Adam Driver. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA.
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”

Marriage Story marks the fourth collaboration between director Noah Baumbach and actor Adam Driver. Though the film is about a couple going through a divorce, Adam Driver found his character Charlie very relatable because the story is “really specific but at the same time universal to anybody that has been in love.”In the film, Baumbach examines the excruciating process of a divorce between successful New York theater director Charlie Barber (Driver) and his actress wife Nicole played by Scarlett Johansson. Their marriage is going through a rough patch as the film starts. When Nicole is offered a starring role in a television pilot in Los Angeles, she decides to leave her husband and takes their son to live in West Hollywood. Charlie has to split his time between two coasts in order to strengthen his custody case. Though both Charlie and Nicole want to avoid going to court, they gradually lose control of their lawyers on the custody battle over their only child.“I relate to the character because it’s about people being in love really,” says Adam Driver who is married and has one son in real life. “Even though it’s a movie that is centered around divorce and the theme has to be hopefully the thing that is, the story of why you are getting love, why their marriage has dissolved. You kind of through that have to tell the story of how they were together.”Having worked with Baumbach on Frances Ha, While We Were Young and The Meyerowitz Stories, Adam Driver says he deeply respects the specificity in Baumbach’s writing, though the director usually does not allow actors to change any lines in the script, “I find it incredibly empowering,” Driver says, “he gives you so much time, he’s structured the day and the movie overall to give you a lot of takes to examine what that could be.”In the film, Laura Dern plays Nicole’s lawyer, Ray Liotta and Alan Alda play Charlie’s. The legal process forms a narrative environment that silences Driver and Johansson’s characters. Though the two have several scenes where they have pages of dialogues, Adam Driver finds the courtroom scenes very powerful even though he only has a few lines. “He (Noah) knows when to explain a moment and when characters are saying something but on the surface, there’s something else going on,” explains Driver.Maintaining a steady pace as an actor, Adam Driver seems to balance his career really well between reprising his role as Kylo Ren in the massive Star Wars franchise and working with renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese and Jim Jarmusch. This 36-year-old actor told the HFPA that he has his own method of moving from one film to another, “I try to train myself to forget it as soon as it’s over. If a film is over, then I try to flush it out of my body or in my mind as soon as I can, and not to really think about it again and be distracted by other work or something else.”