You’ll find more actors than not who don’t seem to want to watch themselves on the big screen, perhaps for good reasons. Most of the time, it seems to be because they don’t think they live up to what a “movie star” is supposed to look like. Other times, it’s because the actor is a chronic perfectionist and wishes they could have done a different approach from the final take.
Whatever the reasons are for Adam Driver, he now joins the official camp of those who don’t love watching themselves. In particular, he doesn’t like to see himself acting in the new Star Wars trilogy, not including his other films.
He has given some insight into why, and it probably explains why so many others do the same. It also makes us wonder why other actors don’t mind studying their every nuance.
Driver’s theater background is one reason
Before becoming an A-list movie actor, Driver was known primarily for being a stage actor. That’s always a huge transition in being able to project, something other actors with similar backgrounds had trouble adjusting to. Nevertheless, Driver obviously started small when it came to movie acting.
If you go back just a decade ago or less, he was acting mostly in indie films, with occasional forays into major productions like J. Edgar and Lincoln. He was immediately a standout based on his unique and natural approach to acting.
According to recent sources, Driver admitted he’s not used to looking at his own work since theater is always in the moment. As such, his performances you see on the big screen probably aren’t the truly realized versions he imagines in his head.
During the rare times he has seen his films, it starts to become an obsessive process of wishing he could change his performance to suit the scene. With this alone, we see the beginnings of a typical trait in many actors who never seem satisfied with an end result.
Playing a scene over and over again in his head
Apparently Driver did see The Force Awakens with his family and said he couldn’t handle seeing himself without replaying his scenes over and over internally. It got to the point where he found it self-destructive and not helping him grow as an actor. Besides, he was also worried about what the fan response was going to be to his Kylo Ren killing off Han Solo.
At least he truly understands himself, something not all actors reinforce. Insights like this, though, do seem to open up a wider world into why other actors don’t love seeing themselves.
We’ve certainly seen our share over the years, including some legendary actors decades ago. Current actors who hate watching themselves include everyone from Tom Hanks to Nicole Kidman.
All of them give individual reasons, including just describing the process as “madness” or fear of looking bad on the screen…especially if in IMAX format.
Is it better to let the public judge a performance rather than the actor?
Now that we probably understand the psyches of actors a little better in why they don’t love looking at themselves, perhaps it sets up a good argument for letting the public assess the value of an actor’s performance. Actors still have the right to vote for themselves at the Academy Awards if they truly do enjoy watching their own movies.
On the opposite side, there are some actors who can’t stop watching themselves to study every detail in how they can become better. Whether that’s healthier than not watching is up for psychological debate.
What we think should happen is let the public decide what makes for a great performance. An actor watching themselves is only going to bring bias of seeing things they think they did wrong.
A third-person point of view on performances (and the actor listening to those critiques) is the only way they can get a handle on molding themselves into something the public really wants.