“Seabiscuit” finally rode into England Monday night, and though she’s not in the picture, Minnie Driver rode away with the hearts of Londoners by making a surprise appearance at the premiere, PEOPLE reports.
Naturally, bets to show were placed on the stars of the hit film, such as Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges or Elizabeth Banks, but, aside from real-life jockey Gary Stevens, none of the main “Seabiscuit” celebs made it to the green (not red) carpet.
Leave it to Driver, 33, to fill in the gap, confidently arriving alone nearly 10 minutes past the 7:30 start of the film. With her hair pulled back in a bun and her cream lace top concealed by an understated black coat, the hundreds of fans outside barely noticed the brunette beauty casually stroll in.
But when one scream led to another, Driver, who hit it big with films like “Circle of Friends” and “Good Will Hunting,” energetically greeted fans and posed for a few quick shots before rushing inside.
Despite the recent brouhaha surrounding the royal family’s displeasure with Paul Burrell’s book “A Royal Duty,” Zara Philips, daughter of Princess Anne and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, stepped in the spotlight and attended in support of the horseracing charities associated with the event.
Phillips, unconcerned with being fashionably late, arrived 30 minutes prior to the premiere, pairing shoulder-length, blond tresses with a formal, black halter dress. She declined, however, to answer reporters’ questions about Diana’s butler and his book. (Diana was her aunt.)
But the 22-year-old royal did say: “I love horse racing and jumping. (‘Seabiscuit’) will be very interesting to watch. I hope this brings racing to a bigger audience.”