To lighten Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver’s pensive in-character mood on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Finn actor John Boyega hugged him repeatedly.
Getting into character as Kylo Ren for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an all-consuming task for actor Adam Driver. Which is why getting hugs repeatedly from Finn actor John Boyega during shooting probably didn’t help Driver’s creative process. But it makes for a funny story afterward.
Both Boyega and Daisy Ridley (who plays Rey in the film) took it upon themselves to play the role of jokesters on The Last Jedi shoot. Boyega took on the toughest task of all, however, by trying to bring levity to Driver’s presence on set.
Boyega told Vanity Fair reporter David Kamp how he went about the problem:
"“I give Adam hugs randomly, just for no reason,” he said.“And does he take it?” I asked.“He just stands there,” Boyega said. “He just waits for me to be done.”"
Boyega was not the only person who noticed Driver’s pensive moods. Mark Hamill, who plays Kylo Ren’s uncle, Luke Skywalker in the movie, recalls his failed attempt to invite Driver to lunch:
"“He’s very moody and intense,” Mark Hamill said. “I remember saying to Adam, ‘I don’t know how you work, or your technique. But, at some point, you were my nephew. I probably bounced you on my knee. I probably babysat for you. There’s that side, and now we’re both estranged from the Skywalker family. All I’m suggesting is, if you’d like, maybe we could go to lunch, we could get together and hang out.’”"
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According to Hamill, Driver turned down the offer. Just as Kylo Ren probably would.
Driver has his reasons for tackling the grandson of Anakin Skywalker so seriously. He is the kind of actor who immerses himself in a role, to become that character. Driver told Vanity Fair that he finds “big personal things” about the characters he plays. With regard to Kylo Ren, he said:
"“The things about that character that I find painful, that I really relate to, I kind of prefer to keep to myself…”"
Kylo Ren is an enigmatic, moody person, so it makes sense Driver took on those traits during his portrayal of him. I wonder what he found so relatable about Kylo. He is obviously angry at his parents, or was at his father, Han Solo. That’s a situation a lot of people can relate to (though, thankfully, not many people murder their sires). Whatever happened to Kylo to make him turn to the dark side, I imagine it is quite a sad story, just like Anakin Skywalker’s fall. Even if I don’t relate to Kylo Ren, I may at least pity him thanks to Driver’s all-in performance in The Last Jedi.
I just hope Driver can slide back into real life and a more positive outlook off set as easily as he can slide out of it on set. Maybe Boyega’s random hugs ease the transition.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15, 2017.