Minnie Driver has just released her memoir, and an excerpt from the book, Managing Expectations, finds her looking back at a horrific audition that left her “humiliated.”
In an excerpt appearing in The Times, Driver recalls being an aspiring young actress auditioning for a TV commercial selling chocolate.
In the audition — for which there was no script — she writes that the casting director asked if she’d seen “When Harry Met Sally”. She had.
“You know the scene where she fakes an orgasm?” he asked, and then instructed her, “Eat a piece of chocolate and do that.”
Driver was incredulous. “Fake an orgasm?” she replied.
“Yes. Unless you fancy having a real one,” he responded.
Writes Driver, “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, Driver soldiered on and ate a bite of the “revolting” chocolate, “throwing my head around like Meg Ryan in Katz’s Deli.”
“That’s it,” the director — whom she jokingly refers to as “Martin Scorsleazy” — told her, instructing her to “really show us what that chocolate can do for you.”
“I attempted a few more groans and seizures and then, realizing there was nowhere to spit out the chocolate, I did what so many women do in the name of pleasing men, and I swallowed,” she wrote.
Then she was asked to do it one more time. “I don’t think I can do it again,” she said, her words met with snickers.
“Course you can, love,” one of the advertising execs in the room told her, “that’s the best bit about being a girl!”
At that point, Driver had had enough. “No, what I meant to say was I won’t do it again because I will throw up,” she responded.
“They thought I was talking about the chocolate, but it was really my shame at having gone along with the whole grotesquery. And the f***ing chocolate,” she wrote. “Scorsleazy sneered and rolled his eyes. ‘Well, all the other girls have apparently very much enjoyed this.’ I gathered the good coat I’d worn off the floor, smiled mightily and said, ‘They were faking it.’ As exits go, it wasn’t bad.”
Managing Expectations will be released May 12.