Adam Driver

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Adam Driver
Adam Driver attending the Japan premiere of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' in 2017
Driver in 2017
Born
Adam Douglas Driver

(1983-11-19) November 19, 1983 (age 38)
EducationUniversity of Indianapolis
Juilliard School (BFA)
OccupationActor
Years active2009–present
Spouse(s)
Joanne Tucker
(m. 2013)
Children1
AwardsFull list
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service2002–2004
RankUSMC-E3.svg Lance Corporal

Adam Douglas Driver (born November 19, 1983) is an American actor. He is the recipient of various accolades, including the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actor, in addition to nominations for a Tony Award, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and four Primetime Emmy Awards.

Driver made his Broadway debut in Mrs. Warren's Profession (2010) and subsequently appeared in Man and Boy (2011). He rose to prominence with a supporting role in the HBO comedy-drama series Girls (2012–2017), for which he received three consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations. Driver began his film career in supporting roles in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012), Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha (2012), and the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his lead role in the drama Hungry Hearts (2014) and starred as a poet in Jim Jarmusch's Paterson (2016).

Driver gained wider recognition for playing Ben Solo / Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy (2015–2019). In 2019, he returned to theater with Burn This, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. He garnered consecutive Academy Awards nominations; Best Supporting Actor for Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman (2018), and Best Actor for Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story (2019).[1]

Driver is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.[2][3] He is the founder of Arts in the Armed Forces, a non-profit that provides free arts programming to American active-duty service members, veterans, military support staff, and their families worldwide.[4]

Early life[edit]

Driver as a U.S. Marine in 2002

Driver was born on November 19, 1983,[5] in San Diego, California,[6] the son of Nancy Wright (née Needham), a paralegal, and Joe Douglas Driver.[7][8] He has Dutch, English, German, Irish and Scottish ancestry.[9][better source needed] His father's family is from Arkansas and his mother's family is from Indiana. His stepfather, Rodney G. Wright, is a minister at a Baptist church.[10][11] When Driver was seven years old, he moved with his older sister and mother to his mother's hometown Mishawaka, Indiana, where he graduated from Mishawaka High School in 2001.[12][13] Driver was raised Baptist, and sang in the choir at church.[14]

Driver has described his teenage self as a "misfit"; he told M Magazine that he climbed radio towers, set objects on fire, and co-founded a fight club with friends, inspired by the 1999 film Fight Club.[15] After high school, he worked as a door-to-door salesman selling Kirby vacuum cleaners and as a telemarketer for a basement waterproofing company and Ben Franklin Construction.[16] He applied to the Juilliard School for drama but was not accepted.[17]

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Driver enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[5] He was assigned to Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines as an 81mm mortar man.[18] He served for two years and eight months before fracturing his sternum while mountain biking, right before his unit was shipped to Iraq.[19] He was medically discharged with the rank of Lance Corporal.

Subsequently, Driver attended the University of Indianapolis for a year before auditioning again for Juilliard, this time succeeding. He got the news he was accepted while at work at the Target Distribution Center in Indianapolis. Driver has said that his classmates saw him as an intimidating and volatile figure, and he struggled to fit into a lifestyle so different from the Marines.[15] He was a member of the Drama Division's Group 38 (2005–2009), where he met his future wife, Joanne Tucker. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009.[20]

Career[edit]

2009–2014: Early work and Girls[edit]

After graduating from Juilliard, Driver began his acting career in New York City, appearing in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Like many aspiring actors, he occasionally worked as a busboy and waiter.[21] Driver appeared in several television shows and short films. His first television role was in 2009 in the final episode of The Unusuals, as a repentant witness and reluctant accomplice to an unsolved assault. He made his film debut for Clint Eastwood's biographical drama film J. Edgar.

