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Adam Driver on Singing for the Coen Brothers in 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and Why He Keeps Coming Back to 'Girls'

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire December 18, 2013 at 10:16AM

Adam Driver might be best known for playing Lena Dunham's on-again, off-again boyfriend on HBO's show "Girls" but it's on the big screen where he's really stretching.
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Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac, Timberlake, Adam Driver

In that scene, you give this guttural, quack-sounding noise that defies easy description. Where did that even come from?

That was not my concoction, that was all them. [laughs]

You're a Juilliard grad, so singing must have come easy to you.

No, they keep the music department very separate from the actors at Juilliard. I am musical, though. I grew up in church and did a lot of singing at choir and a lot of singing at choir in school and playing the piano, things like that -- but I wouldn't call myself a musician by any means compared to the people [in the movie]. Musical in that I own instruments that are at my house that I play with people. But not like in that I have mastered any of them like the people that are in the movie.

What instruments do you own?

I own a guitar, a piano, a bass.

Girls episode 8 Driver Appleby

The third season of "Girls" is right around the corner. Despite sharing the same name as your character on the show, you two seem to have nothing in common. Adam's a slacker, whereas you're clearly not if your recent output is anything to go by.

I actually don't think of him as a slacker. I feel like he has very strong-willed goals, it just doesn't really fit into the mold of what's conventional. He has these proclamations about a way that he's going to live his life or ideas, and then at the drop of a hat he kind of shifts them.

It's all about being present and not. I think the challenge in him is that he hasn't quite really articulated things for himself so he feels things very intensely before he actually finds the words to fit it. That's an ongoing battle for him. That's a very universal thing.

What's the experience been like of playing the same character over the course of three seasons?

I don't know, every season is a different thing. The first season we were still trying to figure out what it is we're doing and I still feel that that applies to the third season, which we just did. It was constantly: how do we keep going deeper and keep going deeper? There's still an ambitious pursuit of "How do we go deeper and surprise ourselves?"

What keeps you coming back every season? That surprise element?

Yeah, I just love the character and the people that I get to work with, not just the cast but the crew. The crew is an amazing part of the process -- in a way they're our first audience. They've set up an environment that's really trusting. Why would you not want to go down to the bottom and see how deep it can go? That's an interesting challenge.

I've never worked in anything where it has the potential to be going on for many years. The most you play a character in the theater is like a couple months and then you put it away. It's an interesting challenge to live in someone for a couple years. I've never done that, so why not try and make the most of it?


This article is related to: Adam Driver, Interviews, Joel & Ethan Coen, CBS Films, Inside Llewyn Davis, Academy Awards, Television, Girls, HBO , TV Interviews






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