Adam Driver Has Something to Clear Up About Star Wars: Episode VIII
The Paterson star explains what he was trying to say about the upcoming film’s tone.
Adam Driver speaks the way you think he’ll speak. He’s prone both to blunt honesty and to short, edgy ramblings that recall his philosophical character on Girls. For example: when asked about working with Jim Jarmusch on the critically acclaimed upcoming drama Paterson, Driver started by praising Jarmusch as a “committed” filmmaker—a standard actor-on-director comment—then stopped himself. “[It’s] so boring, what I’m saying.”
“He loves everybody he works with . . . it’s not just him and the actors, and everybody else, he really thinks of it as a team effort,” Driver continued. “But hearing an actor say ‘team effort’ is the most boring fucking thing.”
In Paterson, which hits theaters on December 28, Driver plays . . . a bus driver (“a beautiful metaphor,” Jarmusch said of the serendipity of his star’s name and the character’s occupation) from Paterson, New Jersey, who writes poetry in his spare time, drinking in the words of William Carlos Williams and Frank O’Hara. His performance is emotive and warm; the film itself has been hailed by V.F.’s Richard Lawson as “wise, winning, and surprisingly moving.”
To prepare for the role, Driver actually took a training course and learned how to drive a bus. He also brushed up on poetry, admitting he didn’t know much about the literary form beyond the greats like Williams.
“Allen Ginsberg is great, Wallace Stevens—I’m just naming people now, I guess,” he told Vanity Fair Sunday, with a laugh. “I always liked E.E. Cummings, actually. He was my favorite.”
Next year, Driver will close a major chapter in his career when Girls airs its sixth and final season. Filming has already officially wrapped, and Driver’s last day on the set was surprisingly mellow: “We did our scene, we had a drink, and we all went home.”
“I think it doesn’t really hit you, working on a job for six years and then suddenly it’s over,” he added. “I still kind of in the back of my mind feel like we’re gonna do it again next year, but we’re not. It’ll probably hit me this time next year.”
This time next year, Driver will be busy promoting Star Wars VIII, reprising his role as the sinister Kylo Ren. He’s game to discuss the famous film—though he’s somewhat wary of talking about it in every interview, joking that it’ll overshadow everything else: “It’s gonna be about that, and then everyone’s like, ‘Jim who?’ Paterson who?’”
Like everyone else wrapped up in the Star Wars universe, he can say next to nothing about its plot. He’s also learned to be extremely careful with his words; he even brushed away a question about whether the script “blew him away,” because the phrasing is too vivid; who knows what fans might infer if he himself were to use those words?
Driver has been burned before: in a previous interview with Collider, he compared the upcoming film to The Empire Strikes Back, saying that it “has a different tone” than The Force Awakens—a quote that quickly lit up the Internet. Did he realize how quickly his comment would reverberate online?
“No, no, and that’s not even what I said. What I said was the tone of it was different, I didn’t say that it was gonna be in the vein of [it]—I was using it as an example, so poor example,“ he clarified. ”Next time I should say—I’m trying to think of another sequel to a movie that’s good. When I read the script, it was not what I expected, in the best of ways.”
Vanity Fair | Yohana Desta | October 3, 2016