“Acting is really about having the courage to fail in front of people.” – Adam Driver
American actor Adam Driver is among the most talented theatrical performers of the current generation. After initially gaining prominence with a supporting role in the HBO comedy-drama series Girls, he gained wider recognition for playing Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Of late, he has received two consecutive nominations at the Academy Awards; Best Supporting Actor for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and Best Actor for Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
Born in California but raised in Indiana, Driver has described his teenage self as a misfit. Growing up, he once told M Magazine that he climbed radio towers, set objects on fire, and co-founded a fight club with friends having been inspired by the 1999 cult David Fincher film Fight Club. After getting rejected by university, and shortly after the September 11 attacks, Driver enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he was assigned to Weapons Company. Subsequently, he attended the University of Indianapolis for a year before auditioning again for Juilliard, this time succeeding.
Having worked with elite filmmakers including the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Noah Baumbach, the Coen Brothers and Jim Jarmusch, Driver has already had an impeccable film career and has established himself as one of the leading talents of today by playing an array of varying characters. With new and promising projects lined up for the upcoming times, he looks set to put out stunning performances for years to come.
On his 37th birthday, we list all the films starring Adam Driver that are currently streaming on Netflix.
Best Adam Driver films on Netflix:
The Meyerowitz Stories (Noah Baumbach – 2017)
Noah Baumbach’s Palme d’Or-nominated comedy-drama stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Adam Driver and Emma Thompson, and follows a group of dysfunctional adult siblings trying to live in the shadow of their father. Adam Driver plays Randy, one of Matthew’s (Stiller) clients.
Through Driver doesn’t get the most screen-time here, the film is accentuated by stunning performances from Sandler, Hoffman and Stiller. It draws an extremely emotional but precise portrait of a dysfunctional family but is told in a breezy, restrained way. There aren’t any crazy visuals or epic monologues in The Meyerowitz Stories. It’s just life being tenderly observed by a master filmmaker who knows exactly what he’s doing, with subtle, humanistic performances and extremely naturalistic dialogue working in unison with him to deliver this warm, beautiful story of family.
Silence (Martin Scorsese – 2016)
Adam Driver co-starred in Martin Scorsese’s historical drama Silence as Father Francisco Garupe, a 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit priest, alongside Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. Based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku, The plot follows two 17th-century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Edo-era Japan via Macau to locate their missing mentor and spread Catholic Christianity. A long-time passion project for Scorsese, Silence is the third of Scorsese’s three films about religious figures struggling with challenges of faith, following The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun.
When questioned about the film, Scorsese had some very interesting things to say: “As you get older, ideas go and come. Questions, answers, loss of the answer again and more questions, and this is what really interests me. Yes, the cinema and the people in my life and my family are most important, but ultimately as you get older, there’s got to be more… Silence is just something that I’m drawn to in that way. It’s been an obsession, it has to be done… it’s a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions.”
BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee- 2018)
In Spike Lee’s BlackKkKlansman, Driver portrayed a Jewish police detective, Phillip “Flip” Zimmerman, who helps infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. His performance in the film was hugely acclaimed, subsequently being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. The film stars John David Washington as Stallworth, along with Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. Set in the 1970s in Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American detective in the city’s police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan chapter.
When asked on what part of the film appealed to him, he said, “Apart from working with Spike, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to do the film. I love the idea of your heritage becoming important to you at different times in your life. Flip doesn’t internalize his job, maybe to self-preserve. As an actor, I can understand that. But also, as an actor, I know that you have to be invested at a certain point. And when Flip goes undercover and has to say these terrible things out loud, it affects him. I don’t know how it couldn’t. So he has to face those questions. Maybe he has to take it personally and that’s not a bad thing. It’s empowering.”
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach – 2019)
Marriage Story begins and ends with love. There’s anger in between, coupled with rage, confusion, blistering pain, bitterness, grief, and fear. There are moments of friendship that are closely followed with the remembrance of loss; remains of a marriage that once was. But Marriage Story begins and ends with love.
Directed masterfully by Noah Baumbach, the film follows a married couple, an actress and a stage director (Johansson and Driver), going through a coast-to-coast divorce. For his explosively inhabited and riveting performance, Driver received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
The remarkable performances by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are what make Marriage Story a film worth celebrating. Actors belonging to two of the biggest blockbuster franchises in entertainment history (The Avengers and Star Wars) who are still capable of portraying real-life people in films that rely solely on story and not spectacle is a testament to the talents of these two actors. While not portraying likable characters, each actor exemplifies the brutal stress and sorrow of divorce and how it breaks down the soul.