In the name of art. Adam Driver had to go to great lengths to play a 17th Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese's historical drama Silence. The Girls actor, 33, opened up about his physical condition after dropping 50 pounds in a new spread for Interview magazine.
The military vet, who stars opposite Andrew Garfield in the movie, shed 30 pounds before production and another 20 while filming. "You’re so hungry and so tired at some points that there’s nothing you can do — you’re not adding anything on top of what you’re doing. You only have enough energy to convey what you’re doing, so it’s great," he recalled. "There are other times where a scene’s not working and you don’t have the energy to figure out why it’s not working."
According to Driver, Scorsese, 74, asked the actors to slim down for the roles. "When the movie begins, the characters have been traveling for two years, from Portugal to Macau, sailed around Africa. There’s disease and a shortage of food. They’re already kind of depleted when they get to Macau before their last leg to Japan. There’s a lot of storytelling happening off camera," Driver explained. "He wanted to see that physically. He asked us to lose a lot of weight. I didn’t know how much that was going to be."
The Star Wars: The Force Awakens star did as directed. In the trailer, which was released November 23, Driver looks gaunt and nearly unrecognizable while bathing shirtless in a lake.
"I can't control what's happening in scenes, but I could control when I ate food. And that visual part of the storytelling, I don't think I've ever taken it to the extreme before," he added to Interview.
Last year, Driver revealed that he took water pills to help him during the process. "It made sense: we were playing Jesuit priests in the 17th century who were starved and beaten. But it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, just because of the physical toll it takes on you," he told The Telegraph at the time. "Plus, you’re waking up three times a night to go to the bathroom because you’re taking all these water pills to drop weight."
Driver didn't have much time to gain back the weight after filming wrapped. He returned to the set of HBO's Girls just three weeks later. Getting back to his normal food intake was satisfying, though. "The first time I had a scoop of peanut butter, I could literally feel my brain turn on," he told The Telegraph. "Suddenly you’re like, 'Oh, my God, I can think again!'"
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