Riseofskywalker, Adam Driver, Girls, J.J. Abrams, Long Reads, Noah Baumbach, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Riseofskywalker, Adam Driver

Dark Star Rising

How Adam Driver’s angst and brooding intensity made the world fall in love with a ‘Star Wars’ supervillain

12/2/2019 3:02:00 PM

Adam Driver appears on our December cover as part of our RiseofSkywalker package. In the profile, he discusses the end of the saga, why he sympathizes with Kylo Ren and more

How Adam Driver ’s angst and brooding intensity made the world fall in love with a ‘Star Wars’ supervillain

The Rise of Skywalker, and a major Driver fan, says the actor’s between-scenes demeanor can “sometimes be off-putting . . . because he’s so in his own head that you don’t quite know how to talk to him. It’s all because he’s processing. It’s not just that he’s like, ‘Ah, I’m in a bad mood.’ He’s wrestling with the material.” As the story goes, while making the original

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Star Wars, Mark Hamill once fretted aloud that after Leia, Han, and Luke escaped the garbage compactor on the Death Star, their hair should have been wet and mussed in subsequent scenes. Harrison Ford smirked and told him, “This ain’t that kind of movie, kid.”

For Driver, every movie is that kind of movie.Adam Driver is Kylo Ren in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.Photo: Jonathan Olley /Lucasfilm Ltd.On the Tuesdayafter Labor Day, Driver is back in his home neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights after a weekend at the Telluride Film Festival, where Scorsese personally adorned him with a silver medallion for acting greatness. We meet near the waterfront, where Driver shows up with a brownish dog on a leash. “This is Moose,” he says, making a formal introduction. Moose is part Rottweiler, part mystery breed, part pit bull, and his owner is a fierce defender of pits. “They’re great dogs,” he says. “It’s just they have shitty owners. That’s why they’re bad.”

An entire literary subgenre could be built out of attempts to describe Driver’s physicality. Among the best is when acharacter said he looks like “an old-timey criminal”; the most unkind and inaccurate comes from Driver himself, who called his adolescent features “ratlike.” What was originally striking about him in his perpetually shirtless

Girlsdays remains so: a hyperbuff, perfected body, contrasted with a face that seems less finished, more mutable, almost a rough draft of a face, finalized only when he’s in character.Driver and I have spoken several times over the years, most recently in July, backstage at

Burn This. His mood that day was nearly giddy as he approached the end of an acclaimed Broadway run. Today, in a moment stolen between film festivals and a movie shoot in Brussels, both he and Moose are subdued. They plop down facing a vast view of the East River and Lower Manhattan, Driver on a bench, Moose watchfully on the ground (he’s apparently looking for white dogs, to which he has taken a dislike). Driver is wearing sunglasses, a crisp white pocket tee, and knee-length Dickies shorts with low-top Adidas; he’s noticeably lost weight since July, part of a transformation for his next part.

His packed schedule is getting to him; as his son gets older, it’s getting more painful to leave him and Joanne Tucker, Driver’s wife of six years. “I’m trying to not work a lot,” he says. “The stakes are different now. It really has to be worth it, because you have to be gone a lot.” Driver has “a problem with multitasking — I see one thing and obsess about that thing until it’s over.” That worked well for him until fatherhood, which he feels requires him to think harder about making time to “be a person.”

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Driver’s focus “can be helpful sometimes,” he says. “It’s also a hamster wheel of wasted energy.” He says the Telluride honor and Scorsese tribute left him feeling “joy,” but he can’t help sounding bummed out when he discusses it. “I mean, actually what I thought is, ‘Oh, well, now there’s something to live up to.’ ”

BothandMarriage Storyhave personal resonance for Driver. His parents divorced when he was seven years old, and his mom got remarried to a man who became a Baptist preacher, leaving him with complex feelings about his upbringing and father issues he tends to allude to more than address.

The Report, meanwhile, offers an eyebrow-raising intersection with Driver’s life story: He joined the Marines after 9/11, intending to fight in the very war that devolved into the torture-laden interrogations his character spends the movie investigating.

“When I joined the military, I was not thinking of politics at all,” he says. “I was swept up like many people of the age to actually do something. That enemy was faceless in my mind. I just knew that whoever attacked us, I wanted to attack them back. I came from a world that trusted government, and I put my faith in institutions. It wasn’t until later in life that I had perspective.”

