Adam Driver interview: ‘The military is the best acting training’

The accidental sex symbol talks about joining the US Marines, ‘Girls’ and his new film ‘Tracks’. But he’s keeping schtum about those ‘Star Wars’ rumours...

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I’ve been warned not to ask Adam Driver about rumours that he’s playing a Darth Vader-like baddie in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’. Which means one of two things. Either, a) the actor is broken-hearted about not getting cast. Or, b) he’s in the film, but has been sworn to secrecy. Our guess is that he’s furiously practising his master-of-all-evil face in his free time.

If that’s true, heaven knows how he’ll cope with the fame. Already the 30-year-old ex-Marine squirms talking about his success on ‘Girls’. ‘I don’t consider myself a celebrity. That would be kind of sad.’

In his new film, ‘Tracks’, Driver plays photographer Rick Smolan. Based on real events, it’s the story of 27-year-old Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 trekked across the Australian desert with just camels and her dog for company.

In ‘Tracks’ you wear tiny shorts to play photographer Rick Smolan. Did they make you wear them?
‘No! The director was nervous about whipping them out in the costume fitting. But I was like: “Where are the shorts?” In all the pictures I saw of Rick he was wearing those shorts. I kept them.’

Have you worn them since?

‘No. I wish I could pull shorts off. My wife tells me that I just can’t. But that’s okay. I’m tall, I can do other things, like change light bulbs.’

You were in the Marines for two years. Why did you enlist?
‘It was a couple of months after 9/11. Like a lot of people my age, I had a strong sense of patriotism. I wanted to be involved and wanted revenge. And I wasn’t doing anything. I’d graduated high school and was working a bunch of odd jobs. I loved it. I didn’t want to leave.’

You had to leave after a mountain biking injury and went to drama school in New York. Did the military prepare you for acting?
‘Oh totally. Being in the military was the best acting training. You’re in a team. Acting is the same, it’s not just about you.’

I’ve got to ask you about ‘Girls’. What makes Lena Dunham such a genius?
‘She’s a really great writer. She is in her twenties and writing about it now. I feel like I need years to process why the hell I did almost everything.’

I’ve been told I can’t ask you about ‘Star Wars’. But theoretically, would you be interested in playing a villain in a Hollywood mega-movie?
‘It depends’.

Am I going to get anything out of you about ‘Star Wars’?
‘No!’

Tracks’ opens in UK cinemas on Fri Apr 25

Watch the ‘Tracks’ trailer

Read ‘Tracks’ review

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘Tracks’ might be a bit slow for some, but it’s one of those films that quietly creeps up on you. As Robyn, Mia Wasikowska gives an unflashy, moving performance. Adam Driver gives another on-the-autism-spectrum-sweet performance as the photographer who shot Robyn for National Geographic.

See the full ‘Tracks’ review

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