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Fame and Minnie Driver learning to get along

Web posted on: Friday, July 31, 1998 3:45:07 PM

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Perhaps the most amazing character trait belonging to Minnie Driver is the fact that the Oscar-nominated actress admits she still has a lot to learn -- particularly about how to handle her public image.

Driver stars in "The Governess," which releases to U.S. theaters on Friday. It's the latest step in a career that reached whirlwind phase when she starred opposite Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting," which led to a best supporting actress nomination at this year's Academy Awards, and a relationship with Damon that ended with a very public break-up.

She was portrayed in the press as the victim in that split.

"In this business you are subject to a mass perception of you that is going to vary," she says. "You're not there to be in every dining room when someone's flicking through the interview reading that stuff about Minnie Driver or Joe Blow, to stand over their shoulder and go 'No, actually that's not right. This is what I said.'"

Driver in "The Governess"

'You learn the hard way'

These days she and her sister Kate have started a production company called "2 Drivers" to steer her career moves. But controlling her image on screen and off is a work in progress.

"Mostly you learn the hard way," she says. "You make the mistake of seeing what happens when you do try to please all the people, then you see what happens when you close down completely and then you figure it out."

"The Governess" should boost her perception as an actress: She is getting good reviews for her performance as a character who has a torrid affair with the master of the house, played by "The Full Monty"'s Tom Wilkinson.

Driver and her sister: The two of them have started their own production company

Dealing with sex scenes

She says careful choreography helped her through the sex scenes.

"Everyone's being terribly British and sort of stoic: 'Yes, well OK, we'll walk over here and I'll take my trousers off here, and you'll lie down there and a bit of deep breathing and a breast will come out,'" Driver describes. "It's quite a good way of dealing with the embarrassment of 'Here's where I get naked.'"

And as Driver exposes herself more with each performance, she learns to deal with the added attention.

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