Adam Driver on Acting: “Basically, the only thing I try to do is know my lines”

Adam Driver’s acting performance as Kylo Ren has been praised by critics and fans alike.

For many, Driver was a fresh face in 2015’s The Force Awakens because he had not appeared in a major movie or TV show before. Obviously, since landing the movie role, it has changed his life and career. Speaking with The Guardian, Adam Driver talks about the challenges of being famous and why he doesn’t feel responsible for the success of Star Wars movies.

Adam Driver points out it there is a strange feeling when it comes to being famous. “I know people think that if you’re an actor, it’s your goal to be famous and wealthy. Surely you want to be famous and wealthy! And there are great things about that part of it – it frees you up to do other things. But part of my job is being anonymous and I think being able to live, to observe more than to be observed, is important. [Being famous] seems counterintuitive to my job. It’s a weird dynamic when you walk into a room and there’s an image people project on to you.”

Driver does not want you to think he’s complaining about being famous and his lack of privacy. He continues,  “What it means to lose anonymity is a bougie problem in and of itself. And I won’t garner sympathy, nor am I asking for it. The image of us on our red carpet wearing expensive suits, where people naturally assume your life is, is not what I was after when I started this job. Believe it or not.”

That said, because the Star Wars universe is so big, he doesn’t credit himself for the success of the movie franchise. He explains,  “I’m excited that people liked it, but do I think that I got it right? No. If I had directed it, maybe. But I didn’t write it, direct it, pick out the costumes. All these decisions – about the lightsaber, that it’s unfinished and unpolished – none of those were mine. I know enough about this job not to take credit. That would be an illusion.”

Driver also explains how he became an actor.  He reveals, “They auditioned for Oklahoma!, so I did. And I got a part in the chorus. I remember being backstage and it seemed like a community that was a bunch of weirdos, and I liked that part of it. I also felt that I was kind of OK at it. I tend to get frustrated with things that I don’t pick up right away.”

After a brief stint in the Marines, Driver thought becoming an actor would be easy based on what he had gone through as a soldier. He says, “In the military, you are put in hard circumstances, so I’m thinking, I’ll move to New York and be an actor, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just live in Central Park. You know, compared with the military, it can’t be that difficult. I’ll dumpster dive. I’ll survive. Civilian problems compared with the military are small; that was my thinking at the time. That’s not right. But at the time, that’s what I thought”

That may explain Driver’s acting process – just learn your lines. He explains, “I never figure anything out. I do my job. That’s my goal, to be as economical as possible. Basically, the only thing I try to do is know my lines… Usually, the mood of the set is what I adapt to, as opposed to having a set way of working and imposing it on everybody else. If you need private time, usually people give you space for that. But getting set into one way of doing something seems like closing yourself off from being wrong … interesting things can come out of being wrong.”

Moreover, Driver avoids watching movies he has appeared in. He says, “I keep replaying scenes in my mind. That’s why I don’t like to watch anything I’m in – it’s not my responsibility. It’s not about me.”


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