BAUMBACH: I remember you came one day, when we were shooting you guys at breakfast, and you were feeling really bad because you felt like you had a bad rehearsal.
DRIVER: That was just a window into every day. [Baumbach laughs] I feel bad about it every day. But, yeah, I was tired.
BAUMBACH: I think that's true of you, that you invest yourself very emotionally. And I'm not talking about process or inhabiting the character or anything. I mean, just the work of it—acting and rehearsing or whatever. I feel like it stays with you after. If you don't feel good about something, you don't shake it off easily. Would you say that's true?
DRIVER: I definitely let it get to me if it doesn't go well. But what I like about your sets is that we get so many chances to do it again and again. I love the idea of doing a lot of takes because there's so many different ways that you can play scenes. And we have clear boundaries, where the script is the script, you know? Since I came from a theater background, that made so much sense to me; that you thought a lot about these words and they're very important. I mean, you don't say this, but these are the words. These are the boundaries that you can play in. And the meaning of them is infinite. So I feel less anxious I guess when I leave your sets. But oftentimes I leave a set and there are so many different ways to have played a scene that I think of later, when I'm more relaxed and not distracted. I go through a mourning period, like, "Oh, God, we'll never get to go back and do it again."
BAUMBACH: I mean it as a compliment. I'm not saying you're a depressive.
DRIVER: [laughs] Yeah, what the fuck?
BAUMBACH: Yes, you have those days that you don't get out of bed. Why don't you talk about that?
DRIVER: Yeah, I'm glad you've picked this time to ... [laughs]
BAUMBACH: I waited until we're being recorded to talk about it ... But I know what you mean, and I think we've connected about the ways we like to work, that there's a kind of loose but focused way of going at it. If we do a bunch of takes and you don't want another one, I feel confident that I have it. [laughs] You don't generally like to leave an option unexplored.
DRIVER: Right. I mean, maybe as I get older, I'm getting tired, or my anxiety and the kind of self-imposed torture in working on it is getting less and less. Do you normally associate torture with creating things? Or do you just treat it like, "I'm going to go punch in and do my job, and if I don't figure it out, there's always tomorrow"? Maybe torture is too strong a word. Is misery par for the course of creating something?
BAUMBACH: It's kind of a crazy art form, movies, in that you have to get it right the day you do it, generally.
DRIVER: Which involves corralling a bunch of people at their most stressed. [laughs] I just worked on this set where the atmosphere was playful the entire time, and I'm not used to that—where you have to talk to the other actors in between takes or go hangout socially, which I thought would throw me off—but it turned out I liked that. So I don't really come in with a set way of working, I guess. I always feel out the vibe. Like, "I'm going to adapt to what this is." There's not, like, a mood that I prefer—other than people showing up and on time, probably. [both laugh]
BAUMBACH: But now that you've done this enough, are there things that you really do feel like you need? I don't necessarily mean, like, amenities brought to your trailer. I mean, like, needing this amount of sleep or this amount of exercise ...?
DRIVER: The only thing I know that makes me feel comfortable is to know as much as I can. Not like what the shots are going to be, but knowing enough about my character that I can forget those things. And more specifically, my lines. I have to know my lines. I have to know something really well, so I can forget it when we're doing it. And there is comfort in knowing, "Okay, there's not another stone that I could have overturned."
Read the full interview at Interview.
"I always found something strangely paternal about the director-actor relationship. Actors want some much approval ... but at some point, I distrust you." Our December/January cover star #AdamDriver talks to his friend #NoahBaumbach about #StarWars, #Paterson, #Silence and more 📸 @stevenkleinstudio. Styling #KarlTempler. Hair @ward_hair. Makeup @markcarrasquillo. Set design @jessekaufmann. Cc @fabienbaron @girlshbo #kyloren @starwars