Adam Driver explains how his time in the Marines changed his perception of heroism

65 star Adam Driver is a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Predator. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection)

65 Star Adam Driver is a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger predator. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection)

According to Adam Driver, it was Away too young when he first saw Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscular soldier fight an intergalactic bounty hunter in John McTiernan’s 1987 action classic, predator. “predator was part of my DNA when it shouldn’t have been,” the 39-year-old actor tells Yahoo Entertainment with a laugh. “The whole ending is a damn masterpiece! From the minute he falls from the waterfall to the end, [action movies] it doesn’t get any better.”

Fast forward to 2023 and Driver is headlining his own version of a sci-fi survival action film. 65 Written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods – the duo who dreamed it up A quiet place – Produced by Sam Raimi, Garn follows Driver’s alien pilot Mills whose spaceship crashes on a prehistoric Earth. With all of the ship’s cryogenically frozen passengers dead, Mills must get off the planet before it’s eaten by hungry dinosaurs or obliterated by a climate-altering comet. The high-concept combo of forest-based set pieces, giant reptiles, and a well-armed main character makes it 65 play like a cross between First blood, land of the lost and of course, predator. Not that Driver would ever dream of comparing himself to a genre icon like Ah-nulld.

“That’s a huge compliment, but I think we’re in completely different categories,” he says humbly when mentioning the names of Stallone and Schwarzenegger in reference to his own line of action heroes. “I wasn’t like, ‘Here I am going on set and I’m just crushing protein bars and bullying people.’ It was more exciting for me that this movie had big set pieces and laser guns, but my character’s anger and aggression comes from a place of real pain, which grounded the character for me.”

Watch our interview with Adam Driver on YouTube

The directors, on the other hand, have no qualms about calling Driver one of Hollywood’s last true action heroes. “Adam might as well be Tom Cruise to us,” says Woods. “He is a Great action actor. He does all of his own stunts and he loves to integrate the stunt work with the physicality of what the role requires as part of the character’s arc.”

Beck adds that Driver’s 65 Character was inspired by Sigourney Weaver’s groundbreaking twist, as was Ellen Ripley in the extraterrestrial Franchises – particularly with James Cameron Foreigner, which hit theaters at the height of Schwarzenegger and Stallone’s run in the ’80s. Much like Ripley in this 1986 film, it is revealed that Mills faces a future without his beloved daughter, whose illness could kill her before returning with the funds to pay for much-needed medical care.

“There was this calm nuance that Sigourney was able to pierce amidst the Stallones [of that time]’ explains the director. “We had that in mind when we wrote Mills. He has to play someone who can run the business and go toe-to-toe with these dinosaurs, but he also has to deal with grief and loss. We wanted those two aspects to be present on his journey and see how he evolves as he tries to survive against this landscape.” Beck and Woods even gifted Mills with his own Newt. It turns out that a young girl, Koa (Araina Greenblatt), survived the crash and is following the pilot on his perilous jungle run.

Driver and Ariana Greenblatt in 65. (Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Driver and Ariana Greenblatt in 65. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection)

If predator reflects the types of action heroes Driver rooted for growing up, 65 reveals the action hero he wants to be. “As you get older, you feed off of a whole different film world, and what I love about a film like this is the variety and scope,” he notes. “This film doesn’t let the spectacle distract from the characters. They’re not ciphers of people – they’re hopefully nuanced people cheering you on.”

Driver’s attitude toward heroism changed significantly after his pre-Hollywood stint in the military. The San Diego-born actor enlisted in the Marines after the September 11 terrorist attacks and served two years before being discharged on medical parole after suffering a serious mountain bike injury. He remains active in military causes to this day and founded the non-profit group Arts in the Armed Forces in 2006. (The organization disbanded in February.)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Staff Sergeant, US Army Michael Kacer and actor Adam Driver attend during the New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation's 10th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event on November 1 at The Theater im Presenting Madison Square Garden, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Bob Woodruff Foundation)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, left, and Adam Driver attend the 10th Annual Stand Up for Heroes in 2016. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Bob Woodruff Foundation)

Prior to his enlistment, Driver’s perception of soldiers was largely shaped by hyper-masculine action heroes like Schwarzenegger’s predator Character. But when he became a Marine himself, he found that the image of the purely “aggressive” and emotionless soldier is largely inaccurate. “Even the toughest guy, if you get down to it, can be emotionally available,” he says. “The stereotype is that [soldiers] are inaccessible and that’s a total myth.”

During his time as a Marine, Driver also understood that soldiers are essentially human — something he says civilians don’t always understand. “They decided to do this heroic thing that they wouldn’t see it like that,” he explains. “They have exactly the same problems [as everyone else]they are only human in these extraordinary circumstances.”

“I feel like civilians see them more as these over-disciplined guys, and there’s that element, but they’re also capable of more emotion,” Driver continues. “That’s why it’s all the more important that there are rooms for people after the deployment. We live in a world full of acronyms, but it’s people like everyone else who have chosen to do this extraordinary work, and it’s hard for people not to think of them as a stereotype.”

65 is in cinemas now Adam Driver explains how his time in the Marines changed his perception of heroism

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