Sebastian Stan on Playing 'Bucky' in Captain America: The First Avenger and Beyond
07.19.11 by BrentJS
When Captain America: The First Avenger opens this Friday — Thursday if you're lucky enough to be in San Diego for Comic-Con — comic book fans will be treated to a very faithful adaptation of the "Star-Spangled Avenger." The character was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the early '40s to combat, at least on paper, the Nazi threat, and Cap's (played by Chris Evans) movie origin stays true to the comic books, with most of the movie taking place during WWII.
However, one character who receives a slightly modified or updated portrayal in the movie is that of Cap's kid sidekick, James "Bucky" Barnes. There's nothing "kid" or "sidekick" about Bucky as portrayed by Sebastian Stan. Rather, he is a tough, battle-hardened soldier willing to risk his life alongside Cap, even without the "Super Soldier Serum" that empowers his friend. In a recent interview with MovieWeb, Stan discussed Bucky's movie relationship with Cap and explained why he should not be considered a sidekick. He also discussed possibly portraying the character in future movies.
The truth is, I never looked at him as a sidekick. I didn't want to play him as a sidekick. I didn't want that informing my performance. I just wanted him too... Look, for me, Bucky lives in his own world. Steve is his family back home. When Bucky goes to war, that is what he is doing. He never wants Steve to go to war. He doesn't want Steve to be in a position where he can get hurt. He doesn't ever want to lose Steve. That is the only family he's got. But Bucky lives in his own world, at the same time. He travels the world. He has been around. He has seen things. When he comes back, what I think happens, when they both go on their mission, this is where the quote-unquote sidekick thing kicks in. When Bucky comes back, the next time Bucky sees Steve, Steve is a different man. Not a person. But an entirely different man. That changes everything, including the dynamic of his relationship. Bucky has to follow Steve into battle, because it never changes for him. That he will always have to look out for his brother. You know what I mean? There were aspects of that, that we've seen in other films before. Where brothers stand up for each other. One goes to war, because he doesn't want anything to happen to the other guy. There are different moral reasons at play here, other than, "Hey, we're going to go be super heroes." I think the world in the comic books looks at this as something that will take care of itself. But for me, I am interested in keeping it all about the reality of their relationship. The connection between people, and why Bucky does what he does.
The director of Captain America, Joe Johnston, revealed in a recent interview that he likes Stan "a lot" and would be interested in taking the post-WWII story of Bucky from the comic books — in which he is captured by the Soviets and brainwashed into becoming an assassin called the Winter Soldier — and "build another feature" around him. Stan said that the "possibilities are endless" for his character and that, if Bucky survives into the future along with Cap, he would much rather play the Winter Soldier version of Bucky than have to play the character as an octogenarian.
It's too early for me to say. Honestly, I don't know where this story is going to go. Obviously, there is a line in the comic books about where this could potentially go. I think the story is set up for any option. I think a lot remains to be seen. ... As an actor, I would look to see where the interesting scenes are, what it's about, and what the purpose of it is. Should this be the story? I would prefer that he be a version of Jason Bourne. If we do see him as an old man, I would hope that he'd wind up in a better situation than a retirement home. Maybe he will be somewhere on a ranch, with a really hot wife and seven kids. Maybe it will end something like that.
Captain America: The First Avenger was written by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus. The cast includes Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola and Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull.