With three seasons, 27 episodes, and an Emmy nomination under his belt, Adam Driver still hasn’t watched more than one episode of “Girls.” When he tried to watch the pilot with the show’s creator and star, Lena Dunham, he couldn’t do it.
“I was like, ‘I can’t do this, ’cause I just keep seeing mistakes,’ ” he says. “I would just replay it in my head over and over again, driving myself crazy…everyone else around me crazy. I just thought that that didn’t seem to be very helpful for who he [character Adam Sackler] was. He seems very messy and not so concerned with the look of it. It seemed to get in my way more than help.”
Of course, Adam Sackler has matured and grown since that first season. As the love interest of Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, we first met Adam when he was sleeping with Hannah then disappearing for two weeks without answering any of her texts. We loved to hate him, while Hannah hated to love him.
“I remember when it first aired, people on the street were like, ‘You’re an asshole—but we like you!’ ” Driver says. “Then as the first season got more into it, people seemed nicer.”
Driver laughs at the notion that Adam is the quintessential “lovable asshole” archetype. “Being liked or thinking that people would actually see it or making a likable character never really crossed my mind,” he says. While Adam became easier for the audience to love over the second and third seasons, he hasn’t become easier to play for Driver.
“Every day is challenging. I never feel like you show up to sets and you’re like, ‘Oh, I kind of got this character.’ It’s always like, ‘Is this what I was doing before? Is this even how this person is anymore?’ ” Driver says. “I don’t know what it looks like on the outside, but on the inside it just feels like throwing shit at a wall sometimes, and you don’t know what makes sense or what doesn’t.”
The process is made simpler by conversations Driver has with Dunham and co-writer–executive producer Jenni Konner, saying they “have better ideas than anything I could possibly think of. We’re starting Season 4 and we’re still having just as many conversations.”
In the third season, Driver says Adam “hopefully turned into someone who’s very three-dimensional,” as evidenced by his generosity when his sister moves in and his sharp disapproval of some of Hannah’s more selfish attitudes.
Driver doesn’t necessarily see himself as Adam, but has a close relationship with and dedication to him. “It’s like…he’s in the back of my mind even when we’re in the off season,” he says. “We never quite, like, let go of it when we’re not shooting.”
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