Minnie Driver on Matt Damon: ‘Young people are ill-equipped to deal with these things’

When people talk about Minnie Driver, they usually refer to Good Will Hunting. I get that, GWH put her on the map for a lot of fans. I, however, immediately think of Benny and Circle of Friends. I had just finished the book when the movie came out and I was in love with both the novel and the film. It cemented a lifelong love for Minnie and Chris O’Donnell (my Colin Firth devotion didn’t take hold until Pride and Prejudice). Anyway, I still love Minnie and am always thrilled when she pops up on screen. Her episode of Modern Love was particularly touching.

Minnie just released a memoir called Managing Expectations. She’s my age, which doesn’t seem old enough for a memoir, but considering her career, I imagine she has a lot to say. Especially since there are so many stories we know only part of. Like how she almost didn’t get GWH because a producer said she wasn’t “hot” enough for the role. Or her romance with Matt Damon that supposedly ended when he informed the world – and subsequently her – on the Oprah Winfrey Show that they were done. In her interview with The Cut, Minnie cuts Matt some slack. She said they were too young to have their relationship scrutinized by the world. But she also said the press only reported the bad about their romance and left out the good part.

On the fragility of acting: From the outside, you just see when it does work out. But so much of being an actor is things not working out. It’s 99 percent rejection, and the other one percent is what you see on the screen. But once you start attaching things to that — like a mortgage, a beautiful child, food on the table, people depending on you — the idea that something as ephemeral as continuing to be chosen for this talent show, and that’s what’s supporting you financially … it becomes more and more insane as you get older. It doesn’t feel safe. It becomes, “Why didn’t I get a master’s and teach at a nice university?”

On Hollywood beauty ideals: When a producer — a man or woman or nonbinary person — distills an actor down to what they perceive as their sexiness, it’s so dismissive of that person. And 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.” 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.

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.

On Matt Damon: Here’s this bumbling human, trying to do this thing. And suddenly this exterior thing starts happening, which is fame, paparazzi. Young people are so ill-equipped to deal with these things, which snowball: falling madly in love and then breaking up with someone.

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.
But also it will always be this lovely, beautiful romance. And that’s what never really got reported in the press.

[From The Cut]

Minnie said that while she had insecurities about her appearance, her family was saying the opposite, that she was lovely and forget what these bozos were saying. But it’s true, it only takes that one bozo to say something negative and that’s the person you believe. Hollywood will never change, unfortunately. Actors and agents will always ask why they didn’t get the role and filmmakers will always tell them. And for women, it will usually be appearance based. I agree with Minnie’s comments about how we only see when it works out for actors. My friends in the industry only book a small percentage of roles. Whether an A lister like Minnie has to take a crap role has to do with how well they’ve managed money and if they can float until the next decent project.

I think Minnie’s reflections on Matt are two-fold. I believe she is letting us see a different side, but I also think she’s forgiven him, so the narrative is more relaxed now. I recently found myself being more generous to a person whose name I only spat out prior. I think after a while, it’s too exhausting to be that angry so your mind reshapes the memories with more grace. I believe Minnie – that Matt was too immature to handle his fame and that there was a lovely romance before the harsh breakup. But I am also think Minnie has let a lot go to come to that conclusion.

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42 Responses to “Minnie Driver on Matt Damon: ‘Young people are ill-equipped to deal with these things’”

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  1. Bettyrose says:

    I’ve always been a fan, and I hate to say that I have wondered if it was hard not being a Hollywood beauty as she shot to A list pretty fast after GWH. She’s a great actress and deserved those roles but Hollywood sucks. She probably enjoys lampooning it with her hilarious role in Starstruck.

  2. Driver8 says:

    I always thought she was so pretty, especially because she doesn’t look like anyone else. Loved her on Will & Grace. She’s an excellent comedic actress.

    • HelloDolly! says:

      Yes, I think she is striking!

    • WiththeAmerican says:

      Agree. I was just thinking how much I miss seeing any character or difference in famous peoples faces. Now everyone looks like they came out of the same plastic factory.

      I have no problem with plastic surgery, but these complete Kylie makeovers where someone doesn’t look like themselves and is unrecognizable, being seen as the best beauty is really disturbing.

  3. Onomo says:

    My friend saw her after a play in London and said she is beyond stunning in person, like it literally took her breath away how gorgeous Minnie Driver was.

