gq interviews

After several years of sidestepping spoilers, Adam Driver is practised at the art of obfuscation. His evasive manoeuvres are near perfect.

On whether he enjoyed acting opposite Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey: “That’s hard to answer. I mean, people assume that we’d spend time with each other. Maybe our characters see each other in the movie?”

On whether he had scenes with Carrie Fisher: “It’s hard to answer without being vague.”

On whether the lightsaber scar on his face, which came courtesy of Rey in The Force Awakens, was moved for the new film: “I noticed a lot of things.”

On whether Kylo Ren’s story has a happy ending: “Not saying yes or no. But continue.”

On whether Han Solo might have known Kylo Ren would kill him: “That’s interesting.”

On whether he appears with his mask off: “Yes, I can answer that. You’ll see it off in the new trailer, so I’m not giving anything away!”

Other times, Driver playfully embraces the absurdity of it all. “I can’t say anything, but what if I signal you,” he jokes. “If I just start sneezing uncontrollably…” He fakes a loud achoo and exclaims, “Bingo! Harrison Ford’s ghost returns!”

When I ask him about Kylo Ren’s mysterious order of Dark Side disciples, the Knights of Ren, he waxes whimsical. “We can talk about them. Peter, Paul, John… No, I was thinking of The Beatles. Except wait – there’s Peter. He was too ambitious on the tambourine. Now you know: the last Knight of Ren is Ringo Starr!”

British GQ, December 2017

“We talked about terrorism a lot. You have young and deeply committed people with one-sided education who think in absolutes. That is more dangerous than being evil. Kylo thinks what he is doing is entirely right, and that, in my mind, is the scariest part.”

Adam Driver on his early conversations with JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson about his character, from British GQ, Dec 2017

Adam Driver was talking about the princess in ‘The Hidden Fortress’

Here’s the context of that quote from British GQ, December 2017:

Driver is on a roll now, discussing what excites him: character and narrative and cinematic influences. The original Star Wars was an homage to Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress, he says, and the link lives on in the new trilogy, in which concealed identities drive the narrative. Then he lets it slip.

“You have, also, the hidden identity of this princess who’s hiding who she really is so she can survive and Kylo Ren and her hiding behind these artifices,” Driver says, apparently dropping a massive revelation about Rey’s royal origins.

In the film, Princess Yuki Akizuki is forced to keep her identity secret and she poses as a mute. I don’t think he was referring to Rey. The writer just assumed he was.

So Adam was comparing Kylo to Princess Yuki.

Driver was drawn to an idea that JJ Abrams, who wrote and directed The Force Awakens, had. The man behind the mask was not a man at all, but rather a young person struggling to come of age. “I remember the initial conversations about having things ‘skinned’,” Driver recalls, “peeling away layers to evolve into other people, and the person Kylo’s pretending to be on the outside is not who he is. He’s a vulnerable kid who doesn’t know where to put his energy, but when he puts his mask on, suddenly, he’s playing a role. JJ had that idea initially and I think Rian took it to the next level.”

— excerpt from Adam Driver’s interview with GQ Magazine, on shelves Nov 2.


(170802) gq_korea
translation: emoji interview with key.
q. do you think you look handsome or ugly today?
key: 🙄🙄🙄🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ after thinking about it three times, it seems ugly.
q. what is acting?
key: ‼️❔❓❕⁉️❗️ 🎥🎥🎥 even though i know, i don’t know
q. we don’t understand….
key: ✍️✍️✍️✍️✍️👌👌👌 something you have to work hard at
q. if you could make a movie with emoticons as the lead, who would you work with?
key: 👻💀☠️👽😈🤢🤖👹 with these..
q. what kind of movie is that?
key: 🎥🎥👻👻👻👻 a horror movie
q. do you have anything else you want to say?
key: 😴😴😪😪😪😴😴😴

Edge of Darkness

From the Marines to the Emmys to the most powerful cultural force in the galaxy, for ADAM DRIVER, finding his path has been a long, hard battle. Now, for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, in a role he never imagined could be so complex, the brooding face of millennial angst faces his toughest fight yet. Spoiler alert! 

