For an actor, it probably feels pretty damn good to get a part, any part, but especially one in a big movie. If it’s a good, meaty role, or important to the story, that’s even better. But then there are those once in a lifetime roles, the pinnacle, the top of the top that, if you land one of those, it’s like a holy shit moment in your life. And for a lot of people, Star Wars epitomizes that. With new films on the way, it’s time for a generation of actors who have never lived in a world without Star Wars to join the franchise. One of those actors is Adam Driver, and he recently spoke about the experience.
Driver has built a solid resume in films like Frances Ha, the Coen Brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis, and even Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, but he is best known for his role on HBO’s Girls. If we’re being honest, he’s probably garnered more public attention for his part in the rumors leading up to being cast in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII than any of his actual work.
He recently sat down with EW to discuss the biggest role of his career to this point, and what is was like to be a part of something like this. He says:
Doing Star Wars now—that’s surreal. I feel like that even with this cast. You start by try[ing] to stamp [that feeling] down as much as possible, just focus on what it is that you are there to do… Easier said than done.
Having literally never lived in a world without Star Wars, Driver talks about what he loves about the franchise, and the universal appeal of the narrative:
The thing about Star Wars that’s so good—sure there’s this huge [canvas]. It’s space, it’s a long time ago in a galaxy far away. That’s set up immediately. But in the midst of all those things, what has made those movies last so long is that they’re all grounded, which is something that is not so far off from every movie with huge universal themes of siblings and parents and betrayal and trust. That’s so generic and obvious, but it’s hard to balance those things.
When you break all of those things down, really it’s just because someone wasn’t loved enough or felt betrayed. That’s what makes those movies so universal. I think they can get in your mind in big and sweeping ways.
Despite the epic scope of the films, Driver says it’s the quiet, more subdued pieces of the story that move him the most:
I always think back to the original movies and to those quieter moments where Luke is out in A New Hope, and there are the two suns setting, and it’s just such a quiet moment. It is the equivalent, basically, of a farm boy dying to get out of his small town and do something bigger. It’s those kinds of universal themes that ground this whole thing in space.
Everything surrounding Episode VII has been shrouded in secrecy, so you expect everyone involved to keep the specifics to themselves. Driver doesn’t reveal anything too detailed, but he does talk about the emotion involved in the new story and the camaraderie on the set:
How great is that to get to work on something that has so much humanity in the midst of it? I feel like that’s everyone’s goal, to balance those two. Again, surreal seems to be the word of this interview. It’s exciting to get that to be part of your life. Now you have to contribute something to it—and that’s not something you, personally, or anyone on set takes lightly. I feel like everybody wants to make it good.
Friendship, I feel, is something that maybe isn’t investigated as much—or maybe I’m not watching those movies. It was such a huge part of the original three. ‘I’m going to go save my friend.’ Everyone was going to go bail their friends out. ‘I can’t do this because my friends, everything is at stake because of my friends. I gotta go back. … Yoda, I gotta leave, whatever… I gotta leave.’ [Laughs]
There has been much speculation about Driver’s role in the film, and most of the scuttlebutt revolves around him playing one of the villains. We’ve heard that could be the Inquisitors, but we don’t know anything officially. Like everything about Star Wars: Episode VII, we likely won’t know for sure until it opens on December 18, 2015.