Adam Driver covers the December/January issue of Esquire magazine photographed by Norman Jean Roy.
On acting in Star Wars: “The thing with Star Wars is that they’re like, ‘Trust us, there is space behind you.’ Or ‘Trust us, your lightsaber will work.’ So a part of the impulse in wanting to see it is because there is so much visual shit going on that I didn’t know what was happening. You know what’s happening in While We’re Young, you know? I did it. We’re in a bike shop. With Star Wars, it’s like, ‘This is…where you meet Snoke.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, it’s kind of like a cave. I get it.’ Or, ‘Oh, that looks like Andy Serkis. I can’t tell.’”
On not watching his own performances: “I can’t just watch it objectively. I always hate it and then come back to, like, ‘Okay, that’s fine, it’s not about me. It’s the story.’ I can’t watch it once. I have to watch it five times, you know? The movie is over. It’s on film, so it’s permanent. But if I think about it more, it’s just an obsessive loop I keep playing in my mind that I can’t get caught up in because it’s totally self-destructive and not helpful moving forward. Because that’s happened to me before. I see myself, and then the next thing I’m thinking about is Fucking hell, my face is long or Why am I doing that thing!”
His only movie he has ever watched: “The Force Awakens is the only movie I’ve sat with an audience and watched.” Once, at J. J. Abrams’s offices, he saw it with Carrie Fisher and her dog, Gary, and Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey—and two more times, in London and L. A., with premiere audiences. In L. A., he was with [his wife, Joanne] Tucker and some family members. “Joanne hadn’t seen it. I didn’t tell her anything about it. I didn’t tell her I kill Han Solo.” Guests of Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Maz Kanata, were sitting behind him and Tucker. “Credits started, the whole scroll at the beginning, and they start screaming, ‘Oh my God! It’s happening.’ And I flash-forward to where I killed Han, and I got really sick, and went really cold, waiting for when it was over.”
On whether he’ll watch the new Star Wars: “Undecided.”
On working on set: “…Nothing on a film set, other than the other actors, is designed to make it easy for you. There’s time in between takes, or somebody who just had lunch who’s operating a boom who’s getting sleepy, or people are burping or farting, or rain comes in, or the other actor is drunk, doesn’t know his lines, is not available. Everything is designed not to help you, so how do you pretend? How do you take it all in if it’s your ambition to make it the best you can, and to go as deep as you can? It maybe has to cost something.”
What surprised him about being an actor: “I didn’t realize how 90 percent of the job was going to be talking about the thing—while you’re doing it, before you’re doing it, after you’re doing it—and interpreting it. And 10 percent is actually making the thing itself.”
[Photo Credit: Norman Jean Roy/Esquire Magazine]