Adam Driver discusses playing Kylo Ren in final ‘Star Wars’ release
Adam Driver plays Kylo Ren in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,’ which will be in theaters Dec. 20.
December 14, 2019 - 9:07 am
Warning: This is NOT a “Star Wars” plot spoiler.
Adam Driver, who brings the darkness to new film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” actually revealed his softer side on the highly secretive set.
“Turns out that there are Chewbacca hug breaks, and I don’t really like to hug. But you can’t stop it. It’s Chewbacca,” said the actor best known for playing the evil Kylo Ren, bad seed son of Han Solo and Princess Leia.
“You get surprisingly emotional when you see someone that iconic, huge and furry,” Driver said. You get a little misty, too, when you wrap the last in this series of films opening on Dec. 20 with previews on Dec. 19.
You even can pause to remember the good old days before you killed your screen pop, Han Solo.
“I’m remembering what Harrison Ford said to me on the set of ‘The Force Awakens,’ ” Driver said. “One day, we were fighting to the death and he smiled and said, ‘Look at what we get to do for a living.’ ”
Driver — a San Diego native and son of a preacher — wasn’t always so lucky. Before his turn as the worst boyfriend possible on HBO’s “Girls,” he sold vacuums, mowed lawns and lived in a back room of his parents’ house.
Eventually he high-tailed it to Los Angeles, where he’s garnering Oscar buzz for his role as a husband whose marriage is on the rocks in “Marriage Story,” now on Netflix, and co-starring Scarlett Johansson. Driver also portrays an investigator of CIA interrogation techniques in “The Report,” which came out to rave reviews in November.
Review-Journal: What is a typical Sunday?
Adam Driver: If I’m in New York, I’ll go for walks, work out, maybe take in a movie. I like to make eggs. But this is if I have some down time, which I haven’t had in a long time. I do plan on taking a little time. Maybe look up at a tree.
Who is the baddest of them all? The OG, Darth Vader, or new breed, Kylo Ren?
One is a lot more realized. Kylo is definitely fun. He likes his work. But Darth is the icon. Kylo looks at Darth’s wrong decisions and he admires them in an odd way.
What have you learned from your “Star Wars” experience?
I learned how you shouldn’t always figure out what your experience is going to be. You should just experience it. And everyone experiences everything differently. It’s almost more generous to give someone space, so they could make something this special more personal to them. Not that anyone said to me, “It will be like this for you to join the ‘Star Wars’ cast.” I had to get there myself.
Do you remember your first day as Kylo?
It was so powerful to be on the set and see this world in action. I think everyone was equally terrified to figure out what we were doing.
Describe working with the late Carrie Fisher?
She was so kind and generous with me. She really put me at ease, and that’s something I will never forget.
Now that “Star Wars” is ending, what will you take with you?
The exciting part for me will be watching the movie in a dark room with total strangers. No one lives in a theater. Everyone has outside lives. But, hopefully, when a group of people who love something so much come together, there is a collective intelligence that happens in that room for those hours. What’s rewarding about it for me is you realize that you’re all having a different experience and the same experience. Where you are in your life means a movie speaks to you in a different way than it will speak to anyone else.
Is it daunting to figure out where you fit into this iconic world?
For a long time, the new cast was trying to figure out where we would fit into a legacy that spans so much time. I fit somewhere in a story of The Force awakening from both sides … the light and the dark. That feels pretty special.
“Marriage Story” just debuted on Netflix. Tell us about it.
It’s just great writing with beautiful language where the stakes are incredibly high. It’s a love story about divorce. Movies are always about a lot of things. This one is about love transitioning. Charlie’s a theater director. Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) is an actor. A theme of theater runs through the story. It is this ritual performance of getting divorced. You’re performing for a judge. Human moments are documented and read back to you in this clinical performance. At the same time, there is this couple who is mourning the loss of this love. This love has always felt second nature and now it won’t be a reality anymore.
You sing Steven Sondheim’s “Being Alive” from “Company” in the film. Did you sing it live?
We recorded it first as a safety. But the idea was always that I would sing it live. As far as performing it, my character doesn’t know he will be teleported by the song. … He sings these words and it’s the first time he abstractly starts to mourn the loss. His marriage is going away and it hits him what he will be missing.
Do you take characters home with you?
I really don’t because I work all the time. I’m onto the next thing. When it’s done, it’s over.
Do you take props from films home with you?
I do have a whole “Star Wars” costume — two helmets and a lightsaber, but everyone knows. I asked.
What was your strangest encounter with a fan?
When I was on “Girls,” I’d walk around New York and women would yell, “You’re a real jerk.” Or worse. It was because of the character, and I’d just say, “Thank you.” I was doing my job.