It is is an undeniable, and unfortunate, fact that actresses are judged on their looks far more often than their male counterparts. The real tragedy of this is when women lose out on roles because somebody has decided they don't look right for it. It's even more ridiculous when somebody else has to make judgments about somebody else's hotness. Such was the case for one of Minnie Driver's early roles when she had to fight to play the love interest of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting because a producer thought she wasn't "hot" enough.
The Speechless actress was a guest on Watch What Happens Live when she was asked what the rudest thing was that anybody in the industry had ever said to her. She then revealed the comments of the unnamed producer. While Minnie Driver had to get past this producer's objections in order to get the role, she wasn't the only one fighting it. Driver credits Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as the film's director Gus Van Sant, for standing by her and advocating that she get the role. Driver went on to be nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Will Hunting's girlfriend Skylar.
If you're keeping score, there were eight producers on Good Will Hunting. We can discount one because she's a woman, and Minnie Driver specifically refers to the producer as a "dude," one who wasn't all that much to look at himself, according to her. While it's impossible to know which of the remaining seven is the culprit, Good Will Hunting was a Miramax film, meaning that two of them happen to be named Weinstein. Kevin Smith and his frequent production partner Scott Mosier were also executive producers on the film.
While there are certainly roles where an actress' perceived "hotness" could be important to the part, in many others, it's just not an issue, nor should it be. Minnie Driver was the right actress for the role. We know that because she was in it and she was excellent. She was funny and endearing. The physical is only one aspect of the people we fall in love with. Of course, Will Hunting was in love with Skylar, that girl was pretty awesome.
Getting and losing roles based solely on physical looks is not something that will be going away anytime soon. Still, it's nice to know that there are folks out there, both men and women, who are fighting to let the talent shine through.
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