In 2012, Driver was cast in the HBO comedy-drama series Girls, as the emotionally unstable Adam Sackler, the boyfriend of Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham). He received three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role.[22] The same year, Driver played supporting roles in two critically acclaimed films, as telegraph and cipher officer Samuel Beckwith in Steven Spielberg's historical drama Lincoln, and Lev Shapiro in Noah Baumbach's comedy-drama Frances Ha.[23] He starred in the drama Not Waving But Drowning and the romantic-comedy Gayby. He garnered major off-Broadway recognition for playing Cliff, a working-class Welsh houseguest in Look Back in Anger, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.[24]

In 2013, Driver appeared in the drama Bluebird and the romantic-comedy What If. He played a musician in the Coen Brothers' black comedy Inside Llewyn Davis, and photographer Rick Smolan in the drama Tracks. In 2014, he played Jude, a despairing father, in the drama Hungry Hearts; Jamie, an aspiring filmmaker, in Noah Baumbach's comedy While We're Young; and Phillip, the black sheep of a dysfunctional Jewish family, in the comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You. For his performance in Hungry Hearts, Driver won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.[25] For Vogue's September 2013 issue, Driver appeared in an editorial alongside Canadian model Daria Werbowy set in Ireland, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.[26]

2015–present: Worldwide recognition[edit]

In early 2014, Driver was cast as villain Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).[27][28] It was released on December 18, 2015, to commercial and critical success.[29] He reprised the role in The Last Jedi (2017)[30] and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).[31] His performance was positively received, with his character lauded as the best in the series: David Edelstein of Vulture wrote, "the core of The Last Jedi — of this whole trilogy, it seems — is Driver's Kylo Ren, who ranks with cinema's most fascinating human monsters."[32] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian highlighted Driver's performance in his review of The Force Awakens, calling him "gorgeously cruel, spiteful and capricious... very suited to Kylo Ren's fastidious and amused contempt for his enemies' weakness and compassion."[33]

Driver attending the premiere of Paterson at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

In 2016, Driver played a supporting role in Jeff Nichols' sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, which was released on March 18, 2016.[34][35] He also co-starred in Martin Scorsese's historical drama Silence (2016) as Father Francisco Garupe, a 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit priest, alongside Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson.[36] While filming, Driver lost almost 50 pounds.[37] In Jim Jarmusch's drama film Paterson, Driver played the eponymous bus driver and poetry writer.[38] The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was released on December 28, 2016.[39][40] Driver's performance was acclaimed[41][42] and he received multiple nominations for Best Actor from critics' associations, winning several, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor.[43] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "Driver's indelibly moving portrayal is so lived-in and lyrical you hardly recognize it as acting."[44] Paterson was included in many critics' top ten lists of best films of 2016.[45]

In 2017, Driver made a cameo in Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories playing Randy and making his third appearance in one of their films. It premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was released on October 13, 2017, on Netflix.[46] He played Clyde, a one-armed Iraq War veteran, in Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, which was released on August 18, 2017.[47] In 2018, Driver portrayed a Jewish police detective, Phillip "Flip" Zimmerman, who helps infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in Spike Lee's comedy-drama BlacKkKlansman. The film premiered at Cannes Film Festival and was theatrically released on August 10.[48] He received critical acclaim for his performance in the film and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Driver played Toby Grummett in Terry Gilliam's adventure-comedy film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which premiered at Cannes.[49]

In early 2019, Driver played Daniel J. Jones in Scott Z. Burns' political drama The Report, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. He returned to Broadway to play Pale against Keri Russell in a Michael Mayer-directed production of Lanford Wilson's Burn This, receiving acclaim for his explosive performance and a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.[50] He was part of the ensemble cast of Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy film The Dead Don't Die, which was released on June 14, 2019. That same year, Driver starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.[51][52] Reviewing the film in The Hollywood Reporter, critic Jon Frosch noted that Driver "delivers a brilliantly inhabited and shaded portrait" of a man undergoing a divorce.[53] For his performance, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[54]

In 2020, Driver became the subject of a running gag on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in which Oliver expressed several strange masochistic fantasies about Driver, referencing his muscular build and masculine appearance. Driver eventually appeared on the final episode of the season and "demanded an apology".[55]

In 2021, Driver starred in Leos Carax's long-awaited musical drama film Annette, which premiered at the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival.[56][57][58]

Upcoming projects[edit]

Driver stars in Ridley Scott's historical drama The Last Duel, as well as in the biopic crime film House of Gucci, which will cover the assassination of Maurizio Gucci, also directed by Scott.[59] He will star in White Noise, which marks his fifth collaboration with Baumbach, and is also set to star in 65, a sci-fi thriller directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, and in Jeff Nichols' historical drama Yankee Commandante.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Driver married his longtime partner Joanne Tucker in June 2013.[60] The couple have a son, whose birth they kept private from the press for two years.[61] They live in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City with their son and dog.[62] Driver is the founder of Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), a non-profit that performs theatre for all branches of the military in the United States and abroad.[63][64]

