With Annette, The Last Duel and House of Gucci slated for 2021, Breitling ambassador Adam Driver has mastered time management.
Breitling blue dial Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar in stainless steel and 18K red gold, breitling.com PHOTO COURTESY OF BREITLING
For actor Adam Driver, a great watch needs to be reliable and unassuming. Driver works alongside actors Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron as part of Breitling’s “Cinema Squad,” a trio of collaborators united by a shared passion for their craft . Driver’s relationship with Breitling (breitling.com) has given him an education in fine watches; the quality and design of the Premier model he wears provides an authenticity he recognizes and stands behind. With four projects planned for 2021, Watches International seized a rare opportunity to speak with Driver during a break in his schedule. We discussed timing, Driver’s military training and getting into character.
Success in an acting role relies upon authenticity, similar to being an ambassador of a brand like Breitling. What feels authentic with your relationship? A film is not one singular accomplishment. It’s reliant on everybody there supporting you. And the watches themselves look good, and they’re well-made and incredibly accurate, but also have a function and are durable, which I relate to. I think it’s nice that they’re things just made to be beautiful. That’s fine. But usually, I like it when I don’t have to worry about it, where it’s as durable as it is functional.
I read that your experience in the Marine Corps taught you a lot about time management skills, which obviously would be very helpful in preparing to be an actor. Can you talk about some of the skills you learned during that time? You’re just so aware of what you can do in a day when you’re in the military because you’re doing so much. That applied when I went to school at Juilliard; it was great. Because you’re [attending classes] Monday through Friday, but in reality you’re there seven days a week. It’s a conservatory, from 7 in the morning to midnight. Then you go home, pass out, wake up, eat something, go back to what you were doing, rehearse plays in the morning and do a different part at night.
So I was always used to working all day and then collapsing. When I started working as an actor, I didn’t get overwhelmed with all the things that had to happen. I just thought it’s a weird job in that it’s so reliant on time. You’re scheduling things that you’re going to do months in advance. When you do a play, and it’s at 8 o’clock at night or 7 o’clock at night and the stakes are high, you have to be there every night at that specific time. And if the play runs five minutes long, then you’re going to get a note from the stage manager that we need to tighten up our cues, to make sure that we’re keeping in with the story that we all agreed on months ago. So time affects every part of this job.
Tell me about the Arts in the Armed Forces initiative you founded. It’s a nonprofit that I started 12 years ago when I was a student at Juilliard, having just come out of the military. At Juilliard for the first time, I was exposed to all these great playwrights who were articulating feelings I had about the military. I wanted to share that with the military audience, because I thought for sure they would understand how theater and the military were similar. They got what we were doing right away.
A selection of Breitling’s brown dial Super Chronomat B01 44 in 18K red gold and black paired with stainless steel
You know, you don’t need a formal setting to understand. We weren’t reading Shakespeare, [but] August Wilson and Sam Shepard and characters that I thought felt urgent and relatable, and contemporary. We do the play at night, and then we always have a dialogue afterward.
So the average person, when they go into a watch store, they end up aligning with a brand that represents their style and how they want people to perceive them. I would imagine that very much relates to how you get into a character based on wardrobe. How essential are the costumes to you? Does it inform a lot of the character roles that you play? Enormously. It’s a huge piece of a character—especially shoes. Shoes are because you have to be wearing them all day, and they affect how you move. If the clothes are too fitted, it changes your body shape. It changes your impulses, things you want to do. It’s a mass of information about how this person lives their life, if you have only two hours to tell the life of a person. But for me, that really starts with their physicality.
How do they dress? The watch that they have, who gave it to them? Did they go to the store and buy it? Was it a gift from their father or their mother? Was that person important to them? Does it signify something that they’re proud of? Are they ashamed of it, but they wear it because they’re obliged to? All of these things that costume can do for you or help you with the character.
When you wear a Breitling watch, do you get a vibe or a feeling from it? It’s precious yet durable. I don’t think much about the watch that I wear, which is what I like about it.
How do you balance your work time and home time with preparation time and early call times or curtain calls? The good thing about doing a play in New York is like, ‘Oh, I’ll get to be with my family. I’ll be home all day.’ You can’t go to concerts and scream. You need your voice, especially if you’re doing a musical, which I’ve never done... but [that requires] even more self-maintenance. And then you have to show up early if there’s a fight in the play; you have to rehearse that, and that means you have such limited time. And then someone’s counting you down until the play starts, so you’ve got to know when to put your costume on.
You know, I just did a play where I had a later entrance, so you’ve got to be engaged and check in, but not totally checked in, where you’re just waiting in anticipation the entire time. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong. I’ve had experiences where I was waiting in the wings too early, and then I forgot that I had a watch or a costume piece that’s supposed to be in my pocket, so I had to run back upstairs and make it right before you walked onstage. It’s all dictated by time.