Minnie Driver says hearing from a Good Will Hunting producer that she wasn’t “hot enough” to play her Oscar-nominated role “could have been way more damaging than it was,” but still says as a young Hollywood talent, it was “devastating” to hear.
In a new interview with The Cutthe Starstruck actress opened up about the experiences of breaking out in Hollywood as a 20-something woman, including the intense public interest around her personal life and the damaging things said to actresses about their looks. While speaking about her de ella 2016 revelation de ella — that an unnamed Good Will Hunting producer told her she wasn’t “hot enough” to play the film’s female lead, Skylar, Driver explained why the comment was so damaging at that time.
“It was devastating. To be told at 26 that you’re not sexy when you maybe just got over all your teenage angst and started to think, you know, ‘Maybe, in the right light and the right shoes and the right dress, I’m all right,’” she said.
Driver said comments like the one she received that distill a performer down to their “sexiness” — regardless of whether those statements come from “a man or woman or nonbinary person” — are “so dismissive.”
“By the way, that is something that has not changed — there are still just times when people are like ‘she’s too old’ or ‘she’s too tall,’” the speechless actress said. “I’ve always thought about how things get distilled. There’s this notion of one part of you being ‘the thing’ that will block all these other aspects of who you are. That’s a huge frustration as an actor.”
While Driver admitted she had insecurities about her looks growing up, and working in a culture that told her that looks “were the currency I was meant to pursue,” she didn’t cave to industry pressure — and she’s grateful she didn’t.
“I thank God that I didn’t do a ton of stuff that I could have then gone and done… It could have been way more damaging than it was,” she said. “I had such a lovely family going, ‘Fuck that. You’re gorgeous on all these levels. And if one person doesn’t think that you’re pretty enough, fuck it.’”
The Oscar-nominated actress also reflected on dating costar and Good Will Hunting co-writer Matt Damon during filming, right as the two were breaking out in Hollywood. In 1998, Driver spoke about the split — a break up she learned out about after Damon announced they were no longer together during an interview with Oprah– with the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s horrendous breaking up with someone anyway, but to have it be so public and to be cast in a role that I would never play if they were paying me — this wronged woman!” she said at the time. “It’s unfortunate that Matt went on ‘Oprah’; it seemed like a good forum for him to announce to the world that we were no longer together, which I found fantastically inappropriate. Of course, he was busy declaring his love for me on David Letterman a month previously.”
speaking to The Cutthe actress discussed being “ill-equipped” to date at that age, especially in the public eye.
“Here’s this bumbling human, trying to do this thing. And suddenly this exterior thing starts happening, which is fame, paparazzi,” she said. “Young people are so ill-equipped to deal with these things, which snowball: falling madly in love and then breaking up with someone.”
Driver goes on to talk about how the break-up was complicated even further by the fact that they were both public figures not just running in the same circles, but literally seeing each other’s faces everywhere.
“When you break up with someone, the best thing that you can do is not see them. But when you break up with someone who themselves has just become famous, it is unavoidable that you will see them everywhere. And it is a particular kind of torture,” she explained.
“My best friend, Alex, was the most hilarious person to go through that with,” the actress added. “She was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s another billboard — don’t go out there before you’ve had coffee with rum in it!’ God, what a fucking nightmare!”
Despite all of that, Driver said, “it will always be this lovely, beautiful romance” — an element of it that “never got reported in the press.”
“Don’t get me wrong, there was drama,” she continued. “But there was also my dad holding my hand at the Oscars, just being like, ‘What an extraordinary moment!’ And ‘I’m not going to let you miss this, I’m going to pinch you and make you keep remembering that this might never happen again.’”