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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Driver in the hot seat
Mary McCormack and Minnie Driver
McCormack (left) and Driver play two friends who take on the underworld
UK actress Minnie Driver has revealed she has no new projects on the books thanks to the threat of a Hollywood actors' strike.

"I don't have anything at all," she told a press conference held to promote her new film, High Heels And Low Lifes.

"I'm reading stuff right now, but the potential strike slowed everything down."

Minne Driver
Driver's role is a straight-laced nurse

But she said she was still nurturing a project to make a musical.

"It's being written, it's in development - but musical and westerns are the hardest films to get made."

Asked whether her 1997 Oscar nomination for Good Will Hunting had changed her career, Driver seemed undecided. "It can do - it depends on the person.

"If you are nominated in a supporting role and they offer you leading roles and you're attracted by that, rather than the quality of the film - I've seen people tumble because of that.

"But the profile means you can start guaranteeing finance on more films, so you get more scripts as a result - it's more mercenary than creative, I think."

She said she had enjoyed working with US co-star Mary McCormack on the new film, billed as the UK's first female buddy movie.

Kevin McNally
Kevin McNally in the film's climactic gun battle
"It's really nice working with a mate - someone to eat lunch with, look at the crew's bums with, have a laugh with. We've got similar humour and similar tastes.

"Even though she's American, she has an amazing timing, humour and irony and a caustic wit."

McCormack, who appeared in the London stage production Bash last year, said she was delighted to have had a chance to work in the city again. "I would love to appear in London again in the near future.

'Fun'

"I love both stage and film, but I love theatre more.

"I had so much fun doing Bash here last year - I love the Almeida theatre."

Minne Driver and Mary McCormack
Both actresses are fans of Steven Soderbergh
High Heels And Low Lifes concerns itself with London's criminal underworld.

McCormack had to learn a cockney accent for parts of the film - though she plays an American character.

"I did a lot of it off duty - my driver has a really thick cockney accent and used a lot of rhyming slang so I learned quick.

"I had fun with it - but I was no good at it."

Twists

The film is about two friends - one (Driver) a nurse, the other (McCormack) a struggling actress - who accidentally overhear a mobile phone conversation about a bank heist and decide to try to blackmail the robbers.

Written by Kim Rivers and directed by Mel Smith, the film is a comedy thriller with multiple twists and a sense of menace.

The villains are played by Kevin McNally and, as a chilling godfather, Michael Gambon.

Both Driver and McCormack praised Smith's handling of the direction.

"If you don't get it he'll explain it to you," recalled McCormack.

"When it comes to comedy, he's correct - it's like a science to Mel."

High Heels And Low Lifes is released in the UK on 20 July.

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See also:

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