Anyone who watched the first season of HBO’s Girls knows that despite the title many of the show’s most memorable moments belonged to a man. Previously unknown actor Adam Driver portrayed Lena Dunham‘s boyfriend in a fashion that turned what could’ve been a one-note a-hole love interest (a la Mr. Big) into a complex, troubled soul who frequently served as the moral center of the series.
Driver’s backstory is every bit as out of the ordinary as his shirt-averse character (also named Adam). Born in small-town Indiana, Driver took an early interest in acting, but failed in his first attempt at making a career of it. He returned from LA broke and with few career options. It was then that Adam chose a path that surprised everyone including himself – he joined the Marine Corps.
“I figured if I was going to go into the military, I might as well choose the toughest path,” says Driver. “I never had the sports thing where I tested my manhood and was a guy and all that stuff before then.” Ironically, he credits the experience with making him a better fit for a show like Girls, saying the Marines taught him to express himself without words. Ater the military, Driver returned home again and completed a degree at the University of Indiana. He moved to New York intent on becoming a stage actor, only to find himself a reluctant TV star…
“TV’s the devil, whatever, but then I read the thing,” says Driver of initially passing on his Girls audition. Like many male viewers, he found himself unexpectedly drawn to a show that was sometimes marketed as a bad Sex and the City knock-off. He’s now at work filming the second season and has nothing but praise for the show’s creator (Dunham) as well as for his cast mates. Ask him about the finished product, however, and Driver has another surprise in store. “I don’t know,” he says. “I haven’t watched the show. I saw the pilot, and I learned my lesson. I can’t help but see the mistakes.”