Birthdate: November 19, 1983
Birthplace: San Diego, California, USA
Adam Driver (birthname: Adam Douglas Driver) has emerged as one of the most important American movie actors of his generation, balancing a career distinguished by collaborations with major film artists (Martin Scorsese, Joel, and Ethan Coen, Michael Mann, Francis Ford Coppola, Jeff Nichols, Leos Carax, Terry Gilliam, Spike Lee, Noah Baumbach, Jim Jarmusch) and leading roles in some of the biggest movie franchises, including his Kylo Ren in the Star Wars Universe.
Driver’s debut feature role was in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar (2011), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas, and Judi Dench, and grossing $85 million, well over $35 million costs. Adam then had a supporting role in writer-director Jonathan Lisecki’s indie comedy, Gayby (2012), with Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas, premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival, followed by a supporting role in Devyn Waitt’s indie drama, Not Waving But Drowning (2012).
Driver’s first collaboration with filmmaker Noah Baumbach was a major supporting role in Frances Ha (2012), starring and co-written by Greta Gerwig, and earning nearly four times $3 million costs with an $11.3 million gross. Adam Driver nabbed a strong supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s superb historical drama, Lincoln (2012), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones, and grossing a strong $275.3 million globally. Driver co-starred in the ensemble indie drama, Bluebird (2013), written and directed by Lance Edmands, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The Coen Brothers cast Driver in a supporting role in their comedy-drama, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake, and grossing $33 million worldwide, three times its $11 million budget. Adam Driver scored his first lead role in Australian director John Curran’s drama, Tracks (2013), starring Mia Wasikowska, premiering at the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals, but losing money with a poor $4.9 million gross; Driver’s second Toronto premiere that same year was the Michael Dowse-directed What If (originally titled The F Word), co-starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, though it also failed commercially with an $8.5 million global gross.
Driver won his first major film award (the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actor Volpi Cup) for his co-starring role opposite Alba Rohrwacher in writer-director Saverio Costanzo’s Italian drama, Hungry Hearts (2014). Adam co-starred in Noah Baumbach’s most commercially successful movie (to date), While We’re Young (2014), co-starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin, and Adam Horovitz, and earning $21 million globally. Driver co-starred in another ensemble hit comedy-drama, director Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You (2014), co-starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, and Jane Fonda, grossing a strong $41.3 million global take.
Adam Driver’s first Star Wars movie as the evil Kylo Ren was in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Lupita Nyong’o, grossing a powerful $2.07 billion worldwide. Switching gears, Driver joined filmmaker Jeff Nichols for his fascinating indie sci-fi drama, Midnight Special (2016), co-starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Shepard, but losing money for distributor Warner Bros. with a $7.6 million gross. Adam Driver delivered one of his finest performances as a modest poet-worker in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson (2016), with Golshifteh Farahani, which earned a fine $10.8 million global gross on a $5 million budget.
Adam Driver co-starred in Martin Scorsese’s austere historical drama, Silence (2016), co-starring Andrew Garfield, Tadanobu Asano, and Liam Neeson, which failed at the box office with a weak $23 million gross (on a $50 million budget). Back with Baumbach, Driver had a supporting role in the family comedy-drama, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017), opposite Adam Stiller, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, and then Driver co-starred in Steven Soderbergh’s successful heist comedy, Logan Lucky (2017), with Channing Tatum, Set MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, and Daniel Craig, earning $48.5 million worldwide.
Adam Driver returned to the dark world of Kylo Ren in writer-director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), starring opposite Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, and Carrie Fisher, grossing not nearly as much as the previous entry ($1.33 billion worldwide). Adam Driver was cast by Spike Lee in his commercially successful ($93.4 million) and charged drama, BlacKkKlansman (2018), starring John David Washington, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace, and earning Driver his first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
Driver played opposite Jonathan Pryce in Terry Gilliam’s troubled, long-in-the-making production, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018), which premiered to poor reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and was thwarted in its theatrical release by lawsuits, eventually earning a fraction of its nearly $20 million budget. Adam starred as a dogged Senate staffer in Scott Z. Burns’ political drama, The Report (2019), with Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, and Jon Hamm, and earning a limited theatrical take of $275,000 before opening on Amazon Prime streaming.
