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British actress Minnie Driver made her film debut in Circle of Friends, followed by roles in Grosse Pointe Blank and Good Will Hunting.
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Minnie Driver, born in London, England, on January 31, 1970, graduated from drama school in 1991 before appearing on various British television shows. Her movie debut was the lead role in 1995's Circle of Friends. She followed up with roles in Grosse Pointe Blank,
Good Will Hunting and the James Bond film Goldeneye. Driver added producer to her credits in 1998 when she started a production company, Two Drivers, with her sister.
British actress Minnie Driver was born Amelia Driver on January 31, 1970, in London, England. Driver, her two brothers, and two sisters were raised in Barbados by their parents, financier Ronnie Driver, and former model Gaynor Churchward. When Driver was seven, her parents divorced, and she was sent to the Bedales Boarding School in Hampshire, England. She acquired the name Minnie from her younger sister, who had difficulty pronouncing Amelia.
At an early age, Driver's interest in acting was encouraged by her mother. She gained admittance to the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, receiving a drama degree in 1991. After graduation, she pursued a career in television, appearing in several British dramas, including God on the Rocks (1991), Mr. Wroe's Virgins (1993) and The Politician's Wife (1995). During the early '90s, the struggling actress often supplemented her income by performing as a jazz vocalist and guitarist.
Driver made her film debut in the screen adaptation of Maeve Binchy's autobiographical novel Circle of Friends (1995). She fought for and won the role of Benny Hogan, a frumpy Irish student who wins the heart of goldenboy Jack Foley, played by Chris O'Donnell. Driver gained 25 pounds in preparation for her role as the overweight and homely character. Her performance received recognition, but she feared being typecast in future parts as a demure English lass. She wanted to tap into the American film industry to seek more unconventional roles. In 1995, she shattered her girl-next-door image with her portrayal of a sultry lounge singer in the James Bond film Goldeneye (1995).
Sleepers (1996), starring Hollywood veterans Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman, took Driver's career to a new plateau. She acquired a very convincing New York accent for her performance as Brad Pitt's street-smart girlfriend. Although Sleepers was billed as a true story, some controversy arose as to its legitimacy. As a result, the film lacked credibility and box office sales were low, but Driver's performance remained noteworthy.
In her next project, Driver played John Cusack's quirky girlfriend in the dark comedy Grosse Pointe Blank (1997). However, it was in the highly acclaimed film Good Will Hunting (1997) where she truly made a name for herself in Hollywood.
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