He lost his military career in a near-fatal burst of misapplied energy. During training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, he and a friend missed physical training one morning, and their captain told them to go off and exercise on their own. Driver had bought himself a mountain bike, and promptly plunged down a steep cliff at high speed. “That’s just the way that Marines are off-hours,” he says. “Most injuries happen for Marines when they’re off base. You’re going to Oceanside and getting in fights or going to Tijuana, being chased by the militia. You’re getting drunk all the time and driving your car. Your job involves a lot of adrenaline, so you seek it in other ways.” He was having a great time on that cliff, until he hit a ditch and his handlebars slammed into his chest. The impact dislocated his sternum, which bounced off his pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart. He attempted to carry on in the wake of the injury, but ended up honorably discharged. He felt pretty guilty about it all, until he got a text not long ago from a Marine friend who told him he should stop worrying about it. “That was helpful to start letting it go,” Driver says.

After the Marines, he found his way to Juilliard, and eventually to an audition room for an HBO show calledGirls. The show’s co-creator, Lena Dunham, was enchanted by his total lack of fear. “I literally thought, ‘This guy does not give a shit,’” Dunham once told me. “It came from the fact that he’s an eccentric person who doesn’t follow any typical rules, and he’s not really interested in living life according to anybody else’s game plan.”

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Somewhere in there, though it doesn’t quite fit the narrative of monastic overachievement, Driver did have some species of fun. “I did do drugs,” he tells me, when I note how impressive his hilariously coked-up entrance inBurn Thiswas for someone who presumably had never done a drug in his life. “In my twenties. I don’t do them now! I’m too exhausted. That just sounds exhausting.”

In February, Driversat on an airplane headed home from London, looking so dazed and distressed that a flight attendant asked if he was OK. He said he was, but didn’t explain what was on his mind: He had just wrapped one of his final shoots for thisStar Wars

trilogy — and what he believed to be Kylo Ren’s finalRise of Skywalkerscene — and then sprinted for the airport. “Everybody else was asleep, and I didn’t even realize that I was just sitting there in a daze,” he says. “These movies have been a part of my life for six years. That’s a hard thing to wrap up — where they have taken me, and what I’ve learned in making them, that there’s an ending to these movies. How do you begin to process what that means?”

Plus, as usual, he was worrying whether he had done enough takes. “It was just the weight of it. You’re finally sitting, and you have six hours to think about your last shot. Did I get it right? Was this line right? Was that right? There’s lots of things to process.”

Driver told me in 2015 that entering theStar Warsuniverse was “not an easy yes. I took a while to think about it,” he said. “Just because people can remake something, or revisit a world, doesn’t necessarily mean they should. I’ve seen a lot of bigger-budget movies that sacrifice character and stories for spectacle, and I had no idea what it was going to look like or what the script was. But the first words out of J.J.’s mouth were about character and story. It was all really cool. And even then, you have doubts. Can I live up to that? I’m a fan of the movies. You don’t want to fuck it up, by any means. It seemed that because I was scared of it, maybe it was a good reason to do it.”

At the same time, he didn’t quite understand the level of fame to which he was about to ascend. He’s still grappling with all of it, and is trying to learn from his recent co-star and fellow tall dude Bill Murray’s comfort with his place in the world. “He doesn’t let the people’s perception of him get in the way of him living life,” says Driver, who’s unnerved by the idea that he’s always being watched in public. “He practices a way of being in the world that takes the celebrity out of it.”

Still, Driver doesn’t mind when kids in his building say, “Good morning, Kylo Ren.” And he’s taken home a full version of his costume, which he keeps in a box in his guest room. “I’ll wear it around the neighborhood if I’m really, really bored,” he jokes.

Driver always played Kylo Ren as younger than his actual age, and it’s the unformed aspect of the character that helps make him compelling. A confused, angry man-boy radicalized by powerful forces whispering in his ear, an heir to generational trauma raised in an era of endless war, is an all-too-believable threat. But when you get glimpses of him as pre-Dark Side Ben Solo, the character is also unexpectedly sympathetic, even as he’s nearly weeping in frustration as he commands an entire army to train their lasers on Luke Skywalker.

“There’s something in having an antagonist who is a little more vulnerable,” says Driver. “That seems to be more relatable and human than just someone who is a psychopath.”Some of Driver’s best moments as Kylo come in silence, when we get to watch the pain in his eyes (and in general, Driver loves scenes where he gets to listen without saying a word). “So much plays on his face,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who first suggested Driver for the role after working with him on his tiny part (as a telegraph operator) in

Lincoln, in her prior capacity as Steven Spielberg’s longtime producer. “There’s a real complexity to Kylo Ren, and you get a sense there’s real psychological damage in what he’s gone through.” Driver is so protective of the character and his trials that he takes time in a follow-up phone call to register his objection to my assessment of him as “petulant.”

