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:

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Two military bases in Florida and one in Arizona will see heat indexes over 100 degrees four months out of every year if steps aren't taken to reduce carbon emissions, a new study warns.

Read More Show Less

This Veterans Day, two post-9/11 veterans-turned congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation to have a memorial commemorating the Global War on Terrorism built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Read More Show Less

Between 500 and 600 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Syria when all is said and done, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said on Sunday.

Milley's comments on ABC News' "This Week" indicate the U.S. military's footprint in Syria will end up being roughly half the size it was before Turkey invaded Kurdish-held northeast Syria last month.

Read More Show Less
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a fund-raising fish fry for U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."

Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."

Read More Show Less
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a Climate Crisis Summit with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (not pictured) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. November 9, 2019. (Reuters/Scott Morgan)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders promised on Monday to boost healthcare services for military veterans if he is elected, putting a priority on upgrading facilities and hiring more doctors and nurses for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To mark Monday's Veterans Day holiday honoring those who served in the military, Sanders vowed to fill nearly 50,000 slots for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at facilities run by Veterans Affairs during his first year in office.

Sanders also called for at least $62 billion in new funding to repair, modernize and rebuild hospitals and clinics to meet what he called the "moral obligation" of providing quality care for those who served in the military.

Read More Show Less