Austin Powers, Hugh Grant, Shane Warne, billionaire Steve Bing and Indian textile heir Arun Nayar.
Liz Hurley has been through her share of relationships and film duds, but at 50 still smells of high-ranking Hollywood glamour.
The woman who once legendarily labelled non-celebrities ‘civilians’, implying the famous were fighting in the trenches of life, once had an image that was ubiquitous.
She had a middle-class upbringing in Basingstoke but transformed herself into a caricature of posh as well-planned as anything by Jordan.
Ever since a safety-pin Versace frock and her entanglement with Hugh Grant propelling her to fame (thanks largely to his dalliance with hooker Divine Brown), she worked hard to establish herself as a national treasure and now mainly wafts around charity do’s.
For years, she has preferred that one refers to her as Elizabeth (despite shooting royal oral sex scenes as a fictional Queen Elizabeth in the panned American TV show The Royals.)
Twenty-one years ago she was a bit more relaxed, when she spoke to Loaded from her Los Angeles home in 1994. She’d done not much more than a few BBC bit-parts and appear in Passenger 57 with Wesley Snipes.
Here’s Hurley discussing Madonna trying it on with Hugh Grant, her desire to be a female Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing prostitutes and how she embraces nudity in film – as long as it’s integral to the part.
Queen Liz’beth by Tim Southwell, May 1994
She’s tough, sultry and damned sexy. What’s more, she’s got the kind of posh Home Counties accent that can polaxe a man on the other end of a trans-Atlantic phone line.
She is Elizabeth Hurley, 27, from Hampshire – currently soaking up the Los Angeles sun with a portable phone in one hand and an elaborate cocktail in the other.
Elizabeth got her big break six years ago in Dennis Potter’s BBC film Christabel. Before that, she’d formed her own dance troupe, did a Schweppes commercial with Richard E. Grant, toured the Far East playing opposite Leslie Phillips and appeared in a couple of episodes of Rumpole Of The Bailey and Inspector Morse. Most people, though, know her from the box office smash Passenger 57, where she played a wicked terrorist alongside Wesley Snipes.
This year you’ll be able to see her in the futuristic serial-killer-monstrosity Beyond Bedlam (it’s terrible – she’s good) and later this spring alongside Sean Bean in the TV drama Sharpe’s Enemy.
“We shot Sharpe’s Enemy in Russia,” says Elizabeth in her husky, English Rose transatlantic telephone manner (she now divides her time between LA and London.) “It’s a Napoleonic war style thing with lots of men in sexy uniforms and girls pulsating everywhere. I play a prostitute who’s pulled herself up in the world.”
“I think Madonna wanted to go out with Hugh. It didn’t bother me at all – she’s not a real person is she”
It was while she was in Russia that Elizabeth heard of all the rumpus going on back home concerning her boyfriend Hugh Grant and an overzealous would-be-suitor. While Elizabeth was swanning around the Russian Steppes, Madonna was tramping up hers at home.
“Yeah, I think she did wanna go out with him. It didn’t bother me at all, I thought it was funny. I was reading in the papers how, back home in England Madonna had this big crush on Hugh. Actually, it was a complete disgrace because it was one of my girlfriends who gave her our phone number! But the whole thing was hilarious, it would have been like Prince Charles ringing me up and asking me out – absolute fantasy land. She’s not like a real person is she.”
Still, Elizabeth is hardly likely to be diverted by such flimsy distractions. She’s an ambitious actress disenchanted with the lack of a real challenge since doing Christabel. She’s writing her own screenplay, and she wants to play exciting, substantial lead roles, star alongside Robert De Niro, and do stuff that’ll be remembered in years to come.
“Big commercial films aren’t very satisfying for me – they’re very boy-orientated. I’m sure if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger it’s really cool but not if you’re the girl running around after him. I’m forever being offered roles here where I wear a low cut dress, mini skirt, have dirt on my face and an AK 47 in my hand driving a Porcshe, but what’s the point? Mind you, I wouldn’t mind being a female Arnie. Yeah, that kind of role reversal would be interesting.”
“I like sex in films. I’d never do anything with sleazebags where I felt I was being manipulated”
And what about the risque stuff?
“I like sex in films. In LA they all think I have a very European attitude towards nudity but it’s never something that’s crossed my mind. Taking my top off in Aria (a highly acclaimed arthouse film) was intrinsic to the story. I’d never do anything with sleazebags where I felt I was being manipulated. The minute I feel something going on which I don’t like, I’m the first one flying out the door. I can always sense a good situation. It’s like the pictures I did with John Stoddart (Loaded’s photographer), I absolutely adored doing them. We were in this great hotel and we had The Clash blaring out really loud – it was brilliant.”
She gladly gives us a run-down of her agenda for today: taking the alsation for a “proper” run, going on a second reading for a job (about which she’s too superstitious to elaborate), then it’s off to isometrics class, lunch with friends, rounded off with a bracing horse ride in the valley. Hark at Lady Muck! Oh yeah, and then she’s got to watch a video for work and sort out her accounts. If she has any time after that she might try to fit in some breathing.
So do you want to go out for a drink then?
“Yeah, sure. where are you?”
Er, Waterloo, actually.
“Oh,” (soft husky irresistible voice), “that’s too bad. But you must come out to Los Angeles for cocktails soon. You can call me on this number…”
Directory enquiries? Virgin Airlines… AND FAST!