×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sebastian Stan on His Buzzy Sundance Comedy and How ‘Captain America’ Changed His Career

The Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Thursday night with the premiere of “The Bronze,” which opens in the same plum spot that launched “Whiplash” last year. And like ”Whiplash,” “The Bronze” focuses on hyperdevoted players in a niche world of competition.

“The Bronze,” directed by Bryan Buckley (he made the 2004 Sundance short “Krug”), tells the story of a washed-up Olympics gymnast named Hope (Melissa Rauch) who tries to regain her glory days in a small town. The buzzy comedy, which hasn’t screened widely yet, is already drawing comparisons to “Napoleon Dynamite,” thanks to quotable one-liners in its screenplay. Rauch co-wrote it with her husband Winston, and they cast Marvel heartthrob Sebastian Stan as an aging male Olympics medal-winner who serves as the love interest/archnemesis.

Stan, coming off a strong 2014 thanks to his pivotal role as the Winter Soldier in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” spoke to Variety about making “The Bronze.”

Tell me about the premise of the “The Bronze.”
It’s about the world of gymnastics. It’s a world we know very little about, and it’s a dark comedy about what happens to some of these triathletes that we see in competition who train since they are very young and their life just becomes about winning. Hope, after winning a bronze medal, lives in this bitter world, stuck in reflecting about the past and reliving her memories in a small town. I play Lance Tucker, who is the spitting image of her, an ex-gold medalist-turned-adviser-turned-mentor.

Do you do your own stunts?
A little bit. I did a lot of research into the world of gymnastics and what kind of training these guys do. I watched a lot of videos, as many as I could find. God bless the Internet for that. I looked at the men’s Olympics teams from the last decade, going back to the ’70s and ’80s. A gymnast is the most physically all-around-perfect specimen. The training is so difficult on so many levels. It’s a very twisted world, in my opinion. We live in an age now where we’re seeing different sides to sports. We’re seeing what we see on TV, and then we’re seeing all the other stuff that goes into forming the image.

How did you get cast?
The script got sent to me by my agent. I read it, and it was literally one of the things where I couldn’t stop laughing. I was laughing so much, I was calling my friends and quoting my character. Sometimes you read something, and you get so excited to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it. I then had a meeting with Melissa and Winston and Bryan Buckley. We had a two-hour conversation about our ideas. I was very lucky — I didn’t need to audition.

Have you been to Sundance before?
I’ll tell you, I’ve never been to Sundance. I have to get on a plane immediately on Friday [to shoot another movie], so I won’t actually be around for long. I always see those cast portraits, and all I ever wanted was to be in one of those portraits with a beard. But I won’t even be able to do that.

How has starring in “Captain America” changed your career?
Credit is due where credit is due — 2014 was a very different year for me because of “Winter Soldier.” The awareness of me in terms of the industry has been very different. It’s granted me more opportunity to be able to search for the projects I want to be involved in, and work with the kind of filmmakers I’m really interested in working with. Bryan Buckley, to me, I feel like he’s going to be someone you’re going to know for a long time. I was like, “Wow, I got the chance to work with this guy before everyone is going to want to work with him.”

Have you read the script to “Captain America 3”?
No. I mean this — I have no idea what’s happening.

How many more are you doing?
I have no clue.

Do you think the Winter Soldier will ever be in an “Avengers” film?
I have no idea. That’s the most boring answer, but literally the only answer I know. It’s out of my control.

When you signed on for the first film, did you know Bucky was going to come back?
No. I mean, you know the comicbooks. That’s what you know. But I actually didn’t know them. I had a meeting with Kevin Feige, and he was catching me up on everything, and I went and read everything. I thought, “This is going to be cool.” We’re in an amazing time now for these kinds of movies. I’m so happy that I’m here for it, that they didn’t do these movies 20 years ago. The technology we have now, we can do these stories and characters justice.

Are kids scared of you now?
No one is scared of me. They just come up and pat me on the shoulder and say, “Aww, I’m so sorry, man.”

More Film

  • Midnight Traveler review

    Film Review: 'Midnight Traveler'

    Refugees rarely get to tell their own stories, which means their stories get told for them — often inaccurately and with undue hostility. Lack of resources is one issue, but a lack of stability is another: Asylum-seekers are in a frightening state of limbo, fleeing the imminent dangers of their native countries only to suffer [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content