When I posted about Adam Driver yesterday, I wrote about his aversion to press and how he blew past reporters on two red carpets at TIFF this year, even though his The Report co-star Annette Bening was stopping for practically every outlet on one of them. Shortly after, The Daily Beast broke the story that he’d walked out of an interview with Terry Gross for Fresh Air. Terry Gross is an experienced, respected host. That’s part of why this story is getting so much attention. These things don’t happen to Terry Gross.
Adam was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross back in 2015 and back then he talked about his “phobia” of watching and hearing his performances. He’s also mentioned this in other interviews. For the interview this time, he was at the studio in New York and Terry was in the studio in Philadelphia. That’s a major factor here – I don’t know that it goes down this way if the interview was conducted in person.
During the interview, they played a clip from Marriage Story. But as executive producer Danny Miller told USA Today, they told Adam that the studio engineer would cue him when the clip was coming up so he could take off his headphones and not have to hear it and then cue him again when the clip was over so he could resume on headphones and get back to talking to Terry. Instead he took off his headphones and just left.
This is standard for interviews with people promoting movies or TV shows or music or whatever – clips are played, you know this from talk shows etc. And so they did what they could to accommodate Adam without changing the whole format of their show which they’ve been doing forever and ever.
Some people are like, whatever Adam Driver, seriously? Since he’s a frontrunner in the Best Actor Oscar race, many have pointed out that it’s not like he can leave if they play a clip of his performance during the Oscars. And others are saying that he deserves understanding and compassion and sensitivity because this is clearly a problem for him and if he could endure it, he probably would. He’s not the only actor who can’t stand to watch himself back.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking where art and artists are concerned because actors are artists, no doubt. Just like writers and painters and sculptors and directors and designers and musicians. A writer reads back their work. A painter constantly looks back at their work. A sculptor too. And a director has to watch back her work. A designer definitely has to, and musicians listen back to their music. Is there any other kind of artist who can make their art without watching or hearing back their own art?