There is a dark allure to Kylo Ren as well, albeit a slightly different brand of it than Darth Vader’s. “It’s the hero part I want in movies like that,” says Baumbach. “Even though he’s in some ways the villain. He was pretty heroic in that red room.” He’s referring to the scene in 2017’s

The Last Jediwhere Kylo briefly teams with Daisy Ridley’s fledgling Jedi Rey to defeat eight foes at once. “It’s not so much the character,” Baumbach adds, “as the performance and the presence.”Carlos Serrao for Rolling StoneThere is an undeniable onscreen chemistry between Driver and Ridley, and the films have been teasing a connection, maybe even a romantic one, between their characters. And fans, being fans, have responded by going wild over the whole thing, with a passionate group of so-called Reylos advocating for the relationship. A common objection, which I pose to Driver, is that Kylo has done horrible things (murdered most of his Jedi-training classmates, killed his dad, almost blasted his mom, had stormtroopers murder innocent villagers, walked around shirtless in high-waisted pants). “I mean, of course I’m sympathetic to him and I understand,” Driver says. “But I can see on the outside, if I analyzed it, which I don’t, that someone who’s killed his class doesn’t really seem to be good boyfriend material.” To be fair, the Reylos acknowledge that Kylo must experience redemption — Bendemption, naturally — before love can flourish.

And maybe it’s not redemption, per se, but Kylo Ren is headed somewhere, always has been — Driver says he and Abrams early on discussed an arc for the character that will, at least in part, come to fruition inRise of Skywalker. “He’s almost like a spoiled rich kid who has to evolve into something,” says Driver. “He’s following his path of finding who he is. You might have had to metaphorically, or in this case literally, kill your father to find out who you are. To be your own person, at a certain point you have to claim it.” He offers a half-smile. “But then again, we never really figure out who we are.”

Read more: Rolling Stone »

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Stargazer11161 You almost got it. Yeap but he is not a 'supervillain', watch the movie bensolo bensolodeservedbetter BenSoloDeservesBetter Sad that he didn’t have lines for over half the movie. BenSoloDeservedBetter jedihbic Hes not... a supervillain lmao Not villain = protagonist Nope nope nope nope it didnt happen

Ben Solo / Kylo Ren has, by far, the best arc story in this trilogy. His rise as a Jedi trainee, his fall to the darkside as a Sith trainee (murdering his father, attempting to murder his mother, participating in genocide), his redemption and his ultimate sacrifice. How can you call Kylo Ren/Ben Solo as a 'super villain'?!Do you really don't inderstand the narrative arc of the charcacter from darkness to light along 3 movies!He was never meant to be a Palpatine or a Darth Vader(who was a sort of Bogeyman for about 3/4 of the first trilogy).

*Adam on line one to tell you he's not a supervillain.* adam said himself kylo wasnt a villain He’s the only reason I got invested in the sequel trilogy in the first place. BenSoloDeservedBetter BenSoloDeservesBetter BenSoloIsUs BenSolo Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is the best acted character in the entire saga. periodt.

Have you never heard of “anti-hero” or “byronic hero”? He’s not the villain. Palpatine is the villain. It’s different. I don't like his big long horse face and his persistent haircut. Also Star Wars sucks a lot now He's the best thing that's ever happened to this saga. BenSoloDeservedBetter BenSoloDeservesBetter BenSoloIsUs BenSolo

First of all he isn't a super villain. He was more like an antagonist in the first two movies and a an anti hero in the last movie. And yes, Adam Driver is that powerful. SO true ❤️🙌🏻 starwars Those 5 minutes of Ben Solo TheRiseOfSkywalker gave us was some of the best moments of the entire trilogy. I thought all hope isn’t lost for Star Wars. This is who I want to see more of. Not Rey or Finn or Poe. What squandered potential by killing him off.

