Adam Driver: I just choked on a pistachio!”

Adam Driver (right)

We had a 10-minute chat with the actor about the pitfalls of fame and Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis.

As I log onto a Zoom call with Adam Driver, he splutters a little. I just choked on a pistachio!” he says, laughing. That’s what that cough was. We’ll see if that’s gone down in, like, two seconds.”

Stars. They’re just like us, eh? Except that Driver, over the course of his decades-long career, has played some of the most memorable TV and film characters in recent memory: an affable bus driver in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, a slightly unhinged boyfriend in Lena Dunham’s Girls, a KKK infiltrator in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and one half of a divorcing couple in Noah Baumbach’s much-memed Marriage Story. The list goes on.

Right now, Driver’s busy promoting Burberry’s latest fragrance release, Hero Parfum (remember when he rode a horse in that viral 2021 campaign?). But the latest notch in his cinematic belt is a lead role in Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis. We don’t know much about the Godfather-director’s self-financed magnum opus, other than a few basic facts: the cast is stacked and it’s an appropriately mega sci-fi epic about Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), whose architect lover Caesar (Driver) is hellbent on redesigning New York City as a sprawling utopia in the aftermath of a disaster. Julia’s dad Frank (Forest Whitaker), however, doesn’t see things in quite the same way…

Rumour has it we’ll get to see Megalopolis on big screens this year. So, after that pistachio went down, we asked Adam Driver all about it – and everything else we could squeeze into our 10 minute chat.

Megalopolis is kind of undefinable, which feels very general until you watch the movie. Then my answer will be perfect”

Hi, Adam! What’s the best thing about being famous?

Connecting to other actors or filmmakers that you’ve always loved and having something to say. That’s been my favourite thing. I try to do that, actually – if I go to a country, I’ll cold call people all the time and see if they wanna hang out. I’ve met a lot of interesting people like that.

What about the worst thing?

The obvious one is the loss of anonymity. The thing about acting is that you’re supposed to be the person observing everybody else. And then when people are observing you, it’s a very weird role reversal that anyone would feel uncomfortable with. I think I’m way better at it now, but people knowing who you are is a weird and unnatural way to be in the world, I think.

The Jim Jarmusch film your starred in, Paterson, is all about appreciating the small things in life. What brings you joy?

I walk my son to school every day and that’s a big one for me. I like that part of life. I don’t think I’ve got anything else!

Wholesome. What about your favourite memory from shooting Frances Ha?

I had just met Noah [Baumbach] and I didn’t know him incredibly well. This was a point in his life where he was kind of switching everything up. Frances Ha was made in a really impromptu way. My first day of shooting was a party scene, which I didn’t find out until later was an actual party. I walked in and I was like, So where are we going?” and no one knew what the fuck I was talking about. Noah showed up with this really small film crew, we set up in the middle of this party and started shooting. At one point he was trying to bounce light off one of the grips’ white T‑shirts. I hadn’t done a lot of films up until that point – I was on a TV show [Girls]. That was my favourite memory of shooting Frances. It felt very wild.

Some guerrilla filmmaking going on…

Yeah and I love that stuff – stealing shots, when you’re having to interact with the real world, it adds another layer that I think is really exciting.

What can you tell us about Megalopolis?

It’s kind of undefinable, which feels very general until you watch the movie. Then my answer will be perfect. There’s not a lot of precedent for it and it’s wild on a big scale, which is what’s really unique about it.

In the film, you play renegade architect Caesar. Can you describe him in one sentence?

He’s a visionary. He’s very much Francis [Ford Coppola], in a way, where he’s investigated every way of how people can do something and is trying not to get stuck on the right answer. That’s an idea that’s moving to me – and one that reflects Francis.

Adam Driver is the face of Burberry Hero Parfum, available to buy now on Burberry​.com

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