British GQ, December 2017

His face shrouded beneath a hood, Adam Driver strides toward me. Shoulders hunched, fists jammed into jean pockets, he lets out a low whisper, “Hi. I’m Adam.”

The mixed messages – simultaneously worrying he’ll be recognised and that he won’t – hang in the air awkwardly as Driver surveys our spot, a near-empty New York City café. Neither fear is well-founded; there is no flock of fans to notice him and yet there is no mistaking the actor, his grey hoodie notwithstanding.

“I try to disguise things, but it just doesn’t really work for me,” Driver says, shedding the sweatshirt. “I honestly just look the way I look and it’s difficult to blend in because I’m tall and I look strange. I shouldn’t put a judgment on it.”

Others have judged his appearance more favourably. Driver has been dubbed a “cure for the cookie-cutter leading man” and “a millennial sex symbol”. Which may or may not be a compliment. Although few phrases are as loaded as “unconventionally attractive”, it’s as if those two words were combined expressly to describe Driver. Exaggerated ears; hooded, slanted eyes; long nose with a boxer’s bridge; broad mouth and lips – his disparate features coalesce into a surprisingly appealing whole.

“I guess I never think about it like ‘I am a leading man’ or ‘I am a sex symbol.’ It’s strange to hear that stuff. I don’t think I could have imagined it,” says Driver. Yet, there was his visage on Gap billboard ads; in American Vogue with a black-horned ram slung across his shoulders; in a close-up at the Emmy Awards, where he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor three years in a row for his part in HBO’s Girls; and cast eternally in plastic as a Kylo Ren action figure for Star Wars: The Force Awakens – masked and unmasked versions available. (“Not bad,” he says of the likeness, “but my head and face are a lot bigger.”) Passers-by who once stopped him to ask, “How could you do that to Hannah?” in reference to the bad-boy behaviour of Driver’s character in Lena Dunham’s runaway-success television series, now ask, “How could you do that to Han Solo?”

“It’s a lot,” Driver says, “every part of my life. If we rewound to ten years ago, I would not have said that this is what my life would be.

“And now this music,” he waves his hands at the piano composition streaming through the café like pretentious Musack, “is making that sound so emotional. It isn’t helping, you know?”

Far from angry, the brooding face of millennial angst is smirking. At 33, Adam Driver’s signature intensity hasn’t wavered, but interest in being a tortured artist has. He’s aware of his tendencies – toward anxiety, analysis and absolutism – and is taking steps to temper them. Still, it’s a struggle, seeing good fortune as anything but a cause for self-flagellation.

If we did rewind ten years, we’d see why. Driver was a Gordian knot of clenched intensity. Enrolled at New York’s Juilliard performing arts school, he was so aggressive that his comments made fellow students cry. Every morning he would have six eggs for breakfast, then run five miles to the school from his home in Queens. He would eat a whole chicken for lunch and, during his day at the prestigious drama school, perform random feats, such as 1,000 push-ups.

“That must’ve been an obnoxious thing to be around,” he says, shaking his head. “I was trying to make it as extreme for myself as possible. Now it just makes me so tired and annoyed.”

I’ve met Driver in a peaceful, leafy corner of the Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood that he and his wife, Joanne Tucker, call home. It’s a square precinct full of baby strollers that belies the borough’s hipster cred. “I like sleepy, quiet places,” Driver explains, “because my job is very loud.” Right now he’s savouring a respite from work, the first in a five-year sprint to stardom and even letting himself idle a little. Driver, who has made a career of ill-at-ease eccentricity, is starting to feel comfortable in his own skin.

He genuinely enjoyed himself on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be released in cinemas this December. “The first one was all ‘You can’t fuck it up,’ you know? There was a lot more hanging out this time,” Driver says. “Then there are just practical things, like I have a lightsaber. That’s fun.”

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