Captain America: Winter Soldier — Building The Cast: Sebastian Stan

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While Alexander Pierce and Nick Fury try to keep the world a peaceful place, a new threat comes into the fold that seems to be unstoppable—The Winter Soldier—a super-soldier who is the world’s greatest assassin. “Winter Soldier in the movie is perceived as a ghost ops character,” informs Joe Russo. “An infamous assassin that intelligence agencies throughout the world have never been able to identify; like Bigfoot, there are only blurry, inconclusive photos of his existence over an inexplicable 60-year period. The big reveal in the movie to Cap is that this ghost is his supposedly deceased best friend from World War II.”

For Sebastian Stan, transitioning into the role of The Winter Soldier was an opportunity that he hoped would materialize with the success of the franchise and popularity of the storyline. Offering some background on the character, Stan says, “The Russians found Bucky Barnes and they saw a great opportunity to use him as a weapon to target Steve Rogers’ weak spots, his emotions and past. I have always been very fascinated by the Winter Soldier and was just thrilled to get the opportunity to play this complex character.”

Says Kevin Feige, “Sebastian Stan is now playing a completely different part than he played in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ It’s great seeing him grow as an actor and seeing him embrace Bucky in a way that is completely different, inspired directly from Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier comic run.”

Director Anthony Russo points out that bringing a sense of brutality to the Winter Soldier was crucial to setting up the relationship between Captain America and Winter Soldier. Anthony explains, “Cap is like Rocky; he’s a character with a clear code and a strong drive. He’s at his most compelling when you take him to the 12th round. When he’s beat up, bloody, stumbling—will he stay on his feet? That’s when you feel the real victory in him. Our thought process was, if the villain’s his best friend, then let’s make the villain as brutal and aggressive as we possibly can, so that it presents the greatest challenge to Cap. So that the distance Cap has to pull the character back from is so significant that as audience members we’re not sure whether he’s going to get there or not. Winter Soldier is a very tragic, empathetic villain. There’s something good inside of him that is potentially salvageable, and only Cap can recognize that.”

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