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Q&A: 'Girls' Star Adam Driver on the Unexpected Appeal of Adam Sackler

'I've had a lot of guys come up to me and feel the need to say, 'Dude, I'm totally Adam!' '

June 20, 2012 12:30 PM ET
adam driver
Adam Driver in 'Girls.'
Jojo Whilden

Over the past few months, Adam Driver bicycle-kicked his way into our hearts as the same-named boyfriend you love to hate (hate to love? both?) of Lena Dunham's Hannah on HBO's Girls. Adam eschewed shirts, accidentally fired off inappropriate pics – and ended up being the most talked about character on the show. 

Seeing as how the season finale aired earlier this week and the stills from Girls' second season have already started popping up online, it seemed like the perfect time for Rolling Stone to probe Driver about the show's cringe-worthy sex scenes, whether or not guys identify with his character and why he still hasn't seen the first season. 

Did you anticipate that people would have such a strong love/hate relationship with Adam? 
While were shooting, I wasn't thinking what people's reaction would be. We were just playing the scenes and I didn't really have a thought about interpreting it; I think that would inhibit me. It makes more sense to me to just play the character. I very much trust Lena and what they come up with, though, of course when we work on the scenes, that feels very collaborative. 

How much of Adam is a character? Do you ever take issue with how he's written? I know a lot of people found his character repellent in the beginning.
Adam is definitely a character; I'm not playing myself, but labeling an element of a character would be judging him. I did have to make sense, in my mind, [of] the way he behaved, but he's still a character. Obviously, there are parts of myself that I bring to him to make it real, but it's not my job to make a judgment on a character or to say what's repellent. 

Some of my favorite scenes of the season are those first painful sexual encounters. How much of the details of those are written, and what's improvised?
I haven't seen the show, so I don't know what got into the final cut of it. I remember a lot of it being scripted, than doing a lot of takes, improvising a lot of things. 

You've mentioned before that you haven't watched the first season. Do you think you'll go back and watch it, or do you like not having to deal with all of it?
You make it sound like a burden! [Laughs] No, I watched the pilot a couple months after we shot it and I learned my lesson. Watching it, I kept noticing it things I wanted to change; I just saw the mistakes. I got in my head a little bit. It's never really bothered me not knowing, since I still remember it. A lot of it is scripted, so I know what people are talking about. 

Where there moments in those sex scenes when you as an actor felt awkward?
I'd have to be an alien not to be, but Lena is so comfortable in her body. She really set the tone very early, so she made those scenes comfortable. After awhile, after we were so intimate with each other, it felt natural. At the end, people had to remind us to put clothes on, because we were so used to it. 

Obviously lot of people like Girls because it feels very true-to-life. Have you gotten feedback from other men about how they feel about Adam?
Oh yeah. I've had a lot of guys come up to me and feel the need to say, "Dude, I'm totally Adam! I'm a 45-year-old male" . . . they feel the need to say 'male.' I'm like, 'I know!' [Laughs] They say, "I love the show. My girlfriend made me watch it and now I'm now more obsessed than she is." They want to talk about the sex scenes: "I do the same thing!" Usually their partners are there and it gets awkward. 

Their partners just nodding along.
Yeah. 

Do you have any places you'd like your character arc to go next year? Do you know what's coming up in the second season?
I don't know what happens. I trust what Lena and the writers come up with; it's more exciting that way. 

Do you think these two crazy kids are going to make it?
No idea. 

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