“Self-expression is just as powerful a tool as having a rifle on your shoulder” – Adam Driver
Fans of HBO’s show, Girls, will have heard of Adam Driver long before Star Wars. You might also have seen him in Inside Llewyn Davies, opposite his Star Wars co-star, Oscar Isaac, but it’s his role as the newest villain in a galaxy far, far away that has really propelled him to the big time. As Kylo Ren in Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens, Driver gave a chilling performance as the masked and hooded successor to Darth Vader. His finest moment came when (SPOILER ALERT) he killed his father, Han Solo.
Driver is signed on for at least Episode VIII, which is currently filming, and it is thought he will also reprise his role for Episode VIIII too. However, Driver didn’t always have an ambition to become an actor. In fact, he didn’t have much ambition at all, really. In a recent TED talk, Driver gave a truly fascinating insight into how he ended up playing what will surely go become an iconic villain. At 17, devoid of ambition, Driver joined the Marine Corps. This was right after 9/11 and, he says, he was driven to join up by a desire to do something about the awful events that had taken place.
Driver says he loved being in the Marines, but an injury meant he was sidelined when the rest of his platoon went to Iraq, and he found himself having to return to civilian life, which is always a tough thing to do. Undeterred, Driver got accepted into Julliard for acting, and found that immersing himself in theater was a great way to work through his feelings.
“I felt myself becoming less aggressive as I was able to words to feelings for the first time, and realizing what a valuable tool that was,” he explains. He also goes on to talk about the founding of Arts in the Armed Forces, a non-profit organization which sends actors to perform for military audiences across the globe. “I can think of no better community to arm with a new means of self-expression that those protecting our country,” he says.
You can watch the full talk below, and it really is fascinating to listen to the very eloquent and very funny Driver explaining how he came to be where he is today.