    Fave Minnie Driver role was maybe the first season of The Riches, with Eddie Izzard.

    • LightPurple says:

      Same here. She was fantastic in that.

      Followed by The Ideal Husband in which she was hilarious.

    • bettyrose says:

      The Riches had so much potential in season one! They should have gone on hiatus during the writer’s strike instead of tanking it with horrible writing in season 2.

  4. Ines says:

    I loved her in Sleepers! She is absolutely gorgeous to me.

  5. emmi says:

    I love her, she was so good in Will & Grace. Absolutely stole the show when she was on.

    Matt Damon … sure. It’s lovely that she’s being so generous and of course I don’t know what it’s like to be in a public relationship. But he was old enough to not have his age be an excuse. There are plenty of young celebs who don’t break up with their partners on Ellen. I just think these things say something about a person’s character and one’s character rarely changes.

  6. Beth says:

    I’m asking myself why Matt Damon can’t bring himself to say something about Minnie. Minnie doesn’t need to explain his bad behaviour

  7. msd says:

    For some reason I re-watched Ella Enchanted the other day and she’s very amusing in that. I forgot how effortlessly light and funny she can be. Hollywood didn’t seem to know what to do with her in the 90s. I think perhaps she would have had a better career coming up now? Anyway, she’s talented and personally I think she’s gorgeous.

  8. gah says:

    wow in that picture with Matt Damon from long ago- she is a stone cold fox. f Hollywood beauty standards.

  9. TheRickestRick says:

    Remember Grosse Point Blank? I loved her in that, thought she was so cool. Also I feel like Hugh Grant in Love Actually, ‘”…would we call her not hot?” No! She’s a gorgeous woman! I dont know what some of you people are on about!

    • SKE says:

      Grosse Point Blank is still one of my favorite movies. Forget manic pixie dream girl, I just wanted to be Minnie when I was a teenager. Effortless cool.

    • Brandy Alexander says:

      Grosse Point Blank is my all time favorite movie! She was wonderful in that!

    • tealily says:

      Yesss!!!! That’s my favorite role of hers. And my favorite John Cusack and especially Joan Cusack too! “Welcome back, Pointers!”

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I loved her in that movie but when I saw her in GWH, I thought that she was phenomenal playing her part. She is an extremely talented actor and it’s a disservice to the audiences that look at her and don’t think she’s hot enough or too tall.

        It must be exhausting for all actors, except the ones they give parts to who don’t cut it and ruin the film. They want the bankable people when investing millions of dollars. There are so many films that should expand their short sightedness with talent INSTEAD of the bankable ones.

      • dj says:

        Minnie Driver has always had a sophisticated beauty, then and now. Gross Pointe Blank is a forever favorite movie of both myself and my husband. Everyone is at the top of their game. Minnie Driver, John Cusack, and Joan Cusack (who steals the movie for me). Brilliant performances. Minnie Driver is so cool in that particular movie. I wanted to be as cool as her.

  10. Susan says:

    @hecate, I ADORED her in Modern Love!! She really captured the complex emotions of that episode. She’s a class act also re: Damnon, based on this interview.
    Also, is it just me, or is she getting prettier as she gets older?? I feel like there are some people that age into their beauty. (Julia Louis Dreyfus comes to mind).

    • Southern Fried says:

      Agree. She has become more beautiful, very striking.

    • bananapanda says:

      Minnie, Julia LD (and Reese Witherspoon) have grown into their chins. Harsh but true. I think they were a little distracting in the 90s but now all three actresses are killing it.

      Watch Minnie on one the THR Roundtables and she’s a lot of fun. I never realized how tall she is – she talks about the insanity of having to stand in a literal hole to compensate for shorter actors rather than them stand on stools.

  11. PaperclipNumber99 says:

    Aiden Gillen has played so many viilans that it’s really cute to see him in Circle of Friends playing a young, hapless, and utterly adorable university student. He really stood out to me, and I always remember that when I see him in other productions. Such a good film, and Minnie and the rest of the cast were wonderful.

  12. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    Grosse Point Blank was one of my favorite movies and she is fantastic. Love her!

