Adam Driver is back on Broadway, and to celebrate, he stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers April 11.
Driver co-stars as Jimmy opposite Keri Russell’s Anna in the revival of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This. “The last play I did was five years ago; it was with Matthew Rhys, so I kind of knew [Keri] through Matthew,” Driver said, referring to his Off-Broadway turn in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Look Back in Anger. Russell and Driver star as unlikely lovers after a sudden loss crashes them together.
The play officially opens April 16, and Driver said he and the cast are still navigating the work during previews, listening to the audiences. “They teach you about the play and their energy; there's a collective intelligence in the room that lets you know if it's working or it's not.
It feeds you or it doesn't,” he explained.
But Driver is glad that his first time back on Broadway in eight years—having spent time away to shoot TV series Girls, the new Star Wars films, and BlacKkKlansman (for which he earned an Oscar nomination)—is bringing new audiences to the theatre. “A lot of people have been saying, 'This is the first time I've been to a play,' which I love that,” he said.
Though Driver hasn’t been on Broadway in a while, he has consistently worked on plays. “I’ve had theatre fixes along the way...AITAF (Arts in the Armed Forces) is our non-profit, where we do contemporary American plays and read it for a military audience. So I’ve been doing those for the past five years. When you take theatre outside of New York, it kind of becomes a weapon in a way. New York audiences can kind of get, ‘Oh I’ve seen every production of Hedda Gabler and I can tell you which one’s good or not good,’ but our audience has been a dream in terms of how diverse it is.”
Driver may enjoy being on the stage, but he doesn’t like to watch himself on film. “I’m used to doing plays. I came from a theatre background, so it never really equated to me why would I want to watch that,” he said. He explains what happens during movie premieres: “I just go into a room and wait with a guy in silence, and then I got to go back and sneak in and pretend like I was there the whole time. It always seems like a better alternative than watching all the mistakes that you're making that are now immortalized on film.”
The actor also discussed the growth of AITAF and how they’ve launched a playwriting grant for $10,000 for anyone in the military to write a play. Learn more at AITAF.org.