NEW YORK (Reuters) - British actress and singer-songwriter Minnie Driver has won critical acclaim for her Oscar-nominated performance in the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” and her role in the U.S. TV series “The Riches.”
She also is a long-time supporter of Oxfam’s fair trade campaign that aims to give consumers the opportunity to use their purchasing power to help the poor.
Driver talked to Reuters about her career, being a celebrity and her charity work.
Q: What are you currently working on and has the writers’ strike affected you?
A: “My TV show starts again in March — the strike has just ended. I haven’t been able to work since November, it’s been awful for everyone. It is an absolutely righteous fight, but I’m very glad its over.”
Q: Is it good that they called off the strike before the Oscars?
A: “You know what, the Oscars had a lot to do with helping. The loss of revenue would have been enormous.”
Q: You’ve traveled extensively as part of your charity work — what in particular stood out for you?
A: “Cambodia and Thailand. In terms of seeing how trade is, seeing how women who live and work there ... there is an absence of choice. That is just something that I have never experienced in my life.
“That makes me go, OK, what can I do to supplement the inequities of this world?”
Q: Why pick fair trade as a cause to highlight?
A: “I like the underdog, and trade is like the ugly stepsister to a lot of policies that exist. It’s not sexy, there is no vaccine. It’s a slow process.”
Q: Would you consider addressing these issues through your music or acting?
A: “I’d love to. But the reality is that I am an entertainer. I’m hoping it will get more absorbed into the story lines of the TV show that I am on or the movies that I make. But talking about it in an appropriate environment, living it as an example... you have to live it when you have the opportunity, like Leonardo DiCaprio and that amazing film he made, that’s pretty cool.”
Q: A lot more people in entertainment try to talk about social issues but isn’t the focus more on their private lives?
A: “That’s just about being a celebrity. You are never going to get away from that because people want to know what kind of knickers you wear. You’ve got pictures of girls with no knickers on getting out of cars and its apparently the end of the world.”
Q: Has the blog culture made things worse?
A: “Definitely. There was a girl with a phone the other day. I was just in the clothes shop and this girl was just standing there filming me with her phone. I so wanted to be like ‘what are you doing you silly woman. Haven’t you got anything better to do than watch me like flick through T-shirts?’