Adam Driver’s Best Villain Role Was In A Ben Stiller Comedy, Not ‘Star Wars’
Adam Driver is one of the most acclaimed, versatile actors of his generation, starring in movies from acclaimed filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott, and also, of course, a whole bunch of Star Wars sequels, Star Wars video games, and Star Wars plush toys (which, sadly, weren’t made to scale).
While Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren quickly became a keystone of contemporary pop culture, there was once a time when the idea of the dude from Girls becoming the new Darth Vader was met with Dana Scully-levels of skepticism.
But Driver did play the role of the antagonist shortly before The Force Awakens hit theaters, in the decidedly smaller-budgeted Ben Stiller indie comedy While We’re Young – arguably to an even more sinister effect …
Directed by now-frequent Driver collaborator Noah Baumbach, 2014’s While We’re Young tells the story of a middle-aged couple (Stiller and Naomi Watts) who befriend two 20-something hipsters played by Driver and Amanda Seyfried. It’s basically the arthouse equivalent of that Steve Buscemi skateboard meme, but with more fedoras and ayahuasca parties.
It gradually becomes apparent, though, that Driver’s character, the amiable modern raconteur, is really a manipulative, self-obsessed dirtbag. Stiller begins to suspect that his new buddy secretly orchestrated their chance meeting, and contrived the ensuing friendship, purely in order for the opportunity to meet Stiller’s famous filmmaker father-in-law and help launch his documentary career.
In the end, Stiller and Watts conclude that he wasn’t “evil,” just ”young.” But in a weird way, Driver is a better villain in While We’re Young because he’s so funny and likable for a significant chunk of the movie. When we find that he’s been lying to everybody, even about key personal details of his life, that calculated betrayal is all the more disquieting. Sure, Kylo Ren murdered his dad and was a collaborator in a galactic genocide, but at least he never hurt anybody’s feelings.
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