since we’ve been here. But it’s been good—the rain is here, of course. A nice, cloudy, rainy day.
DEJ: I love it when it’s rainy in London— it’s my favorite! It’s so, you know, romantic and lovely when it rains.

Daisy, you are of course a born and bred London girl. It must be nice to be home. But you’ve lived in London before, haven’t you, Sebastian?

SS: Yeah! I was in London In 2003, when I did a year at the Globe Theatre; my college, Rutgers University, had a program at the Globe, so that was the first time I was here. In 2010, I basically lived here for a year do- ing Captain America: The First Avenger, and then I was in and out of London. And then in 2019, then the pandemic, and I lived here for another six months doing another project. So, I really do like it here.

Oh, so you’re basically a local with all of that experience.

SS: Almost.
DEJ: Practically a Londoner. He still hasn’t had a Sunday roast, though. That, to me, is shocking.

In all those years?

SS: I didn’t even know what that was—because usually Sundays, I keep to myself.

Right.

SS: And I was always in the hotel room crying.
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In conversation with his former costar Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan shines a light on how he gets into character both physically and mentally, from roles like rock legend Tommy Lee to a charming psychopath in Fresh.

L’Officiel: Sebastian Stan has lived many lives. From his breakout role as disgraced prep-school bad-boy Carter Baizen on Gossip Girl to Marvel’s Bucky Barnes, Stan has largely managed to fly under the radar. That is, until now. Starring as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee in the hit Hulu series Pam and Tommy has planted Stan squarely in the spotlight. The miniseries, which also stars Lily James as Pamela Anderson, follows the untold story of the infamous sex tape seen ‘round the world, which was stolen and leaked during the wild early days of the Internet.

His latest role sees Stan explore the horrors of modern dating in Hulu release Fresh, where he stars alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones as Steve, a seemingly nice guy who is not at all what he seems. “The movie explores the idea of this hero complex, which fucks up all our relationships with each other; the idea that there’s a knight in shining armor that’s gonna come and save the day,” Stan says. “I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of wanting to be that strong guy who isn’t going to be vulnerable.”

Exclusively for L’OFFICIEL, Stan speaks with friend and former costar Margot Robbie about transforming himself for a role, on-set chemistry, and his favorite rom-coms.

MARGOT ROBBIE: I’m gonna start way back at the beginning, when you were conceived—no, I’m joking, not that far. We physically met during the chemistry read for I, Tonya, but I had seen your tape before. I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I didn’t recognize you at all. I think you were wearing a turtleneck and you may have even grown the ‘stache. I remember being like, “Wow, this actor is so good, who is this guy? He’s going to be such a find.” And then I looked you up and I was like, “Holy shit, it’s the hot guy from Gossip Girl and those Marvel movies!” Since then, I feel like you just keep transforming. I wanted to ask you about the more physical transformation, particularly when it comes to Pam and Tommy and Fresh. Is that something you find helpful?

SEBASTIAN STAN: I feel like the physical stuff always helps us, right? Because I’m such a self-conscious person with regard to my “Sebastianisms.” Having to morph into something that’s not really you is scary, but it stops me from judging myself.

MR: Do you wanna know a Sebastianism that I’ve noticed? You cover half your face with your hand when you laugh. I love it.

SS: [Laughs.] Yeah, I do do that. That’s also my favorite emoji, by the way.

MR: But I totally get what you’re saying. I feel like the less I look like myself and the less I sound like myself, the more separate I am from the character. That being said, what drives you to make the choices that you make? Even if I hadn’t worked with you, and I didn’t know you, I know I would be a fan of yours because of the risky characters you play and the projects you sign onto with so many first or second-time directors.
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Forbes: Sebastian Stan has played a Marvel superhero, he has played real-life rocker Tommy Lee, and he even stirred things up on Gossip Girl early on in his career. Today however, the Romanian-born actor’s latest performance in the Searchlight Pictures film Fresh (now streaming exclusively on Hulu) has showcased the full spectrum of Stan’s outstanding acting abilities in a singular project.

Now, I am not going to spoil the subject matter nor genre(s) that Fresh would most definitely classify itself as, but Stan achieves a career-best performance with this enigmatic portrayal of Steve. After his character comes across the film’s main protagonist Noa (played brilliantly by Daisy Edgar-Jones) during a random encounter at a supermarket, a charming romance ensues between these two seemingly well-intentioned young people and moves questionably fast, without a safety net, something bewildered viewers of this film will soon wish was put in place all along.

So, what was it for Stan that intrigued him most to want to purposefully fall down the rabbit hole of this truly Fresh (pun intended) character?

