Minnie Driver praises younger actresses for being producers on blockbusters

Minnie Driver has praised younger actresses Zendaya and Margot Robbie for working as producers on their hit films as she recalled how her additions were “completely uncredited”.

The 54-year-old British actress shot to fame after her Oscar-nominated role in 1997’s Good Will Hunting alongside Matt Damon and went on to star in TV series including The Riches and Speechless.

In an interview with The Times magazine, she opened up on how she was “completely and utterly vilified” for speaking up about the sexism she faced in the industry before the #MeToo movement opened up the conversation.

Minnie Driver sat in a red chair on The Graham Norton Show
Minnie Driver (Matt Crossick/PA)

Driver told the magazine: “You try to find a mechanism that could help you, that you could tell someone, ‘This thing is happening, please help me make it stop, but also help make it stop for that person over there and that woman over there.'”

Instead of receiving support, the actress said she was “completely and utterly vilified for being some sort of ‘whistleblower’.

“This idea of ‘causing trouble on the set’ – ‘She called her lawyer.'”

She previously told The Times that Harvey Weinstein, whose company Miramax Films distributed Good Will Hunting, had objected to her casting due to her appearance.

The #MeToo era began in 2017 with a flood of allegations against movie mogul Weinstein.

Asked if she feels things have improved within the industry, Driver said: “Yes, I do. But not because of some kind of systemic epiphany that men had.

“Rather, because they know that there’s accountability now.

“There are actually mechanisms in place (which mean) that kind of behaviour can’t be hidden.

“And I think #MeToo put a dent in it, but I just don’t know whether that power dynamic is ever really going to be redressed.”

Driver said a change she supported was younger actresses, such as Zendaya and Margot Robbie, stepping up to be executives on their major blockbusters.

Zendaya smiles over her shoulder at the UK premiere of Challengers
Zendaya attends the UK premiere of Challengers (Ian West/PA)

“I watched Challengers the other night and what I loved most was seeing that Zendaya was a producer,” the actress added.

“They’re like, ‘I’m part of this creation, I am making this happen.’ And I think maybe that is how it changes.

“We all should have been doing that back in the Nineties.

“When I think about the work that I did on scripts, the fixing things, the making stuff better, absolutely uncredited.

“I made so many of the roles that I was in through improv, through rewriting, through ideas that were all then completely uncredited.

“So what’s great is that these girls are now getting credit for it.”

Four decades on, Driver is still landing major character roles, her latest being that of Elizabeth I in the second series of The Serpent Queen.

Reflecting on whether past issues still get to her, she said: “It annoys me no end that there wasn’t recourse and there was actually punitive stuff that happened (to me) as a result.

“But here we are talking about this new project that I couldn’t love more, and I’m 54 and it’s been 30 years?”