To date, Adam Driver has been an unexceptional celebrity. Despite starring in one of the world’s biggest franchises last decade, he is capable of disappearing between projects. He might walk out on the occasional interview, but other than that, if we’re talking about Driver, it’s usually in relation to his latest movie or his trophy hopes. Lainey has mentioned several times that he’s not great at doing the press part of his job, noting that he skipped press lines for both of his 2019 TIFF films, The Report and Marriage Story. But that’s about the worst gossip about Adam Driver, that he doesn’t like doing press and can be testy about it. Well, that’s over. There is now Bad Gossip about Adam Driver, only it’s not really gossip, because that implies a level of hearsay (like the sh-t on DeuxMoi about Driver maybe screaming at assistants). This is a first-hand account of Driver being actively harmful on set toward a costar.
The whole thing happened in a Portuguese interview, so I’m going off translations, but basically, Lidia Franco, a long-working and experienced Portuguese actress, co-starred with Driver in Terry Gilliam’s film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. During an interview with Ero o Que Faltava, Franco said, “…he is a very bad person. He behaved very badly with me, physically. He attacked me.” She goes on to say that the assault “had nothing to do with the scene. …it was a camouflaged assault, with a chair.”(You can hear the original Portuguese interview here.) For further context, Lidia Franco is 76 years old, and would have been around 73 when Don Quixote was filming in 2017. So Adam Driver allegedly assaulted a septuagenarian, according to the septuagenarian, with a chair on set. Yikes.
Of course, Adam Driver is a popular white guy, so a lot of people are jumping to his defense, though he hasn’t even been trending on Twitter, which indicates a disturbing lack of interest in a serious allegation of seriously bad behavior. One common refrain is that there are no other stories like this about Driver—except for those DeuxMoi rumors—so why believe this one? Well, why would Lidia Franco lie? As with any woman who comes forward about assault, there is no gain, only pain. Also, it is entirely possible to not be a rage monster and still lose your temper so badly you do something intensely regrettable, as a one-off. We’ve never again heard about Christian Bale berating people on set, but he did it that one time. On the other hand, many people are pointing to Driver’s military background—he joined the Marines after 9/11—as a reason that he MIGHT have anger issues today. (Stans, it’s one thing or the other, either he’s a normal dude who lost his cool, or he has anger issues, pick a lane.) But that just seems like using real issues of PTSD to mask plain ol’ bad behavior, which is not a good look.
So far, there has been no response from anyone in Camp Driver, or from anyone who worked on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. If Franco’s remarks don’t draw more attention, there will be no incentive to make a comment, and thus Lidia Franco will be hung out to dry even though, again, there is zero reason for her to make something like this up. It’s especially hard to imagine making up such a story about someone as well respected within the industry as Driver—he’s a very big deal. Terry Gilliam said The Man Who Killed Don Quixote only got made, after decades in development hell, because of Driver’s interest. His next film is Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. After that he’s got 65, a film from the co-writers of A Quiet Place—John Krasinski would like you to think he did it all on his own, but he worked off a script originally written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods—and then he’ll star as murdered fashion magnate Maurizio Gucci in a biopic titled Gucci.
Adam Driver is big business. A lot of people are invested in him. For sure more people are invested in him than are invested in Marilyn Manson at this point (which is why so many have cut ties with Manson in the wake of Evan Rachel Wood’s abuse allegations, there isn’t much to lose there). Power plays a big role in how these kinds of allegations shake out. Never forget that Harvey Weinstein only went down after YEARS of rumors of debts and money problems and no hit films—he wasn’t making people money. Driver is still making a lot of people money, so the protection brigade is probably organizing even now. If we hear anything at all about this from Driver—and that’s a big if, because right now, with no trending momentum, he could probably just ignore it altogether—it will probably be an “I’m sorry you’re upset” non-apology. It sure seems like Lidia Franco is owed more than that, though.