Minnie Driver Reflects on Her 'Sweet Love Affair' With Matt Damon and Its 'Combustible Ending' (Exclusive)
Minnie Driver Reflects on Past Relationship With Matt Damon (Exc…
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Minnie Driver takes a trip down memory lane in her new book, Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays. ET's Rachel Smith spoke with the British actress about the collection of essays, which details everything from her late mother's death to the making of Good Will Hunting and her relationship with her co-star, Matt Damon.
"The filmmaker, Gus Van Sant, and Matt and Ben [Affleck], I think they were really left alone to make the film that they wanted to make," Driver said of why she thinks the Oscar-winning film has such lasting power 25 years later.
Having the studio's attention elsewhere didn't hurt either.
"It was an interesting moment. I remember when we were shooting for Good Will Hunting, Quentin Tarantino was shooting Jackie Brown, and all of the focus of Miramax was on that movie," she recalled. "I mean, in a way, quite right, like, Quentin Tarantino was a huge deal, so, all the producers were kind of hassling him, and I kept being called, 'Sorry that we're not around, there's gonna be a lot of publicity around Jackie Brown 'cause, you know, but good job with this movie, it's gonna be great.'"
While the critically acclaimed film has stood the test of time, Driver's relationship with Damon, did not. She told ET that while their love affair was "sweet," it ultimately combusted before the movie hit the awards show circuit, something she said her family predicted.
"My family loved Matt -- it wasn't that. It was that they could see that this young man was rocketing really fast and so was I, and when you're young, it's pretty hard to keep your head on straight and to maintain a grounded sense of deportment," Driver explained. "They were like, 'This may well end badly for reasons that are to do with all these things coming together in a perfect storm.'"
And it did, with their very public relationship and eventual breakup playing out publicly in the tabloids for Driver to see -- every time she entered her local grocery store.
"I don't care who you are, that is agony and it's like a strange, surreal dream," she said of seeing her breakup play out on the pages of magazines. "But I know he didn't put that picture there. It's so tricky, because it's not deliberate, he couldn't have helped how famous he became and how his life was being picked over, in the same way that mine was."
Driver continued, "It's funny now, when I think about walking down the magazine aisle in my local supermarket at midnight with my best friend, we were like, 'Are you seeing this? This is super weird.' My friend, Alexandra was like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe this is happening, like, I feel like we're in a movie. I would totally watch this movie, even though I know you're super heartbroken, but this is really weird.'"
It only got worse as she and the cast prepared to promote the film for awards season.
"There's a guy who'd been sent, the cameraman at the Academy Awards -- he'd literally been told to, like, stay on me and, like, he was so in my grill, he was like a wildlife photographer waiting for the kill. He was just waiting for the moment that I was going to break or something was going to happen, or I was going to get up and scream. He'd been told, 'Stay on her, bud. Something's gonna happen," the Cinderella star said.
Thanks to her dad, Driver said she was able to get through it. In addition to being her rock back home in London after the breakup, she told ET that he stood by her side while all the drama unfolded during the Academy Awards.
"He was just squeezing my hand, and so he was doing what a dad does, which is protecting their kid," she shared. "I think this had been established, my dad liked strong medicine and it's good, he was right. It feels like a movie in itself, which it was and it was presented in that way, but now, I look back and it just feels really overly dramatic and kind of funny -- brutal, but funny."
Despite the drama that ensued, Driver said she looks back fondly on their relationship.
"I tell that story with love, because that was just a sweet romance that was just a sweet love affair in the center of all of that stuff, but had a combustible ending, which then became the focus," she said. "Another thing that my parents taught me, was there just isn't any time to sit around feeling resentful or angry, just have to get on and everybody had a beautiful life."
The story is just one of many Driver has compiled in Managing Expectations, which is something she said, "we do as people."
"I think it's what we do as people, as humans, we have all these expectations of what we think our life is supposed to look like, the expectation society has of us, that we have of ourselves, our parents, and we spend a lot of time trying to manage them, when in actual fact, I think getting rid of the notion of an expectation and just being in what a real life looks like is probably a smart thing to do," Driver explained.
As far as the timing, the 52-year-old actress said she finally feels like she's reached a point where she wants to tell her own story.
"I think when you've been metabolized by other people, and the way in which they wanted to tell their stories your whole adult life, which I have -- every director, writer, screenwriter, editor, composer, studio head, marketing department -- you are put through someone else's lens, and eventually you reach a point where it's pertinent and right to tell your own story."
Read more on Good Will Hunting, her relationship with Damon and so much more in Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays, out now.
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