Driver pulls into ‘Beautiful’

Actress likely to star in black comedy

Oscar-nominee Minnie Driver is likely to star as a wrong-side-of-the-tracks woman obsessed with becoming Miss America in the dark comedy “Beautiful,” sources close to the production said Tuesday.

Driver, who shone as the lover of Matt Damon’s character in “Good Will Hunting,” expressed “very strong interest” in the Jon Bernstein script of “Beautiful” after reading it several weeks ago, one of the sources said.

“She came in and said how much she loved the script,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “She was doing her impressions of beauty queens — it was pretty funny.”

Producers are former Orion/MPCA figures Steve Stabler and John Bertolli, with co-producers Mark Morgan, Jade Ramsey and, if Driver officially signs on, Kate Driver, the actress’s sister. Stabler’s company, currently operating as Paradise Pictures, is seeking a director for “Beautiful.” If all the elements line up, shooting would begin in the fall.

CAA, which represents Driver, said the actress was attached to the project.

Film follows a young Illinois woman’s journey through the sometimes twisted world of beauty pageants as she ascends from a poor, anonymous existence to the heights of the pageant world. Her abusive, neglectful parents are unsupportive of her quest.

Driver’s post-“Hunting” projects include; “At Satchem Farm,” with Nigel Hawthorne and Rufus Sewell, the Sandra Goldbacher love story “The Governess” and “An Ideal Husband,” based on the Oscar Wilde play, with Cate Blanchett, Rupert Everett, Gabriel Byrne and Julianne Moore.

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