“It was a script that had a lot of questions that it was raising and I sort of felt like there were things about the confusion of dating and this sort of not really knowing people right away and the projection that we throw on one another,” Stan tells me at Forbes. “Seemingly, why we’re drawn to certain people and particularly, that it took this ‘knight in shining armor’ complex that we’ve all heard growing up with, men and women, and flipped it on its head. When I read [the script], it kind of hit and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and usually that’s how I know to maybe engage further.”

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Forbes: For many reasons, the theft and leaking of the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s private sex tape was a landmark moment in popular culture. From privacy to ownership rights and ethics to sexual content online, the ripples of the splash it created continue to this day.

However, Pam and Tommy isn’t just about that tape. Based on a 2014 Rolling Stone article, the Hulu miniseries stars Lily James as Baywatch star Pamela and Sebastian Stan as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and goes beyond the tape, the theft and distribution, and looks at the fallout and impact of the video being made public.

I caught up with Stan to talk about the project’s uniqueness, the reality of recreating Tommy’s legendary genitalia, and his relief at the positive reaction to the first official image from the show.

Simon Thompson: Your transformation in Pam and Tommy is incredible. What was it like the first time you saw yourself as the complete Tommy Lee?

Sebastian Stan: Lily and I had to do this camera test, and that was the first time I think we finally had all the touches; I had the tattoos, she had the wig, the whole thing. That was a big and telling day for both of us. Until that point, I would look at pictures of him over and over and think, ‘How am I going to pull this off?’ The hair and makeup team that we had were geniuses. They researched so hard, and the way they planned everything was special and specific. From every single tattoo to the amount of stubble I had, it was a conscious decision on their part to try to move us in the right direction.

Thompson: You and Lily didn’t spend a lot of time together before that because of the pandemic, right?

Stan: Even afterward, I would never see her outside of Pamela. There was no time because she would get there super early, I’d get there early, we’d go to two different places, spend three hours getting ready, and then meet and film. At that point, I would meet Pamela; I wouldn’t see Lily herself. Sometime at the end of the day, I would maybe get a glimpse of her running from the makeup into the car to go home. It wasn’t until the end of the shoot that I formally met her. I was amazed at how close to Pamela she looked and how much of her essence was there.

Thompson: As an actor, is that helpful, or is it your worst nightmare not to have that personal time and connection with the other actor?

Stan: She and I had all these scenes together, and we always needed to communicate and stay in touch about everything so that we were always on the same page. It was different, but no two projects are ever the same. We just happened to have a really good group of people on this. From the guys doing sound to our camera operator to the directing, we seemingly had the best of the best. Everybody came in and worked so hard, so it was unique in that way.

Thompson: There was always going to be an element of controversy around Pam and Tommy. When you got the script, who did you talk to about it and use as a sounding board to help you decide whether or not to take it on?
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VARIETY:The cast and creatives behind “Fresh,” a rom-com-turned-thriller that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, unpacked the need for horror (and a touch of humor) when tackling today’s realities of dating and the continued commodification of women.

“There’s a lot of tropes in this film that are there for a reason – and hopefully we’re challenging them. We’re twisting them in a different way,” director Mimi Cave told senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson in Variety’s Virtual Sundance Studio presented by Audible.

“[There’s a] subconscious way women operate in the world that men don’t know about,” added the film’s writer, Lauryn Kahn.

In “Fresh,” a young woman named Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) meets Steve (Sebastian Stan), and the two start seeing each other romantically. However, Noa soon learns that her new partner has some concerning dietary tendencies — diving the film into the literal meaning of “meat market.”

“[‘Fresh’] was very complex and sort of surprising. [It] kind of pulls the rug from underneath your feet,” said Stan. “As actors, it’s a nice challenge.”

“[The film] is sort of exposing this level of fear of threats that we do live with without ever discussing or interrogating,” added Edgar-Jones. “What’s so wonderful is being able to explore that whilst also creating something that is really entertaining. There is a lot of dark humor throughout this script, and I love that.”

Jojo T. Gibbs, who portrays Noa’s best friend in the movie, also noted the importance of seeing platonic relationships in the film’s landscape — as well as the joys of working together as a cast on the project.

“When I did the chemistry read with Daisy, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, she’s amazing.’ We clicked from the jump, and the bond just was very fluid. And I think it spilled over onto the screen very well,” said Gibbs.

Hear more from the conversation with Kahn, Cave, Edgar-Jones, Stan, Gibbs and Dayo Okeniyi in the video above.



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.
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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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