Adam Driver has emerged as a prominent figure in Hollywood, renowned for his notable roles like Kylo Ren in the “Star Wars” saga and Maurizio Gucci in “House of Gucci.” However, before his meteoric rise as an actor, Driver traversed a diverse path that included military service in the Marines.
Raised in Mishawaka, Indiana, Driver’s early aspirations gravitated toward acting, a passion he pursued during his high school years. With aspirations set on attending the prestigious Juilliard School for performing arts, his hopes were dashed when he faced rejection from the esteemed institution. This setback led Driver down a different path.
The seismic impact of the 9/11 attacks spurred Driver to enlist in the military. Motivated by a desire to defend his country in the wake of the tragedy, he articulated, “It wasn’t against Muslims. It was: We were attacked. I want to fight for my country against whoever that is.” This resolve propelled him towards the Marines, known for their demanding training and challenges.
Embracing the Marines, Driver found a deep sense of pride in his service, describing it as one of his most cherished accomplishments. Yet, his journey through military training was arduous, extending far beyond physical endurance. Recounting his experiences, he detailed the emotional strain of being separated from family for extended periods, coupled with the demanding physical trials, such as enduring intense nerve strikes until numbed, emblematic of the Marine Corps’ relentless conditioning to conformity.
However, Driver’s stint in the Marines was curtailed unexpectedly. A mountain biking accident led to a sternum fracture, resulting in his medical discharge after two years and eight months of service. Despite this abrupt departure, he retained the title of lance corporal, but the realization that his military journey was cut short was profoundly challenging for Driver, taking him considerable time to reconcile.
Driven by a thirst for new challenges, he sought to re-enter Juilliard, equating the difficulty of gaining admission to the rigorous demands of Marine training. Reflecting on the contrasts, he admitted, “The stakes are different. You have the risk of getting shot or killed in one and just embarrassed in the other.” His reapplication bore fruit, marking a pivotal turning point in his life’s trajectory.
The acceptance into Juilliard heralded a significant shift for Driver, launching him onto a different path that eventually led to his prominence in the entertainment industry. His journey from the Marines to Juilliard underscored his resilience, determination, and ability to navigate diverse challenges, cementing his status as an actor of considerable depth and versatility.