Driver reunited with Jarmusch for the vampire comedy, The Dead Don’t Die (2019), opening the 2019 edition of the Cannes Film Festival and co-starring Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, and Tom Waits, and grossing $15.3 million globally. Adam Driver earned his first Best Actor Oscar nomination as the co-star, with Scarlett Johansson, of Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed drama, Marriage Story (2019), premiering at the Venice Film Festival, and earning $2.3 million in a limited theatrical window before streaming on Netflix.
For the first time, Driver was the star and producer in Leos Carax’s Annette (2021) his epic, English-language musical pastiche made with the band, Sparks, and co-starring Marion Cotillard and grossing a disappointing $3 million worldwide. Driver’s busy 2021 continued with a brawny co-starring role opposite Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck in the twisty Ridley Scott medieval drama, The Last Duel (2021), a failure in theatrical ($30.6 million) but success in post-theatrical home video and VOD. Driver starred in another flashy movie directed by Scott, this the very different House of Gucci (2021), co-starring Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, and Al Pacino, grossing a solid worldwide total of $153.3 million.
Once again, Adam Driver and Baumbach joined forces for a faithful adaptation of Don DeLillo’s acclaimed, innovative novel, White Noise (2022), with Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle, and earning just under $80,000 in a brief theatrical window before streaming on Netflix. Driver pivoted to high-concept movies with his next starring role, in the Columbia Pictures-produced prehistoric sci-fi movie, 65 (2023), with Ariana Greenblatt.
In one of his biggest roles, Driver portrayed Italian car titan Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s $90 million biopic, Ferrari (2023), with Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Gabriel Leone, Sarah Gadon, and Jack O’Connell. Driver happens to be the star of yet another long-in-the-making epic by a major auteur filmmaker (besides Gilliam)—Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi epic, Megalopolis (date to be announced), with Forest Whitaker, Dustin Hoffman, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBoeuf, and Talia Shire.
Adam Driver was born and raised in San Diego, California, by his mother Nancy (paralegal), and father Joe Driver. His parents divorced when Driver was seven and moved with his mother and sister to Mishawaka, Indiana, where his mother remarried Rodney G. Wright (a Baptist minister). Driver grew up in the Baptist church and sang in the church choir. He attended Mishawaka High School and graduated in 2001. Driver applied to The Julliard School to study acting but was rejected. He took on jobs as a telemarketer and door-to-door salesman, and then shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., Driver enlisted in the Marine Corps.
He served for two years and eight months, reaching the rank of Lance Corporal and serving as a mortar man in Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, before being discharged for injuries. He then worked in Target’s distribution center in Indianapolis. After his freshman year at the University of Indiana (where he studied theater), Driver re-applied to Julliard and was accepted. Driver was a drama group member at Julliard, “Group 38,” and graduated with a BFA in 2009. After living with his partner Joanne Tucker (whom he met at Julliard) for several years, he married her in 2013. Driver’s height is 6’ 2½”. Driver’s estimated net worth is $16 million.
Adam the Menace: As a boy, Adam Driver got into a lot of mischief, including dangerously climbing radio towers, setting objects on fire, and (inspired by watching Fight Club (1999)) forming an (illegal) fight club with his pals.
Scary Adam: In interviews, Driver has noted that his friends and colleagues considered him “intimidating and volatile” after he re-entered civilian life following his stint in the Marines.
Strong Take: Adam Driver has said that he considers television to be “evil.”
Support the Troops: Driver is the manager of the organization, Arts in the Armed Forces, a non-profit organization.