After "Star Wars," Adam Driver Heads to "Midnight Special"

Most recently seen as Kylo Ren in J.J. Abrams’ global blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Adam Driver now appears in Warner Bros. Pictures' supernatural thriller “Midnight Special.”

In the film, a father (Michael Shannon), goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government.

As the FBI starts to closes in on something for which there is no precedent, they enlist the help of NSA agent Sevier, a bright, instinctual, backpack-toting analyst with a couple days’ worth of beard, played by Adam Driver. He’s not quite government-issue but that doesn’t mean Sevier is any less focused on the job. He just takes a different approach.

“Sevier was probably bored right before he got this case and he’s not used to being in the field,” Driver suggests. “Plus, the circumstances are so ‘out-there’ that he’s actually excited and interested in being there and trying to figure it all out. Being a part of that corporate structure and dealing with all the protocol and the cases, I think there would be so much room for cynicism but, instead, Sevier seems genuinely curious. That’s what I liked about him when I read the script.”

Director-writer Jeff Nichols credits the actor with helping to make Sevier both credible and individual. “Adam worked out details that I hadn’t written or that maybe I’d only started to scratch the surface of. Sevier is very much an analog guy in a digital age, so he has this ridiculous recorder that he puts in front of subjects despite the fact that there are people sitting behind him typing every word into a Macintosh. He’s writing on legal pads. He uses dry-erase boards and sticky notes. But I like that he’s a tactile thinker, and Adam helped me to bring that out in a way that didn’t feel silly but rather human.”

Driver even took him by surprise, Nichols relates: “In one of our first scenes, he comes in with his backpack and throws it down, and his knee hits the table. The backpack falls over and then he has to hunt for his pencil and paper and sort things out. I thought at the time, ‘Should I cut?’ Then I realized he was doing it on purpose. It helps to give his character those qualities we discussed, and also makes him likeable, which is important.”

Additionally, notes producer Sarah Green, “Adam brings a little lightness to a heavy situation because he makes Sevier so charming and earnest.”

But Sevier really shines when he’s alone with his research. It’s there, poring over transcripts of figures and coordinates Alton seemed to pull out of the air, that the agent finally sees patterns emerge. And he’s astonished by what he discovers.

“Midnight Special” will be shown starting April 20 exclusively at Cinema 2000 group of theaters, namely Century City, Commercenter, Eastwood, Festival Mall and Shang Cineplex. The film is distributed in the Philipines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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