Driver has said on multiple occasions that he does not like to watch or listen to his own performances. During a radio interview with NPR's Fresh Air, he chose not to continue with the interview after the host played a clip from Marriage Story. The executive producer of the radio show later claimed that Driver was warned to take off his headphones before the clip played, and that the show did something similar with Driver during a 2015 interview. During the same interview, Driver stated he disliked watching or listening to his acting work.[65] Driver says his usual technique is to leave the theatre and, "then I go back, and when the lights come up, I stand up I pretend that I was there the whole time."[66]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Key
Denotes productions that have not yet been released Denotes productions that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Director Notes
2010 You Don't Know Jack Glen Stetson Barry Levinson Television film
2011 J. Edgar Walter Lyle Clint Eastwood
2012 Gayby Neil Jonathan Lisecki
Not Waving But Drowning Adam Devyn Waitt
Frances Ha Lev Shapiro Noah Baumbach
Lincoln Samuel Beckwith Steven Spielberg
2013 Bluebird Walter Lance Edmands
Inside Llewyn Davis Al Cody Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Tracks Rick Smolan John Curran
The F Word Allan Michael Dowse
2014 Hungry Hearts Jude Saverio Costanzo
While We're Young Jamie Massey Noah Baumbach
This Is Where I Leave You Phillip Altman Shawn Levy
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Kylo Ren J. J. Abrams
2016 Midnight Special Paul Sevier Jeff Nichols
Paterson Paterson Jim Jarmusch
Silence Father Francisco Garupe Martin Scorsese
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories Randy Noah Baumbach
Logan Lucky Clyde Logan Steven Soderbergh
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Kylo Ren Rian Johnson
2018 BlacKkKlansman Det. Philip "Flip" Zimmerman Spike Lee
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Toby Grummett Terry Gilliam
2019 The Report Daniel Jones Scott Z. Burns
The Dead Don't Die Officer Ronald Peterson Jim Jarmusch
Marriage Story Charlie Barber Noah Baumbach
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Kylo Ren / Ben Solo J. J. Abrams
2021 Annette Henry McHenry Leos Carax Also producer
The Last Duel Jacques Le Gris Ridley Scott
House of Gucci Maurizio Gucci
2022 65 dagger TBA Scott Beck
Bryan Woods
Post-production
White Noise dagger Prof. Jack Gladney Noah Baumbach Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 The Unusuals Will Slansky Episode: "The E.I.D."
2010 The Wonderful Maladys Zed Unaired Pilot
Law & Order Robby Vickery Episode: "Brilliant Disguise"
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jason Roberts Episode: "Theatre Tricks"
2012–2017 Girls Adam Sackler 49 episodes
2015 The Simpsons Adam Sackler (voice) Episode: "Every Man's Dream"
2016–2020 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
2017 Bob's Burgers Art the Artist (voice) Episode: "The Bleakening"
2018 Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People Narrator (voice) Documentary
2020 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Himself Episode: "Trump & Election Results"

Stage[edit]

Year Title Role Venue Production type
2009 Slipping Chris Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Off-Broadway
The Retributionists Dov Kaplinsky Playwrights Horizons
2010 Little Doc Ric Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
The Forest Bulanov East 13th Street Theatre
Mrs. Warren's Profession Frank Gardner American Airlines Theatre Broadway
2010–2011 Angels in America Louis Ironson Peter Norton Space Off-Broadway
2011 Man and Boy Basil Anthony American Airlines Theatre Broadway
2012 Look Back in Anger Cliff Lewis Laura Pels Theatre Off-Broadway
2019 Burn This Pale Hudson Theatre Broadway

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Kylo Ren
2016 Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Theme park attractions[edit]

Year Title Role Venue
2019 Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Kylo Ren Disney's Hollywood Studios
2020 Disneyland

Awards and nominations[edit]

For his work on television Driver has received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. He received three nominations for his performance in Girls from 2013, 2014, and 2015, in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category. In 2020, he also received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his guest hosting role on Saturday Night Live. For his work in film, he has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, for his performances in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman (2018), and Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story (2019). He also received British Academy Film Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) nominations for those films as well. He also received a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture as a part of the ensemble of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. In 2019, for his work in theater he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Burn This at the 73rd Tony Awards.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]