With the combination of his talent and intriguing aura, it’s hard not to be a little fascinated by the force that is Adam Driver. Unsurprisingly, he has earned a reputation for his intensity, although he denies knowing where that came from. The actor rose to fame with his role on HBO’s Girls, and has since become a household name as the brooding Kylo Ren in the newest Star Wars trilogy. Here are 11 things you might not know about the Oscar-nominated actor.
1. Adam Driver joined the Marines after 9/11.
When Adam Driver was rejected by Juilliard the first time he applied, he attempted to make it as an actor on his own, but met with little success. It wasn’t until 9/11 that he knew what he had to do. “I was having an argument with my stepfather, and he was like, ‘Why don’t you join the Marine Corps?’ And I was like, ‘Noooo! Well, maybe, actually ...' I went and saw the recruiter, who was like, ‘Are you on the run from the cops? Because we’ve never had someone want to leave so fast,'" Driver told Rolling Stone.
His military experience only strengthened his determination to find success as an actor. “I was like, ‘I’m going to smoke cigarettes and be an actor when I get out.’ Those were my two thoughts,” he said. “I wanted to smoke cigarettes and be an actor.”
2. Adam Driver started his own Fight Club in school.
Driver, who has described his younger self as a misfit, revealed that he was inspired to start a fight club at school, after seeing David Fincher's 1999 adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel.
“They had a big grassy field behind f***in’ Celebrations Unlimited, an event space that people rent out to get married or whatever, and we would go out there in the middle of the night and beat the s**t out of our neighbors,” Driver told Rolling Stone.
3. Adam Driver moved to Hollywood as a teen ... but only lasted two days.
During the time period between being rejected from Juilliard and joining the Marines, Driver moved to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned: His car broke down in Texas, and by the time he got to California he was out of money and had to go back home after two days.
“It was really embarrassing, actually,” Driver said. “I had said goodbye to friends and family, like, ‘So long, guys! I’m out of this s**thole town, on to something!’ Literally, like, four days later I was moving back in with my fridge."
4. Adam Driver's second attempt at getting into Juilliard was more successful.
The second time Driver applied to Juilliard, he was accepted, and found much more than an educational foundation. It was while studying at Juilliard that he met his future wife, Joanne Tucker. They have been married since 2013.
5. Adam Driver's early approach to acting was rather intense.
Coming from the Marines, Driver was admittedly quite intense while attending Juilliard his first year. “I made people in my school cry because it was just the way I was used to talking to people,” he told WWD. “I felt like I wanted to do it! Really hard! Whatever it was! And I needed to calm down a little bit."
6. Adam Driver initially had no interest in auditioning for Girls.
The role that catapulted Driver to fame almost didn’t happen for him. The actor admitted he passed on auditioning for Girls at first, not wanting to be on TV. In an interview with Bustle, he admitted that his original thought was, "TV’s the devil, whatever, but then I read the thing. Lena [Dunham] is a very rare writer, very unpretentious. When things become precious or sentimental, that kills it for me.” He ended up playing the role of Adam Sackler for all six seasons of the critically acclaimed series.
For her part, Dunham admitted that she was just as impressed by Driver. In fact, she she said that she was totally “starstruck” by him, even though she had never seen him before. He walked in for a screen test holding a motorcycle helmet, which Dunham thought was “highly intriguing.” She got up from the casting table and read with him, and later revealed that, “All I could mutter was, ‘Wow, you have the same name as this character,’ like a total dingbat.”
7. Adam Driver is a talented musician.
Apart from being a great actor, Driver is also a talented singer. Growing up, both his father and stepfather were preachers, and he sang in the church choir. He got to show off his singing skills (somewhat) in Joel and Ethan Coens's Inside Llewyn Davis. He also plays the piano.
8. Adam Driver lost 50 pounds for his role in Martin Scorsese's Silence.
When Driver landed the lead role in Martin Scorsese's 2016 historical drama Silence, he understandably took the role seriously. He dropped 50 pounds to play a Jesuit priest—30 pounds before production, and 20 more while filming.
"You're so hungry and so tired at some points that there's nothing you can do—you're not adding anything on top of what you're doing," he told Interview on the experience. "You only have enough energy to convey what you're doing, so it's great." However, he was sure to add, “I don't think I've ever taken it to the extreme before."
9. Adam Driver started a nonprofit organization for soldiers.
Along with Tucker, Driver helps soldiers with Arts in the Armed Forces, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2008. Their mission is to bring “high-quality arts programming to active duty service members, veterans, military support staff, and their families around the world free of charge.” Based on his own experiences, Driver believes that theater communities can be a beneficial resource for soldiers and veterans who might have a tough time expressing what they’re going through transitioning back to normal life.
10. Adam Driver has a son, but managed to keep that hidden from the press for more than two years.
In late 2018, Page Six reported that Driver and Tucker had a two-year-old son they’d managed to keep out of the spotlight. Sources told the publication that family members had documented Tucker’s pregnancy on Instagram. Finally, in an October 2019 profile in The New Yorker, Driver confirmed the rumors—and likened the process of keeping their child a secret to a military operation. "My job is to be a spy—to be in public and live life and have experience," Driver explained of the lack of privacy given to actors in his position. "But, when you feel like you’re the focus, it’s really hard to do that."
11. Adam Driver refuses to watch his own movies.
Driver has admitted he has a hard time not being in control. Like many actors, he's uncomfortable watching himself on screen. Because of this, he stopped watching himself in roles after the pilot for Girls—though he did make an exception for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"Because we did so much work on it … It seemed like I should try getting over it,” Driver explained of his decision to watch The Force Awakens. “And it’s Star Wars. I literally can’t believe that I was in it."
Driver is currently making headlines as news just broke that he walked out of an interview with NPR's Terry Gross because he was so uncomfortable to hear a clip of him singing in his new movie, Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, being played.