65 opens March 10th
Is Adam Driver somebody that you would want on your side in a world overrun by dinosaurs? That is where the actor’s astronaut character, Mills, and a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) find themselves stranded after crash landing on a strange planet – or, at least, strange to them – in 65, which is heading to AMC Theatres on Friday March 10th. However, the new sci-fi thriller, which was written and directed by A QUIET PLACE scribes Scott Beck and Bryan Wood, at first feels like a bit of a turning point for the actor, until you take an even closer look at his career thus far.
Driver has easily cemented himself as one of his generation’s most acclaimed and defining talents, having earned two Academy Award nominations, four Emmy Award nominations (the most recent for a memorable “Saturday Night Live” gig in 2020) and even starring in two Super Bowl commercials (the first of which, a Snickers ad, was actually filmed and broadcast live). Of course, that barely scratches the surface of what he has achieved in the years leading up to his latest role as the hero in an action-packed blockbuster, especially when you consider the fact that he played one of the central villains in a quintessential blockbuster movie franchise. We’ll get to that in our retrospective covering the brightest highlights of Driver’s career prior to starring in 65, but we should start at the beginning.
Hits It Big With Girls
Before becoming an actor, Adam Driver – as he recalled to Howard Stern – was actually rejected from Juilliard after graduation and fell back on selling vacuums before eventually enlisting in the Marine Corps. When an injury to his sternum while mountain biking cut that short, he took a second shot at studying acting at Indiana University before finally making it into Juilliard, leading to landing guest spots on shows like “Law & Order” and making his major movie debut in J. EDGAR in 2011.
However, his breakthrough came when he was cast on the groundbreaking HBO dramedy “Girls” as Adam Sackler – the love interest for creator Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath – which earned him three Emmy nominations. The role would open up more big screen opportunities for him – such as being directed by Steven Spielberg in 2012’s LINCOLN and working with the Coen Brothers for a scene-stealing part in 2013’s INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Yet, his entry onto the A-list would come after being offered the kind of role most actors only dream about.
Enters A Galaxy Far, Far Away
The role that Driver is easily best known for is the brooding Sith Lord, Kylo Ren, whom he originated in 2015’s STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. His riveting performance in director J.J. Abrams’ seventh chapter of the iconic cosmic franchise and its following two chapters would make his character a fan-favorite, and is remembered as a highlight of this most recent era for George Lucas’ creation.
In between each installment of Disney’s STAR WARS trilogy, Driver continued to expand his horizons, and to much acclaim. For instance, in 2016, he appeared in another antagonistic role for a more low-concept sci-fi drama called MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, played the title character of PATERSON (his first collaboration with his THE DEAD DON’T DIE director, Jim Jarmusch), and worked with Martin Scorsese for the epic period piece, SILENCE. The following year he joined the all-star cast of Steven Soderbegh’s return to hilarious heist movies, LOGAN LUCKY, but it was the year after that when he landed the role that first got him recognized by the Academy.
Becomes An Oscar Darling
In 2018, Adam Driver starred in BLACKKKLANSMAN – director Spike Lee’s adaptation of former cop Ron Stallworth’s memoir detailing his infiltration of the KKK – as Flip Zimmerman, who poses as Stallworth (John David Washington) as part of the operation. The film only took home one Academy Award® for its screenplay, but earned six nominations total, including for Driver’s rousing supporting performance.
Just one year later, Driver received his first Oscar® nomination for a leading role with the Netflix original dramedy, MARRIAGE STORY – his fourth of five collaborations so far with filmmaker Noah Baumbach that also include 2012’s FRANCES HA and, most recently, WHITE NOISE from 2022. His performance as Charlie Barber – a New York theatre director going through a divorce from his wife, Nicole (Scarlett Johannson) – might not be his most recognizable role, but is undeniably one of his most powerful and definitive of his capabilities as an actor. Of course, his commanding presence in grounded dramatic work is just the tip of the iceberg.
Is A Bonafide Action Star
Adam Driver has been preparing for the chance to lead a creature-filled thriller like 65 since even before he became an actor. For one, his role as Mills, finally, allows him to put his Marine Corps training to use onscreen. Secondly, this is far from his first rodeo in the realm of action dramas, anyway.
In addition to wielding a lightsaber as Kylo Ren, he became proficient in swordplay when leading Terry Gilliam’s surreal, time-hopping comedy, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, in 2018 and when facing off against Matt Damon for Ridley Scott’s dramatization of the Middle Ages’ final trial by combat in 2021’S THE LAST DUEL. As far as we are concerned, it was only a matter of time before he would be pitted against prehistoric creatures.
As much as we also enjoy Adam Driver’s more low-key and subversive endeavors – such as the 2018 political drama, THE REPORT, or 2021’s bewildering romantic tragedy, ANNETTE – we especially love the idea of him kicking some dinosaur butt. See him in action in 65 when it arrives at an AMC Theatre location near you!
65 opens March 10th