He’s more of an anti-hero than a supervillain, but sure he’s the best character of the ST and they were lucky to have the best actor under 40 on the market. And Lucasfilm managed to squander it. Well, he doesn’t really need them. TheRiseOfSkywalker wasted him beyond belief. It’s so depressing 😔 Adam was the greatest actor to ever work in Star Wars

He’s the best actor and character in the entire saga. Between the movies and the tie-in materials, this man has had the most utterly tragic life I've ever seen in a story. How utterly bleak that he was then never allowed to live after his decisive turn towards the light. 💔💔💔 JYAiLing Best character of the new trilogy BenSoloDeservedBetter

Hes the best thing about this trilogy giaciak2 The best character in this trilogy, they fucked up by giving him that ending... Adam Driver is such a talented actor!! The whole cast is so talented!!! crerrity BenSoloLives ♥️ YOU ARE WELCOME Adam Driver is a fine actor. The character is more intriguing than interesting. Kylo/Ben would have been more interesting if he had been written better. The lack of introspection written into the character is just poor screenwriting.

giaciak2 goldvsaint And we do love him. So so much. Like it actually hurts 😢 His characterization of BenSolo in the 5 minutes at the end of the film was some of the best acting ever seen in a Star Wars movie. And he didn't even have any lines. giaciak2 best character of this trilogy BenSolo BenSoloDeservedBetter

Cause he sexy as hell thats why kyberroses How about an article about how chickenshit Disney killed off their most popular character? BenSolo deserved such much better giaciak2 I think it’s degrading to Palpatine to call him the supervillain 😂 he was so conflicted all the time BenSoloDeservedBetter periodt one of the best characters

Terrible casting for the part, not a believable villan.... virgorens Supervillain? Wut? Yes it did 🥺😭♥️ BenSoloDeservedBetter BenSoloDeservesBetter bensolo BenSoloLives BenSoloIsUs I am very sure you are being paid to write this. Anyone who has two eyes and loves true Star Wars movies knows that these three movies were only a joke and should be apoloziged for. Poor George Lucas had to watch this crap...

I don’t get the intrigue Reylo4Life Adam Driver’s Ben Solo is a Hero and a Legend and he deserves to have the happy life that was stolen from him.😞 briartrash Yes he did but Disney did Ben Solo so dirty in TROS. Adam and his character deserved way better. Way to waste an Oscar nominated actor. Hollywood need to cast Adam in more Byronic style roles. He was made to play handsome, gentle and brooding romantic heroes.

Except he wasn’t the super villain. The best character/actor of the sequel trilogy. There could have been so much story potential post-TROS but JJ said no. how Disney turned star wars into cheap trash show made the world hate ep 7-9 The Emo ,not sith, awful sword fighter?... Really ? Ugh I wept when I saw this film. And the final moment between two of them 🖤

KananRebels And now he has Reylo cultists stalking and threatening his wife. I’ve just seen it. I had no idea where it would take us, and I loved every minute of it. The whole picture as perfect. Great acting, great story, great visuals. StarWarsTheRiseofSkywalker an incredible actor! BenSoloDeservedBetter BenSoloDeservedBetter

Man has incredible presence. He's very much what Anakin Skywalker should have been. BenSoloDeservedBetter TinyLilCloud Someone replace the helmet with a basketball tonyvodkaa Awesome iutoda i- Least favorite villain fo sho I’m wet 😰😰😰 he can force choke me this is porn bertisagirl Ehhhh such an amazing actor

I simply hate the whole kylo ren thing. Outfit character weakness helmet name !! 🤢🤢🤮 The Force is testing us. This is porn, indeed 😉 Because the man is awesome. Ahora que no me oye nadie, a mi es que este hombre me pone muchísimo. To be fair, SW fans would do this to anyone. FameGame Hotness again!🔥🔥🔥

Let's not forget Adams sense of dry humor and wit. Hmmm No. I hate Kylo Ren. He killed Han Solo. He is beyond redemption and i hope Rey kills him (but i know it wont happen). My fave part: His frequent collaborator Baumbach says Driver “brings added majesty” to his lines A aracnephobia le gusta esto. Goddamnit I would KILL to style/design one of his shoots!! 😭😎

🔥🔥🔥🔥 AdamDriver BenSolo kyloren StarWars TheRiseOfSkywalker Hot take he's just if Vader was an internet incel his power His grandfather way better than him. Drop the HD. I beg. Me at this adam photoshoot: I've long fallen in love with him waaay before Star Wars when he played Adam on HBO's GIRLS

Eww no How much does Disney pay for this sort of thing y u do this to me the dark side . . . and the light He is like having a conversation with the mask, the Self, the Facade he can't killed it if he has to, to be who he meant to be. Hating it, loving it... Adam romancing 'Kylo'. I look at Kylo (esp. Force Awakens Kylo) and see Joffrey Baratheon. Like, it wouldn’t take much before he’s beating on you with a hot iron poker... or a lightsaber. Am I alone in that?

cyber_tits Dark Star Rising! adamdriver How Adam Driver’s angst and brooding intensity made the world fall in love with a ‘Star Wars’ supervillain HazelMonforton I mean Adam Driver kills in this role but every time I see that helmet I cant help but wonder if he moonlights as a backup member of Daft Punk.

