In 2012 Sebastian Stan was one of my Performers of the Year in television. Stan provided two dynamic performances one in the television series Once Upon a Time as the Mad Hatter, and the other as T.J. Hammond in the Mini-Series Political Animals. Both roles were layered, but showed this guy had the chops to keep up with some names.
In Once Stan's Mad Hatter was no cartoonish manipulation of the character; he was cunning, sly smooth, and on the hunt for his daughter. Stan has always been able to pull off darker story lines well, but gave humanity to the Hatter's journey. Stan's Mad Hatter had one of the best story arcs on the series, and I am bummed he has not reprised this role in either Once (the original), or the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
In May of that year Stan took on the role of the first gay child of a former President, whose mother (Sigourney Weaver) was then running for office, and became Secretary of State. Stan was ignored by the Emmy Awards, but was the best on the show, his battle with addiction, attention, and the need to feel loved by his parents was the most impactful journey of this limited run series. Stan had terrific chemistry with Ellen Burstyn, who played his grandmother, and when you can go toe to toe with Burstyn, you have the chops to do anything.
Beyond his role on Gossip Girl, Stan has fantastic taste in television shows; he was part on the incredibly underrated NBC series Kings. Kings only lasted 12 episodes, but was a fantastic show. Most of Stan's recognizable work has been on television, but he has made a few splashes in film recently.
Splash may be the understatement, especially this weekend. Stan played Bucky Barnes in the original Captain America: The First Avenger, and plays the Winter Solider in this weekend's sequel, Captain America: The Winter Solider. While The Winter Solider is mainly the silent type, there is a lot toward the end which speaks to the way in which the character was manipulated. No spoilers promise. Stan has signed a 9 picture deal with Marvel, which means he may be around for quite a long time, and with Chris Evans wanting to take a rest soon, who knows which role he will take on, Marvel fans you do, major wink.
Watch out for this guy because he can do it all comedy (Hot Tub Time Machine) drama (Black Swan, and this TV work), and action (Captain America). The Marvel franchise will help make this guy a big name, and like Tom Hiddleston, he will soon become a favorite for many.