Adam Driver may be one of the most confusing talents in Hollywood today.
Is he handsome? Is he ugly?
Is he a great actor? Is he just good?
Is he actually just a cat?
What we do know, however, is that when he’s on, he’s really on. He has the power to elevate projects like Marriage Story and The Report. He has demonstrated considerable range throughout his career, and above all else, deepened any character he’s appeared as. Driver’s versatility deserves more screen time, and while the entirety of the internet seems to be thirsting for Driver as a young Severus Snape, I believe there are a number of roles better suited to his particular talents.
1. Howl – Howl’s Moving Castle
Netflix seems keen on producing live-action adaptations of beloved classics that no one wants. Howl’s Moving Castle is a smoothly rolling tale of mystery and action, revolving around the eccentric wizard Howl. Howl was originally voiced by Christian Bale in the 2004 film, and if anyone can live up to that billing, it’s Driver.
In the film, Howl grapples with his military duty to his country whilst slowly descending into a monstrous madness that begins to manifest physically. We’ve seen Driver portray handsome and moody as well as anyone, and his work as Ben Solo/Kylo Ren demonstrate his ability to wield ever-encroaching darkness with ease.
2. Victor Von Doom – Fantastic Four
In my opinion, no screen actor has done Victor Von Doom justice thus far, but I strongly believe that Driver has the chops for it. Von Doom is as well-known for his commanding presence as his ever-present faceplate. Driver’s quiet intensity lends itself well to Von Doom’s machinations for global dominance. At 6’2”, he cuts an imposing figure, and we already know he looks great in a hooded cape.
Above all else, Driver strikes a balance between the less-than-ideal live action portrayals of the past. Julian McMahon (2005, 2007) was charismatic and slimy, at the expense of the character’s purported brilliance. Toby Kebbell (2015) took the character too far in the I’m-so-smart-so-I-hate-people direction. With Driver behind the mask, we may yet get a Doom with believable braininess – a la The Report – and human relatability – a la anything else Driver’s been in.
3. Macbeth – Macbeth
If I haven’t convinced you of Driver’s gravitas with the last two castings, give me one more shot. It seems unlikely that we’re going to get an interpretation of Macbeth any time soon, but Shakespearean retellings are timeless and studios love timeless.
Driver has already proven himself worthy of roles in classic retellings with his appearance as Toby in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and we’ll soon witness his medieval acting chops in the forthcoming The Last Duel (2021).
King Macbeth is a greedy, haunted man who falls victim to his own hubris and is revived by the Force. No, wait. King Macbeth is a greedy, haunted man who falls victim to his own hubris and gets his head chopped off. It’s not a stretch to envision Driver as a battle-hardened former general, grasping at straws and witches to keep himself in power.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to listen to Adam Driver croak his way through a regicidal monologue?
4. Will Navidson – House of Leaves
Given how much the form affects the story, we will probably never see a plausible film version of House of Leaves. If we did, however, Driver would be my top choice to play the central player of The Navidson Record. Navidson is depicted as an ever-curious everyman whose career as a war photographer has imprinted on him indelibly. As a former active-duty Marine, Driver brings a realism to that aspect of Navidson, while also bringing the everyman qualities he has showcased throughout his filmography. In films like BlacKkKlansman and The Report, Driver’s ability to draw on his characters’ personal motivations adds significant depth to them in ways that many horror-heavy leading men can’t muster.
5. Lawrence Jamieson – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I know, I know. Steve Martin and Michael Caine are irreplaceable as Freddy Benson and Lawrence Jamieson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but hear me out. Adam Driver is a funny guy. And he excels as the straight man, as we saw in Logan Lucky. He’ll likely flex his comedic acting chops again in 2021 alongside Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, Inception) in Annette.
Driver could breathe reinvigorated life into the suave and sophisticated Jamieson opposite a rising star like Joe Keery (Stranger Things) or Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You, Atlanta) as Benson. His deadpan deliveries could rival Caine’s in the reboot you didn’t know you wanted until right now.