When Minnie Driver defied Hollywood’s sexist biases and came out on top

Hollywood and the world are changing little by little. The domino effect caused by the uncovering of abuse by Harvey Weinstein exposed the sexist and misogynistic freedom that coexisted under the spotlights of success and glamour. Since then, the industry has shied away from any kind of scandal that points to inappropriate behavior, while cancellation has become its sharpest weapon. But things were not like that until literally very recently.

actresses like Kate Winslet they had to turn a deaf ear and prevent their self-esteem from being affected when a drama teacher told her that they were only going to hire her for “chubby” roles. Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman Y Carrie-Anne Moss, among others, had to face the age phobia of women who always lived in their business. And now Minnie Driver reveals that she was almost left without the most acclaimed role of her career due to male prejudices that defined what is sexy as if it were a holy word.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: Minnie Driver at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party Presented by Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: Minnie Driver at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party Presented by Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

The actress, who has just published her memoirs at the age of 52, was only 26 when she auditioned for the role of Skylar, Matt Damon’s girlfriend, in The unstoppable Will Hunting. She had been working as an actress for several years and had already appeared in hits such as the British doctor series casualty, and movies like Friend circle Y Sleepers. However, as he recalled in an interview with The Telegraph (via Variety), she almost lost the role because some of the men responsible for the film thought she wasn’t sexy enough.

One of them was Harvey Weinstein, who believed that “no one was going to want to f*ck her.” He had even sent a note to the casting director with his ‘comment’. “I remember feeling so devastated until it hit me.” says the actress, highlighting that she reflected on where the source of the opinion came from so as not to let it affect her more than necessary. “This is an unspeakable pig. Why the hell do you care about this motherfucker saying you’re not sexy?’” Driver said. “But there were ramifications: because maybe they weren’t going to hire me because people thought I don’t have the sexual quality that is required.”

And it is that Weinstein was not the only one. In a more recent interview with The Cut, The actress said that there was another producer who openly said the same thing: that It was not sexy for the character of a medical student and the protagonist’s partner, repeating the same feeling “devastating”.When a producer, a man, a woman or a non-binary person, reduces an actor to what they perceive as their sexiness, it is very contemptuous of that person ” said.

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And he is absolutely right. Sexual attraction cannot be defined under stereotypes or canons of beauty. Although the cinema and the world of fashion did it for decades, raising stereotypes to the maximum power (while social networks seem to have taken over now), it does not mean that they are right. For producers to abuse their power to point out what was sexy or not, and reduce a character’s romantic interest to the need to provoke sexual desire, only exposes the blatant misogyny that was ahead.

Because Minnie Driver ended up getting the role thanks to the insistence of director Gus Van Sant and screenwriters, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, creating a Skylar that went beyond sex appeal or sexual chemistry with Matt Damon, making her human and believable at the same time. just like the rest of the male characters that filled out that script. He made the protagonist’s girlfriend have an attractiveness that defied those prejudices that almost put her out of work, making her interesting, intellectual and independent.. She even defied all those prejudices of hers by garnering her first and only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She lost it to Kim Basinger (LA Confidential) in the year that titanica He swept the awards, but also left his name tattooed in the history of the Academy.

In any case, as a woman, I know very well the personal and internal work that anyone, regardless of profession, must apply when the rejection of appearances threatens their worth. Especially when you are so young, a teenager or like Driver, barely 26 years old. That she was defined with the prototype of ‘not being sexy’, as if it were a job requirement, does nothing more than uncover the short-sightedness that swarmed freely in the industry.

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