Metro: Adam Driver on Paterson, getting to pick & choose roles after Star Wars
By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada
Paterson, the new movie from director Jim Jarmusch is a week in the life of Paterson, the man and the place.
Adam Driver plays Paterson, a poetry writing New Jersey bus driver from Paterson, New Jersey. He lives with Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), a dreamer who wants to open a cupcake shop and make them rich and their dog Marvin.
Paterson is a wonderfully leisurely movie. There are small conflicts sprinkled throughout, a bus breaks down and lovers quarrel, but Paterson isn’t about that. It’s about gentle, loving performances from Driver and Farahani and the beauty of overheard conversations and the day-to-day of regular life.
After the success of Star Wars and everything else you’ve been in recently, you must get offered every script out there. Why choose this one?
Jim [Jarmusch]. It’s a director’s medium so if I get lucky enough to work with great directors, that’s the only thing as far as a game plan I have. I have gotten to do that with really great people and it feels good. I’m lucky in that I get to choose things now, but choose things from what I’m offered. The scale doesn’t matter.
So it doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting for twenty days or you’re gone for six months? Is it just the love of acting?
Yes. It’s a very strange job. It seems you get to do your job twenty percent of the time and then you talk about it forever. For me the doing of it is the best. The things surrounding it don’t matter. Trailers, money, they don’t matter if you get to work with really great people. Then hopefully what you’re making is bigger than any one person and it feels relevant, as much as you can attach meaning to your job. The love of collaborating with people who are on the same page and want to make the best version of it is really exciting.
I think you can attach meaning. Movies like this are worth talking about…
I don’t like to say what meaning I attach to my work. Half of the experience of watching a play or something in a movie theatre is that everyone is coming from somewhere else. No one lives inside the movie theatre. They’re bring all their baggage and if they’re coming there not ready to be affected then they probably won’t be affected. But whatever meaning they pick out of the movie, that means something to them or doesn’t mean anything to them, is completely subjective.
A movie like Paterson is a beautiful slice of life but it is probably going to speak to the audience that will be very different from say, Suicide Squad, but Paterson isn’t going to make $165 million in its opening weekend.
But for me that makes it valid and interesting.
Really great movies have a longer shelf life. You come back to them later and find new things in them. So many times, and this is so obvious, you watch a movie and you’re not ready for it and you come back to it later because you’re a different person and suddenly it speaks to you in a different way. When they are well crafted they have that shelf life whereas a lot of things are made for one weekend.