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By Andrea Peyser
January 18, 2016
He’s a breath of fresh air in rancid Hollywood, a guy who’s not too busy, egotistical or unpatriotic to give his time, energy and talent to those who need it.
Then, this past weekend, he courted the daft side of the Force by hosting “Saturday Night Live” for the first time.
The 32-year-old Juilliard-educated actor might be best known for playing Adam Sackler, the often emotionally abusive erstwhile boyfriend of Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham), in the HBO series “Girls” — a show that degrades sexually obsessed millennial females the way “Sex and the City” did horny, middle-aged ones.
But who knew that the recently crowned superstud leads a double life?
He’s an actor — and my hero.
Driver is a former Marine. And with some of his peers talking trash about our fighting men and women, he feels compelled to give back to the soldiers who risk their lives, every day, to make our country safe.
I would think this might create awkward dinner-party conversation with Oscar-winning wingnuts such as America-hating El Chapo-lover Sean Penn and documentarian Michael Moore. The rotund filmmaker tweeted his contempt for heroic military sharpshooters, such the late Chris Kyle, played brilliantly by Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper.’’
“We were taught snipers were cowards,” Moore tweeted. “Will shoot u in the back.”
Adam Driver during his time in the Marine Corps.
Driver’s unconventional good looks (he was tormented as a youth for his big ears) just make him appear fascinating in a sea of pretty boybots. He lives in New York City, choosing Brooklyn Heights over Tinseltown, with his wife, actress Joanne Tucker, whom he met while they both studied drama at Juilliard, and married in 2013.
In 2008, Driver and Tucker founded Arts in the Armed Forces. The nonprofit brings thought-provoking, contemporary theater to US military personnel and veterans, folks accustomed to suffering through schlocky USO shows featuring such entertainers as the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
For Driver, it’s personal.
After 9/11, Driver, who at the time lived in Indiana with his mother and stepfather (his parents are divorced), answered the call to serve his country. He enlisted in the Marine Corps. But after serving two years and eight months, he broke his sternum in a mountain-biking accident. His unit deployed to Iraq without him. He was intensely disappointed and embarrassed.
“So I kind of screwed myself in the long run because I wanted to go [to Iraq] so much . . . The idea of not going, someone else going in your place, or not being there is not really an easy thing to sit with,’’ he told NPR. He received a medical discharge.
Learning to express himself through acting helped him make the transition from military to civilian life. And the life of a performer isn’t all that different from serving in the military, he has said.
“The discipline, the self-maintenance, the camaraderie — they’re so similar,” he told NPR.
Language, he told Vice News, is powerful — “It’s just as valuable as any rifle you carry or any tool you can put in your pack.’’
Last month, just before his star rose into the stratosphere, Driver traveled to Kuwait with performers, including Tucker, Natasha Lyonne, Eric Bogosian, Peter Scolari and Sasheer Zamata, to perform monologues for the troops. A video posted online by Vice shows him trying on an 89-pound bomb suit, in 114-degree heat.
I nominate Adam Driver as a hot actor — and a great American. I also must give a shout-out to Gary Sinise, 60, who in 1994’s “Forrest Gump” beautifully played Lt. Dan Taylor, an Army soldier who loses his legs in the Vietnam War.
The politically conservative actor (a rarity in Hollywood) has raised millions of dollars through his Gary Sinise Foundation to build “smart” houses that make life easier for wounded warriors. He also plays bass guitar and sings in the Lt. Dan Band, a rock group that plays on military bases and at fund-raising concerts — and he supports Israel! What a mensch.
There is a glimmer of hope emanating from an entertainment industry dominated by characters who would tear down America rather than build it up. Rock on!