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Talking about a movie as emotionally intense as writer/director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story almost always leads to the question of just which scene was the toughest to shoot. Be it a test of technical mastery, or a moment of peril, there’s always that one day on set that manages to be a squeaker. Only, in the case of actor Adam Driver’s time on Baumbach’s latest film, every day felt pretty tough to him.
At a recent roundtable interview, Driver laid out his thinking related to the movie in these terms:
Usually there’s like one scene in a movie or maybe two that you’re dreading. With this one, every scene felt like it’s all too early in the schedule. It’s too early… and then maybe we can put it to next week, but then next week’s was worse. Again, I think that’s a testament to good writing. Every scene felt [like] the stakes were incredibly high. They all felt urgent. They all felt necessary. There wasn’t a part that you could take out where the movie would survive without.
The tale of a couple going through a taxing divorce, Marriage Story sees Adam Driver and co-star Scarlett Johansson through various phases of their character’s ultimately doomed coupling. The concept of this film alone feels like it’s a rough one to get through, no matter if it’s merely reading its script or actually watching it. But to have to live through those moments on set, as opposed to similar but more blockbuster moments on a set like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, has to be the greatest challenge of all. And Driver is no stranger to that hypothesis.
This whole line of thought stemmed from a question from the moderator of THR’s Actor Roundtable, one where Adam Driver was asked about which scene was the toughest in the entirety of Marriage Story’s production to engage with. And just as you see above, plus in remarks made by Driver earlier in that conversation, the uniformly difficult nature of this very emotional story ran consistently through the entire production. Something that the actor attributes to the “good writing” that Noah Baumbach put into this very personal tale.
Reading that entire response from Adam Driver not only has me worried about watching Marriage Story this coming weekend, as it debuts on Netflix tomorrow, but it also has me more intrigued to do so. With our own Sean O’Connell giving the film a perfect 5 star review, labeling the film as a “broken relationship, but two of the year’s best performances,” it’s starting to feel like I might not have enough tissues to take this in one sitting.
It’s been an interesting year for Netflix, as the company has landed several highly-acclaimed films that have been released in 2019, and seem to be continuing that trend with Marriage Story. The movie is hitting the schedule just a few short weeks after Martin Scorsese's The Irishman released wide to streaming as well.
The public will now have their chance to weigh in on just how hard this emotional story hits, as it will be on Netflix’s streaming platform as of tomorrow, and is currently in limited theatrical release. And if you like your Adam Driver a little more upbeat and brooding, you’ll be able to check him out in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens in theaters on December 20th.