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Adam Driver can’t avoid Star Wars in Cannes as he promotes ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ ‘Don Quixote’

CANNES, France – The scruffy space smuggler killed by Adam Driver onscreen via lightsaber is basically just down the beach.

Driver laughs, fully aware that Solo: A Star Wars Story premiered the previous night at Cannes Film Festival. In the new spinoff movie, Alden Ehrenreich takes over as a young Han Solo, but in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Driver’s Kylo Ren famously killed off his father, old Han (played by Harrison Ford), for good.

“Last night I was in a hotel room, and I heard the theme of Star Wars because their premiere was (happening). It’s omnipresent,” he laughs. “In a hotel room on a call, (I was like), ‘What the (expletive) is that?’ ”

Photo: Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE

Driver, 34, famously avoids watching his own films, a rule that also applied to BlacKkKlansman’s enthusiastic Cannes screening. “I left before the start of the movie and I came back. It’s Cannes, you can’t just leave and go to dinner,” he smiles, noting that cameras capture the cast during standing ovations, projecting images of the director and stars on the silver screen.

In BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee, Driver plays a Jewish police detective in Colorado who shares an identity with his black colleague (John David Washington) to infiltrate the Klan.

“I live in New York and I’m aware of (hate groups) as much as people who are finding it in the news,” says Driver, who isn’t Jewish. He recalls being exposed to white supremacy as a child. “If anything, I was more aware of it as a kid growing up in Indiana, because there were always Klan rallies, like, every summer.”

Driver is in Cannes with two films; on Sunday the festival will close with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film loosely based on the 1600s Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. He plays Toby, a disillusioned advertising executive who confuses dreams and reality after he’s mistaken for Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza.

That film, directed by Monty Python star Terry Gilliam, arrives with a degree of drama. Just days ago, a French court decreed the film could, indeed, be screened, despite a rights dispute brought by a producer claiming ownership.

Driver says he became aware of the legal issues surrounding Don Quixote “midway” through making it, but it doesn’t keep him up at night. “(Martin) Scorsese took 20-something years to make Silence, also because of legal reasons,” the actor says. “I kind of feel like all movies are a miracle that they get made.”

Since leaving the Marines and graduating from Juilliard in 2009, Driver has launched an impressive acting career, which took off with Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls. His résumé now includes films with Scorsese (Silence), J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens), Steven Soderbergh (Logan Lucky) and Jim Jarmusch (Paterson).

Next, he’ll star in Star Wars’ hotly-anticipated Episode IX.

“I’ve been insanely lucky with the people that I got to work with,” he says modestly. “Luck is a huge part.”

USA Today | Andrea Mandell | May 21, 2018

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