​Minnie Driver will not be "just pretty paint"

You might think you know actress Minnie Driver after her long career, but her most recent project shows another side -- as she tells Anna Werner:

She's the woman who always seems to be in control, whose characters speak their mind -- very much like actress Minnie Driver herself.

Her portrayal of the outspoken Skylar opposite Matt Damon in the movie "Good Will Hunting" brought her fame, and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She described her audition for that role as "amazing," but said "the producers didn't want me at all. And it was after this audition. I don't think they thought I was -- they didn't think I was sexy. They didn't think I was, you know, hot.

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Minnie Driver as a teenager.
Family Photo
"They were probably right," she laughed, adding, "I was quite, you know ... I had other qualities."

One quality that the 44-year-old Driver has always had plenty of is determination.

Raised in Barbados and London, she attended an English boarding school. It was there, as a teenager, she decided she wanted to act.

"My idea of what it was I wanted to do was to be a storyteller, if not like a playwright, and then be in the plays that I wrote," she said. "And I definitely designed and created the idea of being an actor really early on, yeah."

That vision generated parts on British television, and then a role as a lovestruck girl in the 1995 film, "Circle of Friends."

She soon decided to leave England and move to Hollywood -- a move she believes was made easier by her unusual family background:

"My family didn't operate in the same sort of societal norms," Driver said. "My parents weren't married. My dad was married to somebody else who he didn't live with. But I grew up in a state of love, albeit unconventional. And I think it was probably a really good training ground to be able to move 7,000 miles away from my home and begin a life here in an industry that people were like, 'Are you nuts?'"

Clearly, she wasn't. Soon she was getting significant roles in a string of films, from "Big Night" to "Good Will Hunting" to "Gross Pointe Blank."

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Minnie Driver and Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting."
Miramax
And while others her age might have taken any role that came along, she says her roles were all chosen with great care.

"If I read something, I'll know immediately when I read it: 'Can I apply myself to this?'" she said. "'And is there enough of me that I could lend to this to make it come to life,' which is what you have to do? It's just words on a page."

"And you've turned down some parts when you've said, 'I don't think I'm going to be good at that,'" said Werner.

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