The ‘I, Tonya’ actor strives for some more scenery to chew, but that could serve as a wonderful change-up in his filmography.
Sebastian Stan rose to prominence as the pretty bad boy in The Covenant and Gossip Girl before transforming into one of the core sources of angst and emotional fodder in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he has more recently shown a welcome proclivity for playing against these more cut-and-dry types with each new onscreen opportunity. Specifically, we can now add Monday to Stan’s list of burgeoning acting challenges.
Deadline has the scoop that Stan will be headlining this new drama from Suntan director Argyris Papadimitropoulos. Denise Gough – who features opposite Keira Knightley in Colette and constantly makes waves in theater circuits – is set to co-lead Monday with Stan. Furthermore, to ensure we’re more than ready for a new romance to take the world by storm, producers behind Before Midnight, Belle, Loving, and La La Land will also lend their expertise to the project.
But not so fast. There’s more to this story than meets the eye. Set in Greece, Monday will be a love story bookended by self-destruction, as a young American couple falls into a “tsunami of a romance” across Athens and the Greek islands. That’s as much of a summary as Deadline offers, but Papadimitropoulos himself has been discerning about the film’s intensity. He tells the outlet:
“Many people don’t feel like getting involved in intense relationships anymore. And that to me is so sad. Chloe and Mickey’s story is a very honest look at one relationship, and in it there are elements everyone will recognize from their own experiences.”
The chase for pockets of intimacy is very much within Papadimitropoulos’ wheelhouse, and nothing speaks to his penchant for frightening dualities more than his most recent feature Suntan. The film follows a middle-aged man who falls into the company of a young woman, only to become woefully obsessed with her.
We’ve recommended it as one of the best summertime movies around, but not for any particularly jovial reason. Rather, Suntan presents an unnerving and confrontational degeneration of its protagonist. The situation is unflinching, uncomfortable, and filled with second-hand embarrassment. No one wears rose-colored glasses from the get-go in Suntan, but the film only spirals downwards into unapologetic darkness. There is nothing archetypal about this scorching vacation film.
This precedent set by Suntan lends a layer of dread over the prospect of Papadimitropoulos orchestrating yet another “romance,” especially one that’s billed as anything close to gritty and destructive. However, his unrelenting lens ultimately makes for unforgettable cinema, even if we feel a little sick after it all ends. Isn’t that like an actor’s catnip?
Furthermore, one wonders how Monday will fare with further help from particularly notable producers who have worked on a variety of memorable romantic romps. For instance, Before Midnight sports a vastly different outwardly vibe in comparison to La La Land, yet they both commiserate the fact that relationships are ultimately imperfect. Conversations about identity permeate these films to a stark degree, too – especially when it comes to Loving. The idea of personal and professional compromise hinders romanticized depictions of love, and that kind of honesty would be very welcome in Monday.
To see Stan and Gough hash all of this out is a fascinating possibility for both actors as neither have really had the opportunity to embody such a story on screen. In Gough’s case, as a Laurence Olivier Award-winning theater actress who has successfully transitioned to Broadway from across the pond, her talents are definitely sound. But her film resume is still growing. Her turn in Colette– which awaits wide release next month – marks her most memorable big-screen role to date. Hence, taking the plunge into the spiraling, searing heat of Papadimitropoulos’ latest would be a daring and welcome move.
Meanwhile, as much as we love Bucky Barnes, Stan tends to do exceptionally well in smaller projects. I refuse to talk about Gone or The Apparition, but his roles in Ricki and the Flash, The Martian, and Logan Lucky are delightful, if certainly minute. Stan’s resume has only continued to improve since appearing as a vital, if violent, supporting character in the Margot Robbie starrer I, Tonya. Jeff Gillooly is a far cry from Bucky as a character, and the fact that Stan wasn’t much recognized for his contributions to the film still seems like an oversight. He riffs off Robbie with biting clarity, taking on the grimness of the subject matter with such stride.
Arguably, though, Stan has been setting himself up for dramatic greatness since his stints on NBC’s Kings and USA Network’s Political Animals. Both shows put Stan in the role of the black sheep in two very distinguished families, and his performances walk the fine line of eliciting sympathy and sadness from audiences without dipping drastically into exaggeration. Unfortunately, it would then be years before Stan would find something else as dramatically satisfying.
All the more reason for him to lead a Papadimitropoulos movie. All these years, a propensity for darker, emotionally driven characters has prevented Stan’s glossier exploits from completely going stale. Jumping into the deep end of ardent — if potentially dangerous — love is absolutely one way to shake up his oeuvre for the better.