Marine Grunt Turned ‘Star Wars’ Villain Adam Driver Wants To Make You A Star

Entertainment
Actor Adam Driver poses for a portrait at the Shangri-La Hotel during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Toronto.
Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Adam Driver, the Marine infantry veteran who left the Corps and made a career as a television star on HBO’s Girls before landing the role of Kylo Ren in the Star Wars reboot, is launching a playwriting contest for current and former service members.


The contest will offer a $10,000 prize, called the Bridge Award, for the best full-length play written by an active duty service member or veteran. It’s being put on by Arts in the Armed Forces, a nonprofit Driver founded in 2008 to serve as a matchmaker between mil vets and influencers in the arts.

“There’s no reason to think that this community doesn’t have anything to say,” Driver, told The New York Times in November. “Maybe they don’t have access to another way of saying it.”

In addition to the 10-large, the winner will see their play performed by professional actors in New York or at their military base — if they’re still in uniform — and will be honored at an Arts in the Armed Forces show on Broadway in November 2018, according to Stars and Stripes. Submissions for the contest don’t need to have a military theme, but they’re due by March 1.

Driver joined the Marines shortly after 9/11 and served just under three years as a mortarman, before he was medically discharged following a mountain biking accident that broke his sternum. After wartime service was no longer an option for Driver, he went on to study drama at the Juilliard School in New York City.

Related: From Marine Grunt To Star Wars Villain: A Conversation With Adam Driver »

“Suddenly I was exposed to playwrights and these characters and these plays. And for the first time, I became aware of the value of expressing yourself and putting language to feelings,” Driver told Task & Purpose in April 2016. “It felt like that was missing from my military experience.”

In the years since, he’s maintained strong ties with the military community, both on and off the set.

While the military has a reputation as a community of jocks rather than film and theater buffs, there’s a number of burgeoning writers and artists in uniform; some services, like the Marines — sometimes we write with Crayons instead of just eating them — have tapped into this nascent nerd community for ideas on what future wars might look like.

It's this cohort of creatives that Driver is keen to tap into — and provide an outlet for.

“The military has acronyms for acronyms that can explain everything,” Driver told the Times. “But when it comes to explaining an experience, a post-traumatic experience, there’s not a lot of opportunities.”

For those interested in submitting a screenplay, submissions are open from Dec. 1 to March 1 on the Arts in the Armed Forces website.

WATCH NEXT:

Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.

Read More Show Less
In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. (Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban have sent a delegation to Russia to discuss prospects for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan following the collapse of talks with the United States this month, officials from the insurgent group said.

The move, days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.

Read More Show Less
Joe Heller (Legacy.com)

Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.

"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.

The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.

Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.

Read More Show Less

A 19-year-old man who planned a July mass shooting at a West Lubbock hotel that was thwarted by his grandmother was upset that he was considered "defective" by the military when he was discharged for his mental illness, according to court records.

William Patrick Williams faces federal charges for reportedly lying on an application to buy the semiautomatic rifle he planned to use in a shooting, according to a federal indictment filed Aug. 14.

He is charged with a federal felony count of making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm on July 11, a day before he planned to lure people out of a hotel and shoot them. The charge carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Read More Show Less
A photograph circulated by the U.S. State Department's Twitter account to announce a $1 million USD reward for al Qaeda key leader Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, is seen March 1, 2019. (State Department via Reuters)

Reuters) - Hamza bin Laden, a son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation, the White House said on Saturday.

Read More Show Less