Adam Driver Reacts to White Noise Movie's 'Eerie' Similarities to Real-Life Ohio Train Derailment
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Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Adam Driver
Adam Driver is reflecting on the "bizarre coincidence" between what happens in his film White Noise and the real-life train derailment last month in Ohio.
"It's a very eerie, bizarre coincidence that we were just there making this movie, and some people, who were actually in our movie, were then enacting it in real life," the 39-year-old 65 actor told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday.
The real accident runs strangely parallel to the premise of White Noise, the film adaptation of Don DeLillo's 1985 novel now streaming on Netflix about a freight-train explosion that releases deadly toxins into the air.
"I don't have a frame of reference to process that," Driver said. "It's a terrifying thing that happened and is happening, and to oddly have some distant connection with it is strange."
Life for nearly half of the residents in the Ohio village of East Palestine (population over 4,700), located about 50 miles from Pittsburgh, was upended around 9 p.m. on Feb. 3, when 50 rail cars filled with chemicals and combustible materials ran off the track.
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Gene J Puskar/AP/Shutterstock Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio
RELATED: Ohio Train Derailment Evacuee Is Living a Real-Life Version of the Disaster Movie He Appeared in as an Extra
One of those chemicals was vinyl chloride, a toxic flammable gas. And shortly after the derailment, a massive fire erupted, sending enormous clouds of pitch-black smoke into the air, forcing evacuations on both sides of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
Two days later officials were so fearful that the rail cars filled with vinyl chloride would explode, potentially sending shrapnel over a mile-wide radius, that they vented the chemical into a trench and burned it.
By Feb. 23, officials estimated that the chemical spill likely killed over 43,000 aquatic animals within a 5-mile radius. Around the same time, locals were being diagnosed with bronchitis and other health conditions due to the chemical exposure.
Part of White Noise was shot near the same area in Ohio, which Driver told THR "was very generous to our production when we were shooting there; and a big part of our film is how nebulous information can get when there's no clear plan in place to quickly address situations like this."
"So I hope they get the proper attention and answers, safety and accountability they are looking for," the two-time Oscar nominee added.
Wilson Webb/Netflix Adam Driver in White Noise (2022)
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Ten days after the real-life accident, Ohio resident Ben Ratner, who plays an evacuee extra in White Noise, spoke to PEOPLE about living out a real-life version of the movie's plot.
"Talk about art imitating life," the father of four, 37, said last month. "This is such a scary situation. And you can just about drive yourself crazy thinking about how uncanny the similarities are between what's happening now and in that movie."
Ratner, along with his wife and kids, spent eight days living with friends, relatives and in an Airbnb property before finally returning home three days after the evacuation order was finally lifted.
"Once we got back, we did a lot of cleaning and let the house air out, but all those chemicals that burned create byproducts, like hydrochloric acid, in the form of a film that's been left on the surfaces of our homes," said Ratner, who is not only worried about the long-term health impacts of the disaster but fears how it will affect the economy of his community.
"We still need answers about how to keep our families safe while also maintaining some sort of a regular existence for our kids," he added.