  13. Summer says:

    Am I the only person who thinks Minnie should stop talking about Matt Damon and that breakup? Yes, he was (is) an ass. But they had a brief relationship that ended, what, two decades ago? Continuing to talk about it makes him seem very important. He has never spoken about her since, which makes her seem very unimportant to him. She should do the same!

    • kerfuffles says:

      She wrote a book about her life. He was a part of her life. So of course there will be part of that book where he is discussed. It’s not like she just randomly decided to start talking about him on some talk show.

      • Summer says:

        @kerfuffle, I hear you but I feel like she has talked about him quite a lot over the years. If you were writing the book of your life, would you mention every ex-boyfriend? I just think she gives him a lot of importance which surely he doesn’t deserve. Minnie Driver is a talent in her own right, yet I feel like she barely ever comes up on her own terms, without some reference to that breakup which so bothered her (fair enough, but you can keep those feelings to your private life).

    • Pandora says:

      I agree with you Summer. I love Minnie, but I really wish she stopped talking about Matt. It sounds a bit pathetic after so many years
      She doesnt need to mention Matt every time to stay relevant

      (my favorite movie with Minnie is the Ideal husband with Rupert Everett, she is so funny)

    • Tiffany:) says:

      This isn’t a part of her book, this is an interview with The Cut. They specifically asked her about Matt Damon, and asked her to clarify her truth for them.

      This isn’t her bringing it up again, this is her answering a question that was asked of her.

    • A.10 says:

      I think it’s two fold:
      On the one hand, I think she might have had been bitter about how things ended: breaking up in such a public way. During the height of #MeToo movement in 2017, she wrote a scathing tweet about him when Damon talked about the rights of women. So in a way, I think it is sort of a human nature to treat the talking out as a form of therapy.
      On the other hand, as several comments suggested, it was brought out by the interviewer. Sure, it is easy for us to say that she can choose not to answer it or even blacklist such topic when the interview is arranged. But because of her status in Hollywood (or there lack of), it’s probably hard for her. Interviewers can easily write that she chooses not to answer the Matt Damon question; or bring out that she blacklists such question in the arrangement with little fear of backlash from the her, again because of her lack of power in Hollywood. Then the public would speculate why she would blacklist Matt Damon question. Was she not over him yet? Was she bitter? The speculation would just be endless for her (See Tom Hiddleston’s interview with the New York Times when he blacklisted Taylor Swift question). However, for stars like Matt Damon, he can blacklist questions with little repercussion, because the publications know that should they overstep, they would lose future access to the star in interviews.

  14. Rachel says:

    I’ve always loved Minnie!

    Circle of Friends is one of my favourite movies of all time. Written by the fantastic Maeve Binchy, RIP.

    Maeve’s book The Scarlet Feather is probably the best one she wrote. I highly recommend!

    • Erin says:

      Same, I love it so much and had it on VHS and then lost it after college and was so sad because that was before Amazon and just being able to buy anything off the internet. It was one of those movies I just put on all the time.

  15. Ruby says:

    How great would it be if she actually drove a mini?

  16. Ameerah says:

    I always thinks of Circle of Friends too. I love that film.

  17. Eggbert says:

    It was so refreshing to see her in GWH because she’s beautiful and didn’t look like that narrow- minded Hollywood ideal that only blondes with fake breasts are sexy.

  18. Jaded says:

    She sounds very well grounded. She’s got the right attitude, that you can’t hang onto bitterness and resentment all your life, at some point you have to shrug, say “oh well, that was then, this is now” and get over it. Even though I’ve had my heart broken a few times, each of those relationships taught me about people, about love, about myself. Forgiveness is a good teacher.

  19. Deering24 says:

    Hee. She was one of the best things in The Phantom Of The Opera movie as an insufferable diva.

  20. apaintedballerina says:

    Wednesday, I clicked on that link half expecting her rendition of “Stand By Your Man” from Goldeneye.

    Thank you for that song.

  21. CourtneyB says:

    She’s been on my hubby’s List ever since Circle of Friends. He said it’s only in Hollywood that MD, even with extra weight for the movie, is considered some sort of ugly duckling. We both loved that movie.

  22. Ingot says:

    Decades later, Minnie is still praising the heavens for Matt doing this on Oprah, because it’s given her headlines and clickbait she could have never dreamt of. LOL! Aside, haven’t seen her in anything for ages but I remember she has a certain charisma and charm on screen.