The Star Wars actor on leaving the Marines, filming nude scenes with Lena Dunham and get in touch with his darknes side
Adam Driver has a reputation for being a serious young man, which is partly a matter of stance and partly, I suspect, to do with some aspect of his physiognomy: he has a large head and outsize features that somehow combine to give an impression of gravity. Before the photoshoot, he let it be known that he procures it uncomfortable to have a journalist( me) in his sightline on decide, the kind of specification one might expect of a particularly precious Hollywood star. But this turns out to be misleading. Driver’s discomfort is with the entire celebrity facet of his job, which stimulates talking about his role in the most recent Star Warstrilogy somewhat tricky. I don’t even know where to start with The Last Jedi, I tell, as we settle down after the shoot, and Driver smilings, then seems gloomy.” Me, neither ,” he says.
We are in downtown Manhattan, a few miles from Driver’s Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood( Lena Dunham lives there, too) and a more upscale part of Brooklyn than the grungy Greenpoint location of Girls. That depict, the sixth and final season of which ran on HBO earlier this year, was watched by relatively modest numbers, but has had an outsized influence on the culture. Scarcely a day goes by without Dunham being mentioned in a blogpost somewhere, and it dedicated Driver, who played her on-off boyfriend, the kind of career launch twentysomething performers can only dream of. At 34 , not only does he have his second go as Kylo Ren in the most recent Star Wars movie, but he has just shot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, directed against Terry Gilliam, was in the Steven Soderbergh film Logan Lucky and played the title role in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Pretty good, I’d say, although I presume the two Star Wars films- The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi- are the real life-changer.
“No,” Driver says, looking genuinely baffled.
But to be part of a juggernaut that sizing- wasn’t he cautioned it would change his life?” I don’t think anyone used to say, and I wouldn’t have listened to them, anyway. As a person, I’m the same. The problems I had before Force Awakens, it didn’t solve any of them .” He laughs.” For me, the only noticeable difference is your visibility as a person. Loss of anonymity is a big thing. I didn’t realise how I would see that in a billion little routes .”
The fame he had before Star Wars was somewhat localised. As Driver says drily,” In my neighborhood, a lot of people watch HBO .” Star Wars is different:” Seven-year-olds to 70 -year-olds .” It is global and almost impossible to escape. Driver is 6ft 3in and distinctive-looking, like a child’s depict of a human brought to life. He’s even recognisable when travelling at speed.” I supposed, I’ll ride my motorcycle around the city ,” he says,” and within two seconds I get pulled over by the cops, who said,’ Hey, can we take a image ?'”
Really?” Yeah. I mean, I also operated a red light, so it was fair .”
Driver has been in New York since his early 20 s, and part of his appeal as relevant actors has to do with his background. Before attending drama school at Juilliard, he was in the Marine. He was discharged after two years of training, and before his division get shipped to Iraq, following an injury brought on while he was out mountain biking, a terrible jolt at the time.
It is this- the combined effects of the classical theatre training and the military experience- that devotes Driver an unusual ruggedness. As with most things that come up during our conversation, he is mildly amused and emphatically deflating about the role of the military in his appeal as an actor. He already knew he wanted to perform where reference is joined the Marines in his late teens, a move partly inspired by 9/11 and partly by youthful absence of direction.Driver’s application to Juilliard had been rejected; he had no other plans and was listlessly living in his mother and stepfather’s house in Indiana when 9/11 happened, filling him with what he described in a recent TED talk as” an overwhelming sense of duty “. He was also feeling” generally pissed off” and underconfident, and for some reason- he agrees, looking back, that it was in many ways an odd move- signing up seemed to be the answer.
At high school, Driver wasn’t particularly macho.” I didn’t do organised athletics , not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t very good at them. Except basketball. But I was never, like: let’s play football .”
He principally hung out with the high school drama nerds.” I wasn’t someone who was into groups of guys- we’re men ! We’re going to eat meat !” He appears momentarily wry.” I don’t know what guys do. Anyway, I would never have talked to those people before the military. Now you’re stuck in the epitome of alpha-male territory .”
To everyone’s surprise, he loved it. One can virtually consider why: there is an earnestness to Driver that enjoyed the purity of military life and the more he talks about it, the more he makes it sound like a combat version of Buddhism.” There’s something about going into the military and having all of your identity and possessions stripped away: that whole lucidity of purpose thing. It becomes very clear to you, when you get your liberty back, that there’s stuff you want to do .”
The bonds Driver constructed with his fellow Marines were startling to him, devoted how different many of them were in terms of background.( In his own family, his mother is a paralegal, his stepfather a Baptist preacher and his father works” at the copy counter at Office Depot “.) In the military, Driver tells , none of that mattered.” You’re in this high-stakes environment where who you are as a person is constantly tested. And, in my experience, a lot of the person or persons I was closest to in the military were very self-sacrificing. For me, it speaks volumes, more than how well they were able to articulate, or whatever front they were putting on. You get to see them at their most vulnerable and they’re literally going to back you up. All pretences dissolve .”
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