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Adam Driver On Singing, Surrealism And ‘Annette’

CANNES, France — In Leos Carax’s “Annette,” an enchantingly demented rock opera, Adam Driver sings in some very strange places. On a motorcycle. At sea. In the middle of lovemaking.

Since its premiere last month at the Cannes Film Festival, “Annette” has predictably caused a stir. As you might suspect, opinions tend to differ on absurdist-yet-sincere 140-minute musicals of elaborate melodrama scored by Sparks (the pop duo Ron and Russell Mael) and co-starring a glowing baby (the titular Annette) rendered in the form of a puppet.

And yet, if anyone can agree on anything in “Annette,” it’s that Driver is really good in it. Extraordinary, even. For an actor prone to launching himself fully into the visions of filmmakers, it’s maybe a new pinnacle of rigorous commitment. In even the most out-there parts of “Annette,” Driver is ferociously dedicated and intensely physical. He goes all in. And those more unusual places for song, like in the middle of oral sex? Another new experience.

“It feels very singular,” says Driver. “Like: I won’t be doing this again” — and then he chuckles — “most likely.”

Driver spoke in an interview on a hotel balcony overlooking the Mediterranean during his brief stay in Cannes. Immediately after sharing a cigarette with Carax during the standing ovation for “Annette” at its premiere, he flew out to return to shooting “White Noise” in Ohio with Noah Baumbach. His head, Driver said, was fully immersed in “White Noise.”

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