Minnie Driver never fitted the Hollywood mould, says Sophie Heawood in The Guardian. Unlike all those American “beaming blondes”, the London-born actress had “bundles of brown curls, freckles, a different shape and a different personality”. When she auditioned for Good Will Hunting, aged 26, the producers didn’t think she was “hot enough”. “They were probably right,” says Driver. “I had other qualities.”
These didn’t go unnoticed, and Driver clinched the part and an Oscar nomination. She also fell in love with co-star Matt Damon. The relationship only ended when, much to Driver’s surprise, he announced that he was single in an TV interview with Oprah. Still, being young and unattached in Hollywood was “really fun”. After Damon, Driver dated John Cusack and was engaged to Josh Brolin. Once she drove past a film poster with three famous actors on it: “I realised I’d shagged a whole billboard!”
But despite the early Oscar nomination and high-profile boyfriends, Driver began to distance herself from Hollywood. Now 51, she lives with her partner in Malibu and still acts – but her main job is running a production company. It’s called Huge Fan, “because that’s what Hollywood phoneys” always say to her. “It might be someone else’s idea of failure that I didn’t stay being a huge movie star”, but I simply “did not have the appetite”.
Besides, Driver has never stuck to the straight and narrow. Her father, the millionaire financial adviser Ronnie Driver, always said she was the sort of girl who would wear red to a funeral. When he died, she did just that.