Actor Adam Driver is currently most well known for playing “Adam” on HBO’s “Girls” — but with a new villainous role in “Star Wars: Episode VII” and five other projects in the works, this 30-year-old is about to be the next big thing.
But Driver’s success didn’t happen overnight. In fact, the actor first had a completely different career path as a marine. He discusses what prompted him to join the Marine Corps in the upcoming September issue of GQ:
“On September 11, 2001, Driver was almost 18 years old, living in an apartment in the back of his parents’ home and “not doing f—— anything,” he says. In the swell of patriotism that followed the terrorist attacks, he decided to enlist in the armed forces. “It just seemed like a badass thing to do,” he says, “to go and shoot machine guns and serve your country. Coupled with: ‘There’s nothing for me here, there’s nothing that’s keeping me here, there’s nothing that’s stopping me from going.'” He was shipped off to Camp Pendleton in California.”
Driver loved everything about the experience, even basic training, telling the mag: “You see what your body can do and how discipline is effective … It’s hard to describe. You’re put in these very heightened circumstances, and you learn a lot about who people are at the core, I think. You end up having this very intimate relationship where you would, like, die for these people.”
But after two years in the program, Driver broke his sternum mountain biking and never saw real war.
The early dismissal, he says, still “f—–‘ kills me,” he says. “To not get to go with that group of people I had been training with was … painful.”
After being forced to move home to Indiana, Driver decided to apply his military-like mindset to a new craft — acting.
He applied to Juilliard and was working as a security guard at a warehouse when he heard he’d been accepted.
“The Marine Corps is supposed to be the toughest and most rigorous of its class,” Driver says, comparing it to Juilliard. “Obviously the stakes are different. You have the risk of getting shot or killed in one and just embarrassed in the other. I thought, ‘This will be easy.'”
To make his Juilliard experience even more difficult, Driver created a workout and study plan to accompany his schooling.
“I wanted to make it extreme,” he says, telling GQ of his regimen:
To stay fit, he’d run from his apartment in Queens to the school’s Manhattan campus. He’d often start his day with six eggs and later prepare and consume an entire chicken. Nights he spent binge-watching classic movies or at the library reading plays. Since he’d been a lousy student and grew up sheltered from a lot of secular art and music, “I felt like I was behind,” he says.
Driver says his old military pals started to jokingly give him a hard time.
“I was trying to explain to them what I was doing at Juilliard. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, we wear pajamas, and we talk about our inner colours, and there was this exercise where we all gave birth to ourselves…’ And they’re like, ‘What the f— are you doing?‘”
To help Driver mesh his two worlds, he founded Arts in the Armed Forces — an organisation that deploys actors to perform at military bases.
“I felt like the military could handle something a little more thought-provoking” than the usual cheerleaders they send in as entertainment, Driver explains.
“When I think of my military experience, I don’t think of the drills and discipline and pain,” adds Driver. “I think of these, like, really intimate, human moments of people wanting to go AWOL because they missed their wives, or someone’s dead and they can’t deal with it. And that’s what I wanted to show.”
Read Adam Driver’s full GQ interview here >
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