Adam Driver in Interview: Character & Story First in Episode VII

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In an interview with Esquire, Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) talked about his life, his career, and being an actor. And, of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Well, sort of. At least as much as JJ Abrams’s mystery box allowed him to talk about what will undoubtedly be the biggest film of 2015.

Fortunately, when it comes to interviews with Star Wars stars, there’s almost always something intriguing to be found. This one was no different.

Image via starwarsunderworld.com

He did start with a few rote responses.

"He can’t say much about Star Wars. “If I tell you any of the story I’ll be shot,” he says. So instead, he offers clichés, like, “Everyone on set is so good at their job,” and, “It was an organic process.” And he knows how corny it sounds. He apologises along the way. Here’s another: “You get these moments where you realise – wow, you’re part of Star Wars, you can’t fuck up!”"

A fresher detail came later in a new description of what it was like to work with director JJ Abrams, a description which reminds us that Star Wars is being guided in the right direction (the direction George Lucas pioneered in the first six films).

"What he can reveal is the new Star Wars didn’t feel like a blockbuster as they were making it. The experience was not unlike an indie movie, just with bigger budgets. “With JJ, it’s all about character and story, not special effects,” he says. “And we still talk about character now. Whenever I’ve worked with great directors, it’s always that way. You’re constantly finding it. Things evolve and change even as you’re filming.”"

Star Wars has always been about character and story, even in, what some might consider the CG-heavy, prequel films. No matter how amazing a film’s special effects look, there can’t only be eye candy; there has to be something more substantial beneath it, especially in Star Wars. Because Star Wars is all about being “more substantial.” Its blasters and spaceships and cocky heroes are cool, to be sure, but it is a great and beloved series of films because it is grounded in complex themes and characters, their emotional sagas, and the underlying current of layers like multiple factions and the Force mythos.

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I am happy to read yet further proof that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is continuing in this tradition, and that talented and driven (no pun intended) directors like Abrams, and actors like Adam Driver, have worked hard to infuse the film with that special quality by the use of their own special qualities, their skills and vision.

Adam Driver is truly a remarkable person. He is in that rare position of being an actor who was once in the service. To be precise, he was a Marine and only left it because of an injury that made him “unfit” to serve, which in and of itself speaks of great courage and determination. He lives up to his last name by being driven in every aspect of his life, regardless of setbacks, especially in achieving his dream of being an actor. As a result, he has risen to distinction in every project he’s acted in, from Girls to While We’re Young, to the upcoming The Silence by The Wolf of Wall Street‘s director, Martin Scorsese.

Despite his success, Driver refuses to watch himself in a film. This may become problematic, however, as he continues to become the new face of Star Wars villainy with the advent of The Force Awakens.

The Esquire interviewer, Sanjiv Bhattacharya, addressed this dichotomy, and received a colorful answer.

"“Oh yeah,” he says. “I’m already going fucking nuts, looking at people out my window and throwing peanuts at them.”"

And though there’s a lot of pressure, Driver is all confidence… at least jokingly.

"“Yeah, I walked into JJ’s office, I kicked in the fucking door and I said, ‘I got this. Don’t worry. Go ahead and take a vacation!’”"

I think Driver may end up being one of my favorite Star Wars actors ever. How about you?

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