I love him so much jjabrams he'd better make it out of this movie!! kylo ren is a mass-murdering, emotionally- & physically-abusive, manipulative fuckwit who actively fights against being good & deserves no redemption arc or adoration ugh. What else has he done ? Cant say ive heard of him .... D a d d y 🤧

I WASNT READY This is the best phew sleemo_ Who allowed him to reck my life like this Who allowed him to look this darn good OMG we have no choice but to Stan I straight up laughed,loudly, in the theater when he took that helmet off for the first time. The freakish boy toy from “Girls” trying to fill the gap left by Vader. Right.

Or maybe he's just a good actor. CoffeeWthKenobi Pretty sure it was actually when Kylo was shirtless that did it. 💁🏻‍♂️ A warning would be nice Not this starWars fan 😡😡😡😡😡 He can hold his helmet with just one hand 😲 i love him & his deep voice The edginess is TOO INTENSE. Edgeoverload threedaysgrave

Beautiful just beautiful 👌🏼🥰 Sir sleemo_ Better than the porn 🥵 MalCantSpell just making sure you've seen this. you bet he did He needs more publicity and more movie opportunities. Awkward in a beautiful way and hot! (In a way, the Keanu Reeves for the mill. gen.) -Of course Driver is his own person with his own stellar talent. I don't get why the youth gen. is not all over him?

DownloaderBot Least intimidating SW antagonist ever. mpychu Ohmygawd Phenomenal talent I think i'm 9 months pregnant now ROLLING STONE I’M SUING YOU. yo wtf He😥😥😥👌👌👌 EYE- this_vid AdamDriverUK 1 word : Bless you for this HES SO FCKING SEYXYYYYYYY😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 Never forget 💕💕💕 I approve this. And I need more.

You guys went through all of our thirst tweets to get the ideas for this huh? LunaLyrik thought you would like this 😏 AdamDriverUK So, this guy is the villain. Right? Never has a 15 second clip owned me like this. This deserves AdamDriver applause. Looking forward to the profile...hope there’s details on MarriageStory too...adored that movie and cannot wait to see it again when it drops on Netflix Friday.

WHAT GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DO THIS TO ME ROLLING STONE?!!?!?!?!?!? this video is as if someone plucked the perfect adam photoshoot idea from my mind. thank you, carlos serrao and monica may. i owe you my life. Put this on my headstone Boring Literally everything you will ever need to know about the zodiac sign Scorpio in 15 fucking seconds.

Dude's so hot he made steam looked cool. Thanks god I am 18 because this is porn _afterblossom_ Okay, ya got me. That is Hot. adam 😎😎😎 OMG OMG OMG Fantastic article!!!! 'And maybe it’s not redemption, per se, but Kylo Ren is headed somewhere, always has been — Driver says he and Abrams early on discussed an arc for the character that will, at least in part, come to fruition in Rise of Skywalker.' 'not redemption'❓ 'at least in part'❓ 😶😶😶

sleemo_ Everyone, give thanks to Brian Hiatt for this MASTERPIECE. 💕💗💜💞💖💓💘💝 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 This video of Adam should come with a warning cause it will ruin your expectations in men So so hot in here!🔥🔥🔥 GirlswSabers omg i cant breathe Are you trying to kill me here?! you're doing great Kylo Ren, worst character in modern history

Holy god. TAG YOUR PORN Is this porn? ADAM. ADAM. 🤯🤯 Seriously I’m dead, this is high end Art™️ 'I could not believe how crappy the script was, but the money was amazing, so what the hell,' said Driver. The love of my life. 🔥🔥🔥 Mi god!! So handsome!! 🔥💕 Wow. Just wow. WHO DID THIS? GIVE THOSE PEOPLE A RAISE

It’s too much! I can’t! The movies suck but the paycheck must be glorious. shirlyxgurl Not a bad way to start the week! 🖤 bensolosrise Damn damn are you trying to k!ll us with this hotness?! ARE Y'ALL FCKING SERIOUS i DEAD “There’s something in having an antagonist who is a little more vulnerable,” Adam Driver says of Kylo Ren. “That seems to be more relatable and human than just someone who is a psychopath.” Read our profile on the StarWars villain:

the only man ever 'The Report (in which Driver plays Daniel J. Jones, the real-life whistle-blower who leaked a damning investigation on the full extent of U.S. torture of terror suspects)' Is this even true? DJJ did not leak anything, did he? Wasn't that report officially released? 😶 RECTANGLE

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