This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career.
Even though he’s only in the film for a few minutes, Adam Driver is one of the most talked-about actors in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Of course he is, because when he’s on screen you can’t look at anything else. It’s that combination of rugged handsomeness and gigantic freakishness that captures your attention, and a lot of it has to do with our familiarity with him being almost solely from his role on Girls. This year he also got to break out a little more with Frances Ha, but he’s still fairly new to acting, having been a United States Marine just over a decade ago. Really, he’s had a fast rise to a scene stealing bit part in a Best Picture hopeful (and I might actually be referring to last year’s Lincoln, or maybe the previous year’s J. Edgar?), since he only graduated from Julliard in 2009.
It was that year that he scored his first screen credit in an episode of The Unusuals. In 2010, he acted in a pilot for an HBO series called The Wonderful Maladys, which wasn’t picked up. But he did wind up on the channel with the movie You Don’t Know Jack, his first feature. Not his first film, though. That would be a short that debuted a few months earlier titled Archangel.
Directed by former Wall Street banker and Scott Rudin assistant-turned producer James Lawler (Lovely, Still), the 8-minute effort was shot and shown in 3D as a teaser for a feature-length version he hoped (is still hoping?) to make. Driver plays a guy who has just killed a bunch of people in cold blood, apparently in a daze, and is about to commit suicide when he gets a mysterious message. The note takes him to a warehouse, where he gets the shit kicked out of him by a woman in leather pants (fashion model Karolina Babczynska). In the middle of the brawl, they’re both revealed to be super-powered creatures, presumably archangels given the title.
Watch the short — not in 3D, sorry — below.
Not long after Archangel premiered, Driver was in another short titled Goldstar, Ohio, out on the festival circuit. The 15-minute film was directed by Michael Tisdale and adapted from his own play about four separate families responding to the death of a loved one after being notified by the Marine Corp. That last bit makes this seem to be a little more personal for the actor than the prior film. Joining Driver in the short, which is based on real documents, are Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mercedes Ruhl, Bill Irwin and Michael Emerson. The whole thing isn’t available, but you can see the trailer below and watch an extended scene with Driver and Stuhlbarg here.
Driver has done two more shorts, both of them directed by photographer Sam Handel and both of them starring the director’s wife, Lauren Ambrose. 2011’s I’m Coming Over is mostly about a place, namely southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Mike Birbiglia, Hamish Linklater and Josh Hamilton are also in it. Watch the Driver-less trailer here. The River debuted this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and follows a very pregnant young woman (Ambrose) just trying to get to a river for a swim. Driver is a guy who works the counter in a shop, according to his appearance in the abridged version of the 12-minute short below.