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When Adam Driver received his first acting paycheck, he didn’t visit the House of Gucci or buy a fancy car. After all, ‘why drive when you can fly?’
Gucci; a name ‘so sweet, so seductive’. In the opening minutes of Ridley Scott’s explosive soap opera, Lady Gaga‘s Patrizia Reggiani longingly relates that owning a piece of clothing emblazoned with its luxury logo will almost definitely remain a fantasy for the everyday person, even if it’s the cheapest item in the shop.
Strolling through designer fashion branches, with hyper-elite staff dressing the premier league of customers in suits, coats and bags costing more than some mortgages, is rightly humbling. The smallest purchase would hold your ‘little peaches in a tight grip’. For Driver, his dream purchase wasn’t so high and mighty – but it still rose to the occasion.
House of Gucci stars Driver as Maurizio Gucci, the ill-fated inheritor of the fashion dynasty. He was murdered on March 25, 1996, shot to death by a hitman hired by Patrizia. Though managing to cut through the operatic, meme-able theatrics, it’s mostly a true-crime cocktail of glitz, glam, camp and brilliant actors who always look a little bit ghastly, even when they’re gorgeous.
Ahead of the film’s release this Friday, November 26, I sat down with the BlacKkKlansman star. Straight off the bat, I asked if there was something he always wanted that he could finally afford when he became a successful actor. Michael Jordan was right: it’s gotta be the shoes.
‘Yeah, my first pair of Air Jordans… we couldn’t afford them. That was one of the first things I bought when I got a check for being an actor. They were the red-and-whites.’
Beyond anecdotes, it should be said: Driver is excellent in the movie. Gaga may be a force of nature, like a girl boss Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, but he’s a clinical foil; soft-toned and unwavering, even when it seems like he’s bending to the will of his conniving partner.
Of course, we’ve seen the Oscar-nominee go ‘big’ before: Star Wars featured some deliciously shouty moments, from ‘Traitor!’ to ‘More, more, MORE!’; and Marriage Story‘s heart-wrenching ‘I hope you’re dead’ argument with Scarlett Johansson still earns plaudits. With regards to the latter, his dynamic with Gaga is just as potent – wait until you see their sex scene – but rather ‘different’.
‘I didn’t think much about Marriage Story when we were doing it. It’s what the scene is, that’s the only thing I’m thinking about: how to play the scene. Sometimes it’s different characters, so you have to go to a different place in the process and working on them is very different,’ he said.
‘In Marriage Story, we shot this argument scene for two days and we had one camera we were pushing around a small LA apartment. Scenes for this, we were shooting with six cameras on digital, not on film, with very few takes. So, you kind of adjust to what the process of the set is, the actors you’re working with and the material. All the other things take care of themselves, hopefully.’
In House of Gucci, he works alongside actors with trademarks: Al Pacino gets to do his Al Pacino thing; Jeremy Irons’ pithy marks and withering stares are unmatched; and Jared Leto’s transformation soars like a pigeon. Driver isn’t so easily defined.
‘That’s something for other people to impose. I don’t think it would be a good idea to impose a trademark in a film. Maybe I could start working in where I just do an air gun in every scene with a click. Doesn’t really call for it, and I can do it in the most inappropriate moments… like if a dog gets hit… well, or a turtle gets run over by a car, and I do the air gun thing. It would just be for you, I’d have an audience of one [laughs].’
He radiated star power early on in Girls and What If – ‘I just had sex and I’m about to eat NACHOS!’ – but Kylo Ren afforded him worldwide fame. Ever since bowing out from a galaxy far, far away in The Rise of Skywalker, taking into account the unspoken event, Driver has taken on some fascinating roles in Annette and Scott’s other 2021 banger, The Last Duel.
Given the notoriety of The Last Jedi discourse and the general fury of fandom, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s avoiding franchises going forward, or at the very least *prepares Al Cody voice* outer space – but that’s not the case.
‘No, I’m totally not against it. For me, it’s a filmmaker’s medium, so my only thing is working with great filmmakers. Whatever the size… it’s never been interesting to me, to an extent. There’s interesting things about working on both. I always just follow people I’d be interested in working with, and whether I’d be right for the part – things like that. No, definitely not averse,’ he said.
If Kylo somehow returned, social media would explode. However, if his post-Star Wars career continues to blossom with such genre-spanning dynamism, perhaps we should take heed and ‘let the past die’.
House of Gucci hits cinemas this Friday, November 26.
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