Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver (Photo: Jake Naughton)


Minnie Driver on #MeToo: I got off lightly with Weinstein

This week, the actress reflected on her experience with Weinstein, how #MeToo could lead to better sex and revealed why she’s fed up with women being called “outspoken”

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By Rachael Sigee on

Minnie Driver understands the irony that Harvey Weinstein told her she was “not fuckable”.

In 1997, the Miramax producer – who was at the height of his powers (and in the middle of a horrific pattern of sexual abuse) – made it very clear that he didn’t want Driver to be cast in Good Will Hunting. He told actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, director Gus Van Sant, producers and the casting director that he didn’t want her to play Skylar. He made phone calls in Hollywood offering the role to other actresses.

The reason? That she was “not fuckable”.

Speaking at a New York Times event about the #MeToo movement in London last night, Driver recalled: “I remember him taking me aside and going ‘I’m doing you a huge favour telling you this because you need to go for parts where it’s not going to be a problem’,” Driver says.

“I remember first of all wanting to cry because every girl wants to think that she’s attractive, and then I was looking at this dude going, ‘What, he’s the great arbiter of who is attractive? No!’ But even at 23 or 24 I was terrified of him, that he was right.”

Ultimately Weinstein was overruled on the Good Will Hunting set, but when The New York Times broke the Weinstein story last October, Driver got calls from several actresses she knows – “They were like ‘You’re the only one he said he wouldn’t fuck. How are you feeling about that?’ And I was like, ‘I’m actually feeling pretty good right now’... I got off lightly with him; I really did.”

Although Driver did not experience abuse at the hands of Weinstein, she has talked openly about being a survivor of sexual assault and spoke candidly about #MeToo and her experiences in front of the London audience, which included her mother, aunt, sister and nephew.

The 48-year-old British actress (who recently became a US citizen and is based in LA) was adamant that “we talk about sexual harassment and it’s not about sex. It’s about power.”

She refuses to accept the excuse that people might be from different generations.

“We are human beings and we know the difference. This idea of not knowing where the line is to cross. We know the line. It’s just that we’ve all sanctioned that particular kind of male power by women not feeling that they able to speak up, not being confident to speak up. By men feeling they can do what they want to do and then being horrified when someone says, ‘You might need to change your behaviour’.”

Men and women having further conversations about what is sexually appropriate and what is OK is not a bad thing. Catherine Deneuve thinks it’s going to be the death of romance. I think it’ll probably lead to better sex

“Men and women having further conversations about what is sexually appropriate and what is OK is not a bad thing. Catherine Deneuve thinks it’s going to be the death of romance. I think it’ll probably lead to better sex.”

Being interviewed by Jodi Rudoren, associate managing editor of The New York Times, who has recently been involved with establishing the paper’s #MeToo Moment newsletter, Driver talked about how the movement needs to go beyond what she calls “the beautiful ciphers in Hollywood” and identified herself as “a straight, white amplifier”.

She discussed how she had been attacked in the press for criticising her ex-boyfriend and colleague Matt Damon’s comments on the movement.

“He represented every intelligent, nice, white male who feels it is their job to comment on the way that women metabolise stuff. And what he happened to be talking about in this instance is how women should metabolise abuse. That we should somehow have a hierarchy system whereby a touch on the arse is this, the tits is this… front bottom, back bottom, over the shirt, rape. That there could be some kind of criteria.”

She denied saying that all men should “shut up”, instead explaining: “When I said that men need to listen, it was that they need to listen to women speak about their assault without being prescribed. I said the time now is for you to listen. I didn’t say anything about staying silent ad infinitum. There is no way to move forward unless we do this together. When I think about this movement, I think about the model of truth and reconciliation.”

Describing the movement as “an insurgency” and joking: “I don’t like using the word patriarchy; it’s so… patriarchal”, Driver was particularly critical of the language used to describe women who are speaking out in the wake of #MeToo.

“The Telegraph the other day called me outspoken and I realised if you invert that, it’s speaking out. Which has these great positive connotations and is neutral in a way. But outspoken is not. Outspoken was uppity, female, getting above her standing, speaking above where she’s supposed to be. Super passive-aggressive but utterly germane to men commenting on women and it really pissed me off. What is ‘outspoken’ but ‘speaking out’? And we have to do that.”

But, despite Driver emphasising the importance of speaking up, she was supportive of the sometimes-controversial red-carpet protests seen at the Golden Globes and the Baftas when asked: “Did it really make a difference for the women to be in sexy black dresses instead of sexy multi-coloured dresses?”

“I don’t think that was the point,” she answered. “I think the point was, in the same way that kneeling during the national anthem was a peaceful protest, it was a protest.”

“On one night for women to get together and show solidarity, what a good way for them to do that. I feel it’s commendable; I really do. And maybe not in a huge way but it keeps the conversation going. It keeps it going forward.”



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Minnie Driver (Photo: Jake Naughton)
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