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HURLEY, LIZ: BEDAZZLED

A LITTLE RED NUMBER
Versace and Fendi dressed the Devil, as Liz Hurley reveals in this interview with Jenny Cooney Carillo, talking about her latest film, Bedazzled. Hurley also confesses to a bit of evil in her past . . .

The strikingly beautiful brunette has a devilish time in her new role in Bedazzled. A new version of the 1967 fantasy comedy of the same name starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, the update includes a gender change for Satan. Brendan Fraser co-stars as a socially inept man so in love with his gorgeous co-worker (Frances OíConnor) that he strikes a deal with the Devil to exchange his soul for seven wishes. Directed by Harold Ramis, the film features prosthetics and digital imagery to come up with some memorable scenes, as Brendanís character becomes seven different people as a result of his wishes and the Devilís evil sense of humor.

Although Hurleyís first brush with fame sprang from her relationship with Hugh Grant while she was merely a model, the 35-year-old former dancer has not only survived the public sex scandal that resulted in a media frenzy, but formed a production company with Grant and produced films such as Extreme Measures and Mickey Blue Eyes. When the pair broke up earlier this year, Hurley emerged as the more famous and promising in terms of future career choices.

Now that you and Hugh are no longer together, what is the status of your company, Simian Films?
Weíre in the middle of renegotiating our producing deal with Castle Rock and weíre going to produce more films together over the next two years. There are some projects for me, which heíll produce, and some for him, which Iíll produce, and some that weíll both produce for other actors so we get on great together on that stuff.

Are you still living together?
Iím in our house and he decided to buy a house four doors away from mine, but itís a rented flat. He said itís just because itís his favorite street in London but I think itís more sinister and he is also going to spy on my front door so itís a bit silly! But he is still my best friend and if youíre in London and have nothing to do and heís got nothing to do, itís just nuts not to have dinner together.

Youíve always been noticed for your fashion sense. How much fun was it to come up with a wardrobe for the devil?
It was amazing to have a free rein with things like costume because nobody could turn to you and go, ĎI donít think the devil would wear those shoesí. Iím like, Ďoh, yeah, says who?í There were no rules, no boundaries and it was nice to go berserk on the physical side of this role. I really went to town on it and had nice people like Donatella Versace design about three of my dresses and Fendi made the red coat, so I was quite spoilt on this film.

Do you work out to get into those devil outfits?
The sad truth is Iíve never worked out until now that Iíve stopped smoking. Somebody actually brought some machine to my room to start to exercise, because I hadnít done any for nine-and-a-half years and it was this little thing on a funny round wheel and youíre on your knees and you wheel yourself out on this thing and I thought it was really easy so I did about 50 of them. Now I swear to God I actually canít even cough and my stomach is killing me!

What do you think of the devil being a woman?
I think it was a good instinct of Harold Ramis to want to make this devil a girl. I think he thought it would add a nice sexual friction to the piece and it really worked. The way Brendan Fraser played Elliott, so morally upright and good and kind and nice, albeit shy, he was the perfect person for an evil girl to latch onto because he was the ideal man to torture. Thereís nobody worth torturing more than someone as sweet as Brendan Fraser, so it was sort of a penny from heaven to have him.

If the roles were reversed and Brendan Fraser played the devil, what wishes would you have for him?
Golly; well apparently first out of the gate everybody always wants to be rich and powerful. We went around the crew and did these interviews and asked everybody and every single per said theyíd be rich, isnít that weird. I donít think Iíd choose that.

But you are rich!
Well, I donít think itís a wish in itself. I think we think our lives would be better if we were richer or cleverer or more powerful or better looking but I donít think itís even been proven that any of those things make you happier.

Do you believe in heaven and hell?
I definitely believe very strongly in good and evil and I think sometimes you can be very aware that youíre in the presence of somebody good and somebody who is not. I like to think that we have souls and itís always a comfort to me when people tell ghost stories. I think, good, Iím delighted because it seems to be like some kind of proof!

The original bedazzled starred Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Is it true youíre going to work with another great English comedian, John Cleese?
Yes, I was just on the phone with John Cleese two seconds ago! At the moment Iím doing some sketches with him for a BBC show heís doing called The Human Face and weíre also about to start writing a project together. Very frightening for me because heís one of my absolute heroes but I adore him - so itís nice. The scripts he has written for these sketches are absolutely hysterical. When I got the first script, I opened it in the middle and the first page said, ĎJohn Cleese enters in a gold tunic and blonde wigí so I knew I was OK and that I would like this very much!

You said there is a little bit of the devil in all of us. Have you ever tortured any boyfriends?
When I think about it, I probably havenít because I have more virtues than sins in my own make-up. But boys are easier to torture than girls, arenít they? Boys are more insecure than girls and in the movie the devil is playing on all of Elliottís terrible insecurities but he just hasnít had the confidence to develop, which is why when weíre teenagers, girls really are a little ahead of boys. I do remember a terrible stage when I was a teenager of torturing one boy, though. He lived in my street and looked quite girlie and I used to make him go out dressed as a girl in my clothes! Iím sure if Iíd asked him six months later, heíd say no way but it just happened at the stage when he was scared of me. He went OK and it was a horrible thing to do and heís probably never forgiven me. His name was Jason.

Do you consider yourself religious?
Yes. I longed to be a stigmatic when I was a teenager. Itís quite strange because I went to a convent school for a while and all the little girls used to dream of being stigmatic and thinking you could be a nun and wouldnít it be marvelous if you started bleeding, but of course I didnít, and now I guess Iím quite glad!

Do you recall the first time you were ever tempted and did you resist it?
I think probably the first deadly sin that weíre guilty of is probably envy when weíre little. My mother still says to this day that when me and my sister were little Ė and still now, when we open our Christmas stockings, we look at each otherís before our own. I know that sort of horror - that your sister might have something nicer than you. So I think envy is something you have to watch for when youíre ludicrously young.

Are men frightened of you because youíre beautiful and successful?
I think they can be scared but I hope when I walk into a room Iím not frightening. But Iím also nervous when I meet successful or famous people I havenít met before. I met Sean Connery at a party this year and I was like the village idiot. I was humiliatingly embarrassing and all I could manage to say was, Ďgosh, youíre tall and I didnít know you had a Scottish accent in real lifeí and he was so disgusted, he left!

Published January 25, 2001

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