Sebastian Stan is back at Sundance this year for the world premiere of A24’s “A Different Man,” co-starring Adam Pearson and Renate Reinsve. The three actors joined director Aaron Schimberg at the Variety Studio presented by Audible to discuss the film, which centers on an aspiring actor with a facial disability who undergoes a radical medical procedure to transform his appearance that proves to be his downfall.
Stan told Variety’s Matt Donnelly that “A Different Man” was shot in only 22 days. To appear in scenes with a facial disability, Stan was in the makeup chair for “probably one-and-a-half to two hours.” Pearson, a British actor with neurofibromatosis who is best known for his role in “Under the Skin,” hopes “A Different Man” gives cinema new kind of representation for actors with facial disabilities.
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“Normally there are three kinds of roles or tropes for us,” Pearson said. “We’re either the villain because I have a disfigurement and I want to kill Batman or James Bond, or the victim like ‘woe is me,’ or the hero, because I have a disability but do regular stuff I’m somehow braver than the next guy.”
“It’s lazy writing,” Pearson added. “Why are non-disabled people writing about disability without consultation? When that happens, the end result …you might get it right once, but 9 times out 10 it’s going to be very inauthentic and inaccurate.”
Stan said that he was “cautious” to take the role because he just “wanted to service the story the right way,” adding: “It’s an important story. It’s a subject that doesn’t really get a lot of light on it. We just really wanted to do it right.”
Elsewhere during the interview, Stan revealed that he had a panic attack during an audition for Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” He went out for a role in the film that ultimately went to Domhnall Gleeson. The actor said he “hyperventilated” during the audition and “I got very nervous and I didn’t get it.”
Next up for Stan is a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’ll once again be playing the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes in “Thunderbolts.”
“I’m excited. I’m going to go back basically in a month or so. I’ve missed it. It’s a great cast,” Stan said before alluding to Marvel’s recent box office struggles. “The batting average is so high that it’s difficult to always land everything right away. It’s always been a great experience. With this one in particular, I think there’s a lot of good things.”
A24 is expected to release “A Different Man” in theaters at some point in 2024.
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