Adam Driver's Role In The 'Silence' Trailer Suggests He's A Serious Oscar Contender— VIDEO

If you're a fan of Adam Driver, you'll probably know him from the role that launched him into the spotlight: as Adam Sackler, Hannah's long-suffering former boyfriend on Girls. He gives an effortless comic performance as a grumpy would-be actor that has you laughing at and with him all at once. One of Driver's first major film roles, as Lev Shapiro in 2012's Frances Ha, had him playing a role that wasn't dissimilar. Just like Sackler, Shapiro was a little self-absorbed and rough around the edges, and just as with Sackler, there was plenty of comic potential. But Driver's Silence role, Father Francisco Garrpe, suggests the actor is moving in a new direction.

Martin Scorsese's 2016 film Silence has a very serious premise. It's set in the 17th century (serious), its two main protagonists are Jesuit priests (even more serious) who risk their lives (even even more serious) when they head to Japan to find their mentor and spread Christianity. New direction is perhaps an overstatement. After all, Driver has been plugging away at more serious roles for a little while now. He played Samuel Beckwith in Lincoln and Al Cody in Inside Llewyn Davis . But these were relatively minor roles, whereas here he appears to be taking the next biggest role after Andrew Garfield's protagonist.

New Trailer Buzz on YouTube

While we've already seen him play Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I'm not sure this was the ideal role for him to transition into more serious parts. This wasn't really his fault. There was something about the thematic history of unmasking in the Star Wars franchise (with its associations of a key plot detail being revealed/some essential fact about the character) that meant that, when the previously-intimidating Kylo Ren removed his mask to reveal, sweet, baby-faced Adam Driver's visage, I couldn't help but laugh-choke on my popcorn. I was expecting someone a little scarier looking.

But, in the trailer above, Driver's taken it up a notch. The visuals of the trailer are stunning (it's Scorsese, duh), but Driver's embodiment of the role is even more so. According to Rolling Stone , he has lost around 50 pounds for the part and you can tell. He looks as drawn and intense as you'd imagine any 17th century missionary so dedicated to their job that they'd risk death in Japan to find their mentor might be. And the quiet intensity of Driver's delivery lends itself perfectly to the staccato pacing of the trailer. If this brief trailer is anything to go by, this could be his pass to meatier, more serious roles.

According to Consequence of Sound, this is a serious passion project for Scorsese, who has worked for two decades to secure funding for the film. And, given its December release date, this would make it a contender for the Oscars 2017. Stunning cinematography, pre-Oscar buzz, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver in a surprising new role? I can't wait to see it.

Images: Paramount Pictures (2); New Trailer Buzz/Youtube