Netflix has had a rough year, but maybe a strong awards season run can turn things around. Wall Street doesn’t seem to be buying streamers’ bullsh-t anymore about the promise of endless money at the end of the rainbow, but maybe a strong slate of must-see films will draw back some of their lost subscribers, at any rate. They have Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and of course the sure-to-cause-a-stir Blonde, but they also have White Noise, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. White Noise will open both the Venice Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, positioning it to be one of the major players this fall.


It comes from Noah Baumbach, who directs and adapted the script from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel of the same name. (Amazingly, this is the first adaptation in Baumbach’s career.) It’s about a professor of “Hitler studies”—that’s BOUND to go over well on social media—played by Adam Driver, dealing with the (literal) fallout of a chemical spill in his college town. Gerwig stars as The Wife, Babette, and the film also stars Jodie Turner-Smith, Don Cheadle, and Alessandro Nivola. I am EXTREMELY curious to see how Baumbach reduces a book as dense as White Noise to feature film length—like Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, it’s so thick with themes it seems better suited to a multi-episode television format. 


I am also EXTREMELY curious to see how much press Adam Driver does for this movie, as he does not seem to enjoy doing press for his movies. A lot of actors don’t, but Driver gets away with being grumpy in a way few do. It makes his press events sort of spiky and interesting, you never know when he’ll show up to play or not be in the mood for it at all. Will being flanked by Baumbach and Gerwig, one of indie cinema’s most beloved power couples, make a difference? The House of Gucci press tour was dominated by Lady Gaga and her many looks, and to a lesser extent by Jared Leto and HIS looks, and Driver seemed happy to let them have the spotlight. Are we in for two rounds of festival press—three, counting London’s BFI festival, where White Noise will also screen—of Driver standing aside as Baumbach and Gerwig field Barbie questions (they co-wrote that script)? I sincerely hope someone asks Adam Driver about Ryan Gosling’s Ken look. And then asks Adam Driver who he would like to play in the Barbie sequel. Oh gods. IMAGINE it.