Do you ever pause and think about how strange it is that people are shocked—shocked—when a famous person does something... normal? Like when Jake Gyllenhaal eats a salad alone in public (WEIRD), or Anne Hathaway picks up her dog’s poop (BIZARRE), or Leonardo DiCaprio hangs out with his extremely young girlfriend on a yacht (wait, no). Today offers another very good example of this phenomenon, as The Daily Beast reports that Adam Driver walked out on a recent NPR interview because he didn’t like hearing a clip of himself. The actor was appearing on Fresh Air to discuss his role in Marriage Story, the new drama and unexpected meme factory from Noah Baumbach. The interview was slated to air last week, but was replaced with a repeat of an interview with Conan O’Brien. Fresh Air producer Danny Miller confirmed that Driver, who was recording his end of the chat at NPR’s New York studio, left while host Terry Gross played a clip of the actor singing “Being Alive” from the musical Company during a key scene in Marriage Story.
It seems that Gross and her team at Fresh Air were aware of Driver’s discomfort with listening to and/or watching clips of himself. During a 2015 interview with Gross, the actor expressed as much when she played a clip of his work. “I don’t want to hear the bad acting that probably was happening during that clip,” said Driver. When Gross inquired further, the actor replied:
Yeah, no, I’ve watched myself or listened to myself before, then always hate it. And then wish I could change it, but you can’t. And I think I have, like, a tendency to try to make things better or drive myself and the other people around me crazy with the things I wanted to change or I wish I could change.
Driver has made mention elsewhere of how difficult it is for him to listen or see himself perform. In a New Yorker profile published this year, Driver said watching himself at a premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens made him feel “nauseous”; profile author Michael Schulman referred to the issue as a “phobia.” Whatever the case may be, there are very few people who actually enjoy seeing or listening to recordings of themselves (masochists and psychopaths, all of them), so Driver’s desire to avoid being subjected to it is both completely understandable and natural. Normal, even. Wow, what a weirdo.