Known largely as one of Marvel's most mysterious commodities, The Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan would be doing pretty well for himself even if his next movie weren't one in which he co-stars with Meryl Streep. Ricki & The Flash hits theaters Aug. 7, and we talked with Stan about working with legends like Streep and Audra McDonald, his feelings on Pixar, and what Bucky Barnes would sing at karaoke.
1. His college nickname was Sea Bass.
Kaye Toal (BuzzFeed): So I went to Rutgers shortly after you did, and I heard that you had a college nickname. I was wondering if you could confirm or deny that for me. Was it Sea Bass?
Sebastian Stan: I feel like yeah, I think there were some people that called me that. I suppose I can rest with that being said out of all the things I got away with in college.
2. Out of all the people on the set of Ricki & The Flash he geeked out the most over Rick Springfield.
Alanna Bennett (BuzzFeed): At any point during filming Ricki & The Flash did Meryl Streep and/or Audra McDonald ever serenade you?
SS: Well definitely Meryl Streep, 'cause we got to watch her do her stuff, and I was there for some of the rehearsals. I was personally very much more concerned about Rick Springfield, because I love him and "Jesse's Girl." So when they were rehearsing I was fixated on him, hoping that he would, like, break into song. Finally on the last day I think he did. So I was kinda taken aback by him. Audra, she never got into singing but she had amazing stories from all the Broadway years.
3. He has a lot of thoughts about what he and his characters would sing at karaoke.
AB: What do you think would be your Ricki & The Flash character's dream karaoke song? And what's yours?
SS: Oh my god. Well, I've got a few. I'll go with mine. What's the one that's the Bon Jovi song, I think it's "Bad Medicine." But the one that's like [sings] "I'm a cowboy."
KT: Oh, "Dead Or Alive."
SS: Yeah, so that one. I always end up going to that one, and then I also go to — I guess I go to the "Sweet Child Of Mine" [by Guns N' Roses], which always leaves me just dead for the rest of the time there. Milking that is, like, impossible. Oh, "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley is another one I go to.
KT: I feel like that's a song everybody knows but they forget they know, so when you do it it's like a moment of revelation for everyone in the room.
SS: Yeah, it's true. It's definitely, definitely true. What's the one that goes like [sings] "Every time I see you falling..."
KT: "Bizarre Love Triangle"! It's "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order; that's one of my favorite songs.
SS: Yeah, that one! All right, so those I actually always remember. The problem is that like everybody else I get to the karaoke place and then it's time and I don't know anything. You're always remembering songs you wanna sing except when you're actually at karaoke. But my character...that's a great question. It's so funny because the guy [in Ricki & The Flash] is so conservative in so many ways, and I feel like in karaoke you let loose a little bit. You know what, he'd probably do "Sweet Caroline."
KT: Oh, yeah. There ya go.
AB: What would Bucky Barnes' karaoke song be?
SS: Oh my god. It would be, like, the Nine Inch Nails cover — no, it would be... Hold on, I got this. It would be the Johnny Cash version of the Nine Inch Nails song that goes [sings] "I left myself today."
KT: Oh, "Hurt!" That's a really good cover of that song.
SS: What's that called? "Hurt!" I mean, that's so on the money, that poor guy.
KT: Poor Bucky.
SS: You know what, hold on, can I change it? 'Cause another one came to me. But that's actually in the realm of the stuff I would listen to, you know, for the character. But I would go with the Sinatra song "My Way," except the Sid Vicious cover. I would do that one.
KT: That's awesome.
AB: That's a great one.
SS: Which I have done at karaoke before and it is kind of fun.
KT: No Britney Spears for Bucky?
SS: Haha! No Britney Spears, but let me think of some other embarrassing song now. You can put "Titanium" under mine.
KT: Delighted. Delightful.
4. He doubts many of his characters would survive a zombie apocalypse.
KT: Of all your characters, which would team up to survive the zombie apocalypse?
SS: None of them. They're all damaged, terrible. Definitely the Winter Soldier would because he could stick around in that situation.
AB: He's a resilient dude.
SS: Yeah, I don't know about those [other] guys. I don't know if any of those guys would ever survive the zombie apocalypse. They would all get together and do a Friends-like spinoff of something. I would just say the Winter Soldier, he's the only one I think would survive.
5. Pixar has a way of getting to him.
SS: I miiiiight have teared up slightly at this Inside Out movie. I might have felt the salt of my own tears. Yeah, it was great, it was really, really great. I was amazed, I kinda got talked into going. But a Disney film that made me tear up when I was a kid...I don't know. I liked Aladdin and Little Mermaid a lot. But Aladdin especially, I think I was really into because of the genie in that. But I don't remember really ever tearing up. It's the Pixar movies! It's the Pixar movies that are getting really intense. I mean, Up? That was definitely one that's very debatable in terms of the tear factor, you know. I remember when I first watched that one it made me kinda tear up.
6. He could never really get a handle on the Meryl Streep of it all.
SS: I never knew, sort of, how to gauge [Streep], which is kind of how my character was dealing with her character as well, which kind of played out nicely. I never knew. You know, her process: How much is she Meryl Streep and how much is she the character? It was like being on a bed of pins and needles.
7. If he could cosplay any character at Comic-Con he'd choose The Riddler.
SS: Well this is a very dangerous question. When I was really young I was definitely a fan of The Riddler, for sure. But then you should put in parentheses "extremely aware of the other side."
8. Quentin Tarantino's at the top of his career bucket list.
AB: Who is a person you'd love to work with whom you haven't worked with before?
SS: Quentin Tarantino. Quentin Tarantino, and David O. Russell. They're just so amazing. Martin Scorsese, [too].
9. He's never read Harry Potter but is pretty clear on what his patronus would be.
KT: So the patronus is like the animal that would represent you and fight off the things that make you sad or uncomfortable.
SS: Oh, that's amazing. What a great...I think it would probably be a wolf.
KT: OK, why?
SS: Because I feel like I've got one living with me at all times anyway.
10. He's very comfortable with breakfast food.
AB: What's one dish you're really good at making?
SS: I used to do these really good spicy avocado, sunny side up, sort of sandwich bites. I don't know how to describe those, but breakfast just sounds like the easiest thing to do.
AB: Breakfast is the best meal of the day.
SS: Definitely, I can hang with the eggs.
11. He knows what advice he'd give his younger self.
SS: I would probably say, "It's going to be OK. Maybe even better than OK."