Minnie Driver is not afraid to stand up for herself – even when she was just starting out in the entertainment business.
In an excerpt from her new memoir Managing Expectations, obtained by E! News, the 52-year-old actress recalled being an aspiring young actress trying out for a television commercial in her hometown of London just after she made her big-screen debut in Circle of Friends. While she may have been excited about the opportunity at first, it ended up being a horrible experience after a casting director made an inappropriate request.
According to Minnie, there had been a male director and more than a dozen other men from an ad agency inside the audition room. Since a script was not given to her for the commercial, the director had instructed her to recreate the infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally:
“You’ve seen the movie When Harry Met Sally? You know the scene where she fakes an orgasm? OK. Eat a piece of chocolate and do that.”
The Good Will Hunting star had been shocked, replying:
“Fake an orgasm?”
To which the man responded while laughing:
“Yes. Unless you fancy having a real one.”
Minnie claimed the director asked her to do it twice, once “normally” and again in a “bigger” way, telling her that take would be used for a Dutch market. Throughout the experience, the Speechless alum remembered wanting to run out of the room to warn the other women waiting for their turn. She wrote, per The Times:
“I thought about all the girls waiting outside. All of us vying for an opportunity that was actually humiliation dressed up in a pick-me! outfit. I wanted to run out there and warn them. I wanted to tell them we were better than this, better than being lunchtime entertainment for a bunch of pervy execs, their perviness sanctioned by this being considered ‘work.’ But of course I didn’t, because the fire was lit and it required fuel, and any fuel, however troubling, will burn just the same.”
Nevertheless, she continued and ate the “revolting” chocolate while faking an orgasm just like the scene in the 1989 movie. When Minnie told the casting group she couldn’t do it again, one of the ad men allegedly said:
“Course you can, love, that’s the best bit about being a girl!”
However, the Oscar nominee put her foot down, firing back at the crew that she would not do it anymore because she “will throw up.” As Minnie recalls, the director just “sneered” and “rolled his eyes,” saying:
“Well, all the other girls have apparently very much enjoyed this.”
Gathering her coat, Minnie clapped back:
“They were faking it.”
After the horrible audition, she came home to a voice message telling her that they had said she was “difficult” at the tryout:
“I knew I’d now been marked. Branded with a scarlet D that often comes with saying ‘no’ as an actress.”
And unfortunately, this has been the reality for many other actresses (and women in general) in the business. Instead of being respected for pushing back against something she was not comfortable doing in the moment, her assertiveness was just considered as being “difficult.” Awful.
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