Sebastian Stan caps off his Year In Hot by appearing in Men’s Health. He is there, ostensibly, to talk about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is filming now and due later next year on Disney+. But he is also looking extremely hot, in what is, I must say, a completely insane editorial. What is the story here? Is this some kind of new Patrick Bateman styling? This photoshoot is BONKERS. He’s steaming himself? I appreciate the general shirtlessness of this photoshoot but I am REALLY hung up on the steamer, and the sort of Jersey Shore aesthetic of the home tanning. 

To turn from pure objectification, though, this is a great interview (by Lauren Larson), which examines how Stan became a breakout Marvel star this decade. Of all the many actors to come to the MCU over the last ten years, Stan has gotten one of the biggest career boosts, especially as a supporting character who has never headlined his own project. He parlayed playing a mostly-mute supporting character with basically ten collective minutes of screen time over the last two years into being one of the most consistently popular Marvel stars. It took Chris Hemsworth like FOUR movies in which he was a STAR to get that kind of traction with the public. 

Which is why it’s a little insane to me that Stan is, apparently, comparing himself to the Chrises. I guess it makes sense in the workout routine. You start working with Chris Evans AND Chris Hemsworth AND Chris Pratt, all enormous chunks of men, you might get a little insecure about holding up your side, too. But I wonder if Stan realizes he popped back in 2014, when he broke out with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because he ISN’T a Chris. The Chrises are “The Chrises” because they’re all a little the same. They’re blonde white dudes of a certain type, they’re in the same sorts of movies. (Pine sets himself a little apart on that score, but he is still a blonde Chris playing a guy named Steve in a superhero movie.) Sebastian Stan is not a Chris. We noticed him BECAUSE he’s not a Chris.

And he has, almost improbably, maintained his public perception all decade without faltering, something his fellow Marvel-support breakout, Tom Hiddleston, couldn’t do. Larson repeats several times in the profile how reserved Stan is, though he has never been shy about discussing his mental health, anxiety, and therapy. Comb through his Insta comments or browse Tumblr, and you’ll find a lot of people relating to Stan’s vulnerability in this area. It’s a key component of his appeal. It’s also notable that Larson describes Stan as “reserved” yet he never comes off like an asshole. This is a really good profile, balancing Stan’s popular buddy routine with Anthony Mackie with his more aloof persona, and picking at the loose threads of his public perception—the body, the press tours, the strict boundary with his personal life, his thoughtful answers to even silly questions on press junkets. Sebastian Stan spent most of this decade famous and hot—he has been studied. But this profile reminds me that we haven’t really decoded him yet. 


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To read the full Men’s Health profile on Sebastian Stan, click here

Attached - Sebastian Stan on the set of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in Atlanta yesterday.