We're mere months away from the premiere of "Captain America: The First Avenger," and while much of the early buzz focuses on Chris Evans' take on Marvel's star-spangled sentinel, there's also good reason to keep an eye on actor Sebastian Stan, who plays Cap's sidekick, James "Bucky" Barnes.
One of the most recognizable sidekick characters in comics, Bucky not only played a big role in Cap's early adventures, but also factored into some of the most celebrated Captain America stories of the modern age.
With his part in "Captain America" and turns in several other much-anticipated 2011 films, Stan was honored this year as one of MTV's 11 actors to watch in 2011. He recently spoke to MTV News about the "Captain America" casting process, filming the action sequences for the movie, and how he prepared for the role.
MTV NEWS: Tell me about the casting process for "Captain America."
SEBASTIAN STAN: It was interesting, because I was in Germany, so I was making tapes [for an audition]. One thing about living in New York is I always end up making tapes. I read this article about Vera Farmiga, and apparently she used to do these incredible tapes, and that really encouraged me. Sometimes in an audition room, it's hard to get there. I like making tapes.
Anyway, I was in Germany and I made a tape before I left New York in early January, and then I made about two or three other ones from Germany. I got a good response. I'm originally from Romania, and after I finished "Apparition," I was going to go to Romania but I had this feeling that I needed to go to L.A. And thank God I did, because I went into the room with the guys — at the time, I was auditioning for the actual Captain America role — so I screen-tested for that role.
Usually with screen tests, you can be very nervous, the stakes are high. But this one was actually really chilled out. I think a lot of that had to do with [director] Joe Johnston, because he brings such a good atmosphere on set. I felt very calm. I wasn't nervous. I felt like, for four or five hours, I was just playing. It was fun. Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard over at Marvel asked me to sit down with them and they talked about the comic books and Bucky and his entire arc, and I was really attracted to that. I thought there's a lot to play with, so I was very happy.
MTV: There have been many different iterations of Bucky over the years. What can you say about your Bucky?
STAN: I didn't know anything about the comic books. Even when I auditioned, I didn't. And I liked that, because I didn't want to have particular ideas. I wanted to find the characters and connections naturally. And I did.
Steve Rogers and Bucky are both orphans and kind of like brothers. They kind of grow up together and look after each other. It's a very human, relatable thing. And growing up in the Army is a very specific thing. There's a certain way these guys carry themselves, there's a certain etiquette, a certain body posture, the way that they interact. So I went back and read the comics and watched a lot of documentaries on World War II. "Band of Brothers" was very helpful.
I wanted to make sure I respected the themes in the comics that people related to about Bucky, but at the same time, in my head, we were shooting a movie that takes place in 1944 and it is about a bunch of guys going to war and how they're going to look out for each other. Bucky always protects and looks out for Steve Rogers.
I also wanted to look out for how their relationship changes once Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. There's always a competition and they're always one-upping each other. I paid attention to how Bucky is affected by Steve's change and suddenly Steve is this leader.
MTV: How'd you handle the action scenes?
STAN: There's a lot of CGI stuff and working with a green screen. I hadn't done that too extensively before. That was very challenging, because you're just there surrounded by green walls, but there's going to explosions going off around you, so you have to factor that in and maintain that in your imagination. It helped to go back to the monitor or to check out the boards with pictures of what it was going to look like.
Also, the stunts were challenging. You want to do the stunts yourself, so you feel like you accomplished it. But sometimes it's important to step back and let the real professional guys do it because you don't want to hurt yourself.
For Sebastian Stan's comments on the other films that made him one of our "11 For '11," head over to Movies.MTV.com.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" hits theaters July 22, 2011.