Minnie Driver Reflects on Hollywood’s Evolution for Women Since the ’90s

Driver discusses Hollywood’s positive changes for women since the ’90s during a panel

Minnie Driver. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, DAVE BENETT/GETTY)
Minnie Driver. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, DAVE BENETT/GETTY)

Minnie Driver, a seasoned actress with a career spanning over two decades, recently spoke about the significant changes she has observed in Hollywood regarding opportunities for women.

During a panel discussion for the second season of “The Serpent Queen,” hosted by PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly, and Starz at The London West Hollywood on July 9, Driver shared her insights on how the industry has evolved since she first gained fame in the ’90s.

Driver, now 54, highlighted a critical shift in the industry: “We’re allowed to be over 40 now,” she remarked. She noted that women in Hollywood are now appreciated for more than just their youth and sexuality. “It is different.

I don’t know what that was done waking up to the idea that women are really just hitting their stride when they’ve, I think been through the gauntlet of only being seen sexually,” she explained.

The actress elaborated on the changing perception of female sexuality and power in Hollywood. She observed that women’s roles now encompass a broader range of experiences, including the “extraordinary expansiveness that comes with getting older,” motherhood, and the choice to be childless.

This shift allows for a more diverse representation of women on screen, reflecting their real-life complexities and growth.

Minnie Driver at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 1998. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, JOHN CHAPPLE/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY)
Minnie Driver at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 1998. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, JOHN CHAPPLE/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY)

Driver shared a personal anecdote to illustrate the progress. She recalled watching a film she once aspired to be part of, only to realize how grateful she was not to have been involved.

“I’ve been conditioned to think that because that was the best that was on offer at that time and everyone was vying for like the same part,” she said.

Watching the film with her 15-year-old son, Driver noted his disbelief that an actress would want to participate in such a project, emphasizing how much the landscape has changed.

The actress acknowledged the greater variety of roles available to women today, which she finds invigorating and empowering. “Now there is so much more variety of what is asked of a female actor, which is invigorating and amazing,” she added.

Driver’s reflections on Hollywood’s past also touched on the challenges she faced due to the industry’s previous standards. During an appearance on Jameela Jamil’s SiriusXM podcast, “I Weigh with Jameela Jamil,” in April, Driver recounted an incident from the 1998 film “Hard Rain.”

Set in a massive rainstorm, the film required the cast to endure tough shooting conditions. While other actors were allowed to wear wetsuits under their costumes, Driver was denied the same due to the producers’ insistence on a “wet T-shirt” look.

Christian Slater and Minnie Driver in 'Hard Rain'. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PARAMOUNT/EVERETT)
Christian Slater and Minnie Driver in ‘Hard Rain’. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PARAMOUNT/EVERETT)

“There were huge rain machines. We shot crazy hours. It was tough, like, it was a tough movie, but everybody else could wear a wetsuit underneath their costume,” Driver explained.

She was told by producers that her nipples needed to be visible, which she found unacceptable. After complaining to her agent, she faced backlash on set. “There was this kind of — I was so punished for it,” she recalled, noting that people stopped speaking to her, and her complaints were leaked to the media as if she were being unreasonable.

Driver’s experience highlights the unfair treatment women often faced in the industry, emphasizing the importance of the progress made since then.

The evolution of Hollywood, as described by Driver, reflects a growing recognition of women’s diverse contributions and the industry’s shift towards more inclusive and respectful practices.

“The Serpent Queen” season 2 premieres on July 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz, Driver’s comments serve as a reminder of the strides made in Hollywood and the ongoing need for change.

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