Feature and Interview

'Infinity War' star Sebastian Stan talks about growing up with Bucky in the MCU

Sebastian Stan started his journey as one of the members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2011 with “Captain America: First Avenger,” and his character has undergone more transformations than most — from Steve Rogers’ childhood best friend to becoming an international assassin, Bucky Barnes has gone from hero to villain and now back again. Reflecting on his experiences on the eve of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Stan said he’s enjoyed watching the character evolve on screen as he’s done the same in real life.

“I think it’s interesting to play a character as you’re growing up in your own life,” Stan told Moviebill. “I mean, I’ve gotten older as I started playing this character, and it’s inevitable that certain things are going to be more important or less important over time due to the fact of where you are in your own life.”

Stan spoke with Moviebill via telephone recently to discuss his work in “Infinity War,” where Bucky, recovering in Wakanda, gets caught up in the brewing conflict between the Avengers — who remain in disarray after the events of “Civil War” — and Thanos, an alien determined to bring balance to the universe by destroying half of it. He said that returning to the character came easily and gave him a chance to delve into elements of Bucky that he might previously have lacked the awareness to explore. “I think one of the good things about working on something for a number of years is it really is like learning how to ride a bike again,” Stan said. “It just happens and comes to you more quickly. But then I think you have a newfound wisdom that you bring to the character just by simply having more wisdom in your life. To have some of that feed your character and to explore certain areas that way is just a natural feeling.”

Though he’d accumulated numerous credits as an actor by 2011, Stan’s role as Bucky gave him the biggest exposure yet, leading to higher-profile turns in films like “The Martian” and 2017’s award-winning “I, Tonya.” Stan said that the experience of playing a character like Bucky has inspired and influenced his choices going forward as he plots his next career move. “I try to stay very open in my mind about not saying ‘I only want to play this’,” he revealed. “I like to keep my mind open because I never know until I read something if it starts speaking to me — if it really lands on me and it’s something that’s profound.” And his experiences with fans, particularly those who respond to Bucky’s efforts to overcome a traumatic past, have prompted him to seek projects that shine a light on marginalized issues.

“I’d like to be more involved with stories that need a voice, and characters that reflect something in us that’s truthful or we’re not always discussing or exploring,” Stan said. “I’d like to be a part of stories that should be told and kind of add a different perspective.” It’s these films, he said, that not only give visibility to unexplored stories but change minds — including his own. “I’d love to find more things that challenge me so I can not always fall in the same kind of pattern — something that’s outside of myself, or forces me to re-evaluate or think about things.

“I think that’s the key, something that leads to thought and provokes thought and feeling in somebody,” he continued. “Whatever work that is, I would love to be involved in something like that.”

Continue exploring Moviebill’s exclusive interview with Sebastian Stan on April 27 with the “Avengers: Infinity War” print issue, available only in Regal Cinemas nationwide!

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