Adam Driver on Burberry, Megalopolis and why he’s embracing being “boring”

The actor fills us in on his latest campaign with Burberry and his experience shooting Francis Ford Coppola’s “wild” and “ambitious” new film

When I log onto a Zoom call with Adam Driver, the first thing he tells me is that right now, he’s enjoying some time off “being at home for a bit and being very boring, which is coming very easily”.

While Driver’s name uttered in the same breath as the word “boring” seems rather oxymoronic, this sabbatical is much deserved after a bumper decade-and-a-half or so gracing our screens in some of the best-loved films and TV shows of this century. Consider his turn as a simultaneously appalling and endearing boyfriend in Lena Dunham’s Girls, his histrionic performance as villain Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy or his humble embodiment of an introspective bus driver in Jim Jarmush’s Paterson: Driver approaches every role – each often a radical departure from the last – with nuance and curiosity. It’s no wonder he’s one of the most in-demand actors working today.

It’s safe to say that Driver’s downtime will be short-lived as he gears up for a bumper year. He’s currently the face of Burberry’s latest fragrance release, Burberry Hero Parfum, which is the latest iteration in the iconic Burberry Hero series (following the Hero Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum). Driver was drawn to work with the British heritage brand because of its “long history and tradition of quality, and this seemed like something intrepid for them that they hadn’t done before”. Plus, with Jonathan Glazer directing the campaign and Mario Sorrenti as photographer, “It seemed like a good mix of people to be making decisions with”.

This year also sees the highly anticipated release of Francis Ford Coppola’s long-gestating and self-financed Megalopolis, a sci-fi epic with a stacked cast. We don’t know much about the film, besides the basic premise: a woman named Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel) is divided between loyalties to her father, Frank (Forest Whitaker) and her progressive architect lover, Caesar (Driver), who wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster.

It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing for Driver to agree to Megalopolis. His reason for signing up to the film was simple: “Because it was Francis,” he says, matter-of-factly. “[Coppola] had been wanting to make it for a long time and it was an ambitious, wild idea and it felt kind of like a revolt, in a way, because he was paying for it himself.”

Making the film was “one of the best shooting experiences” Driver has ever had. “There wasn’t a lot of conversation,” he says. “With typical sets, there can be a lot of ancillary things, or distractions, that kind of pull you away from the thing you’re making, and working on [Megalopolis] felt very organic and like a conversation that Francis and I started that just lasted four months. It was great.”

So, what can audiences expect? “The movie itself is wild and it’s hard for me to think of a film precedent for it,” Driver says. “It’s so ambitious and ambition on that scale is something that I don’t know will be seen again.”

With a hectic year ahead, Driver is embracing exercise to quiet his mind and get his body in peak physical condition. “If I haven’t exercised for a while, even a couple of days, I start to go nuts,” he says. His preferred form of exercise is running. “Because it’s endurance. I can drift off and you can just kinda run forever once you get in the zone. The endorphin fix.”

It turns out this short period of downtime – of being “very boring” – is essential to maintaining Driver’s, well, drive. “I’m finding balance as much as possible, which everyone’s on this ever-evolving quest to find. But, he admits, “I’m not even sure if there is such a thing”.

Want to know what else to watch this year? These are the films to look forward to in 2024...

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