Earlier this year Minnie Driver showed off her singing talent in her debut album, Everything I've Got in My Pocket. So you'd think she'd be thrilled to do vocals for her role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (opening today). Turns out, that's not the case. Although Driver delighted in playing over-the-top diva Carlotta, she left the operatic crooning to the pros.
"You have to be very realistic about approaching stuff that you don't do normally," the actress insists. "I drive a car, but I am not [Formula 1 racer] Michael Schumacher. Opera is a lifetime of training. That particular bel canto sound is not something that you just pick up and do with a couple of months' training.
"I could sing Chicago or Guys and Dolls, but this is opera," she adds. "So there was never a moment where I wished I was doing it."
That said, Driver still sings in the film — sort of. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber penned a brand-new tune entitled "Learn to Be Lonely," which runs over the closing credits. "I was super-stoked to do the song at the end," she enthuses. "Andrew wrote this beautiful song and asked me to sing it, so that was great."
Driver harbored one secret she was hesitant to tell Phantom's legendary composer: She'd never actually seen the long-running musical. "I don't think that was the first thing I said to him," she laughs. "I'm not a musical-theater person. I saw Cats when I was a little girl, but I grew up in the Caribbean; we had The Sound of Music playing at the drive-in [in Barbados] for a year. So I didn't really grow up around that."