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Why Queen Beatrice From Cinderella Looks So Familiar

Amazon's "Cinderella" is jam-packed with familiar faces, from Idina Menzel as the story's iconic wicked stepmother to James Corden as a bumbling mouse-turned-human and Billy Porter as the titular character's Fab G (fairy godparent). The movie — a modern, feminist interpretation of the classic Charles Perrault story — is set to become available to stream on September 3 on Amazon Prime.

Although she's only glimpsed briefly in the film's official trailer, Queen Beatrice, the mother of Nicholas Galitzine's Prince Robert, will likely be a familiar face for many viewers. The character is played by Minnie Driver, an actress who has done everything from period dramas to modern-day sitcoms and been nominated for some prestigious awards along the way. She's acted with stars like Eddie Izzard, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, and taken all kinds of different screen roles over the years, from a concerned mother all the way to an opera diva intent on ruling the stage. As a result, Driver has developed quite a following as time has gone on, and is known for her fiery and uncompromising characters.

With all this in mind, here's where you may have seen the "Cinderella" actress before.

Minnie Driver achieved breakout success with Circle of Friends

Minnie Driver had her Hollywood breakthrough in 1995 with "Circle of Friends," a film adaptation of the Maeve Binchy novel of the same name. The film, which focuses on three childhood friends who attend university together, saw Driver give a standout performance as Bernadette "Benny" Hogan. The London-born Driver spoke with an Irish accent for the period picture and credibly portrayed a college student in the 1950s experiencing first love and career growing pains. 

The film follows Benny and her friends Nan (Saffron Burrows) and Eve (Geraldine O'Rawe) as they all seek to experience true love and excitement, only for family complications and unexpected betrayals to break down the close-knit relationships between the three women. For instance, when Nan seduces Benny's crush, Jack Foley (Chris O'Donnell), Benny is left devastated, and things only get worse when Nan later tells Jack she's pregnant. Fortunately, Benny ultimately manages to get the guy, become a writer, and salvage her relationship with at least one of her friends.

It was a role that required immense vulnerability and range from Driver, but she more than met the part's demands. At the time of its release, she was just starting to step into the limelight, but a career surge was already on the horizon.

Driver's performance in Good Will Hunting earned her an Oscar nomination

Minnie Driver achieved major success in 1997 with her moving turn as Skylar in the critically acclaimed, award-winning film, "Good Will Hunting." However, despite the strength of her performance as the character, Driver didn't have an especially easy time getting cast in the film. 

According to a 2016 interview she gave on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live!" (via CinemaBlend), Driver had to fight for her "Good Will Hunting" role because a producer she did not name at the time declared she was not "hot" enough to play Matt Damon's love interest in the film. Driver gave kudos to the movie's director, Gus Van Sant, as well as its screenwriters, Damon and Ben Affleck, for standing up for her and ensuring she got the part. 

The role would prove to be a career highlight for Driver, and her performance in it earned her a nomination for the Best Supporting Actress award at the 1998 Oscars. She would later go on to appear in dozens of interesting films and TV series as the 1990s eventually ended and the 2000s began.

She gave a memorable performance in 2004's Phantom of the Opera

After appearing in a string of romantic comedies and period pictures, Minnie Driver made a big splash when she played Carlotta, an opera diva and rival of Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum), in the 2004 film adaption of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved stage musical, "The Phantom of the Opera." The comic turn was a surprising one for fans of the actress, whose best-known work prior to "Phantom" tended to highlight her dramatic capabilities.

Notably, Driver didn't have any experience singing opera at the time she was cast in the film and admitted to MTV News that she lip-synced parts of Carlotta's vocal performances. "Andrew Lloyd Webber is ripping off actual operas — Mozart, Wagner — and you're singing in that style. You have to be such an accomplished singer. I could only fake it to a point. I could sing the low stuff. But the high stuff? Forget about it," the actress said. "There's only like 60 women in England who could sing one particular part. It was like glass breaking and dogs start howling when you are singing up there. There was no way."

Fortunately, her performance in "Phantom of the Opera" was still magnetic and convincing enough to earn her further acclaim.

Minnie Driver began appearing on TV more often with The Riches

In 2007, Minnie Driver took on the role of Dahlia Malloy opposite Eddie Izzard in the acclaimed FX drama, "The Riches," which follows a family of criminals and con artists as they assume the identities and lives of a recently deceased family. Driver was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2008 Emmy Awards for her performance in the series, though, she didn't ultimately take home the award.

While "The Riches" was acclaimed by critics, its second season was only 7 episodes long due to the 2007-2008 Writer's Guild of America strike (via The Hollywood Reporter), which resulted in the show reaching an abrupt series finale, with FX canceling it in 2008 and blaming low ratings for the decision (via Variety). However, Driver has since taken a stance against the network's claims, tweeting in 2019 that the show was canceled "in the wake of punitive measures taken against writers who were vocal in the writers strike in 2007." In the same tweet, she added that she would return to make the series again "in a heartbeat."

She recently starred as Maya DiMeo in ABC's Speechless

Minnie Driver began to appear more regularly on television after the cancellation of "The Riches," a trend that eventually resulted in her leading the beloved sitcom "Speechless." The ABC original comedy series saw her playing the fierce Maya DiMeo, the matriarch of the show's central family and the mother to a special needs teenager named Jimmy "JJ" DiMeo Jr (Micah Fowler). 

The series follows Maya, JJ, her other children, Ray (Mason Cook) and Dylan (Kyla Kenedy), and her husband, Jimmy Sr. (John Ross Bowie) as their search for proper education for JJ leads to them moving into a rundown house in a largely upper-class neighborhood. Along the way, JJ meets Kenneth Clements (Cedric Yarbrough), a groundskeeper at the school who eventually becomes the teenager's aide, all while Driver's Maya continues to lead her family with her signature determination and uncompromising attitude.

The sitcom beat back clichés about living with a disability and had a wicked sense of humor about its characters. Unfortunately, "Speechless" wasn't quite popular enough to last more than three seasons, and the series came to an end in 2019 (via Variety). 

Now, "Speechless" viewers will get the chance to see Driver on-screen again when "Cinderella" premieres on September 3 on Amazon Prime.