Adam Driver on The "Incredibly High Stakes" of Shooting Every Scene in 'Marriage Story' | Close Up

(upbeat music) – Adam, “Marriage Story's”semi-autobiographical.

Were you playing your director? – I may have, like all of these things, Noah's wrote a script, he did that hat trick that people, I think try to do, of writing something that's incredibly specific but reaches a broader audience.

I mean, like anything, like “Meyerowitz”, you know “The Squid and the Whale, ” “While We're Young, ” they're all in a senseauto-biographical, then.

But he wrote something that, I think we all projected our history onto.

– What was the toughestmoment for you in that film or was there one that youreally struggled with? – Usually there's likeone scene in a movie or maybe two that you're dreading.

With this one, every scene felt like, it's all too early in the schedule, it's too early for Halloween, (laughing) It's too early for– (laughing) And I'm like okay well, then we can maybe put it to next week but then next week's was worse, so.

And again that's, I think, a testament to good writing.

Every scene felt the stakeswere incredibly high.

They all felt urgent.

They all felt necessary.

There wasn't a partthat you could take out where the movie would survive without it so I think that was ourfirst sign of oh this felt like it always should bethis urgent, hopefully.

If it was badly written, there's only one way to do it.

If it's well written, the language is so richthat every time you say it, it opens up an idea for something else and because Noah has structured, and Adam knows this from workingwith Noah in “Meyerowitz, ” because it's the script is the script it feels very much like theater, I guess, where you're talking about where the boundaries are very clear.

The text is the text and Ifind that incredibly freeing because your intention could be anything.

And if you're with anotheractor, as Scarlett, in that instance, the set is, Noah is giving you anotherpiece of information that maybe you hadn't thought of before.

Where the line or you got in a fight with your wife before thescene starts, or maybe nothing, maybe you're having a goodmoment before the scene starts.

It just opens up your imagination of a different way of reading it.

He's taken, basically afour month run of play and condensed it to two days.

So I think that's easier.

If its just, have an emotion, I don't think I can do that.

(upbeat music) – Adam, you were in the military.

– Right away.

(laughing) – Acting in trauma and dying are common.

Do they seem trivial in comparison? – Well, I mean when the stakesyou're pretending are life and death and the other they kind of are but the way the process in which you work on them is the exact same.

It's a group of people tryingto accomplish a mission that's bigger than any oneperson and you have a role and you have to know yourrole within a gun team, and you're only as good as the people that are there with you.

There's someone leading it and when they know what they're doing, what you're doing feels activeand relevant and exciting, and when they don't it feels like a waste of resources and dangerous, and you're just so awarethat you're one part of a bigger picture.

– How did you switch from beinga Marine to being an actor? – I was interested in itbefore being in the military, then when you get in themilitary you get out, you kind of have all this false confidence that civilian problems willbe small in comparison, which is an illusion.

But then I was lucky enoughto get into an acting school and learned about actingand plays and a process.

Then I was lucky enough to work.

(upbeat music) – Are you self critical? – Yeah.

Yeah, yeah.

I don't think that you ever get over, 'cause in a way you kindof know what your potential is more than anybody else in a sense.

I have a lot of regret.

Often when you leave a set, you can't help but think about it, obviously it's filmed so film is forever, so you never get a chanceto go back and do it again.

I feel like that's the thing about acting is that regardless of how often you do it or long you do it you never figure it out.

– Do you prefer theater because of that? – I've learned from theater and that, always at the end of afour month run of a play, your, always the last performance, it's always the best one, and you're like okay nowI have a better sense of what I wanna do and go back so I know that there's no right answer.

There's no right way to play a scene.

That's my part of it, I like the making of it and it's someone else's responsibility to make the choice of whatis the best version of it.

You would just have to feelcomfortable with failing.

You either get easier onyourself, I think about, like okay then I'll just let it go, or you don't but I don'tthink you'll ever figure that out that's why Ithink people keep doing it.

I think.

But I don't know.

Being more economical, I think I wish I could be, in things that I think I need I don't.

Whether it be acting or life.

– Economical artistically, financially, emotionally? – Well we can say artistically, I guess.

If you think that you need to, certain things that have to be in place for you to do your job, and actually none of that's true.

We were using the exampleearlier of porthole.

Having it worked up in yourmind and then realizing getting there you have nocontrol over any of it.

Or doing homework and research and losing weight andputting a bunch of weight and then feelingcomfortable to let it all go 'cause none of that is helpful because your scene partner is drunk.

(laughing) That's not somethingthat's happened to me, just pulling something out of (mumbles) But being more economical with, you know okay all that time, I have to either get betterabout that I wasted it or I shouldn't just waste that time and I should prioritize in a different way so I think that's kind of the same thing.

(upbeat music).

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