It's time to take extreme measures

What next for Liz Hurley? asks Emma Cook
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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's Still the thing that Liz does best, though she'd be none too happy to hear it: stepping out at a film premiere in a revealing designer dress, creating acres of publicity and fulfilling everyone's fantasy of a perfect glamour icon. No changes there then, except the film was Extreme Measures and she produced it.

Hurley is desperate to be taken seriously, to add up to more than the sum of her of voluptuous parts; Estee Lauder girl, mediocre actress, celebrity girlfriend and body in "That Dress". It would be more newsworthy had the film opened to rave reviews and gasps of admiration at Hurley's prodigious producing skills. Instead, it all sounds as predictable as a Simian Films script. In the US the film has already bombed, taking only pounds 12m since it opened five weeks ago.

So what can Liz do now? Earlier this month she announced that she was sick of being ridiculed as an actress and may well give it up. Will she soon feel the same way about her new found metier? Some would say she's spreading her skills widely. Cynics may well point to a woman who's falling apart and fast running out of career ideas.

Arch-publicist Max Clifford is certainly pretty harsh and believes she could benefit from some sound PR - quelle surprise. "Unless she's got real talent and ability, trying to prove herself is going to be a long, lingering death. To an outsider, it looks exactly as if she's going from one disaster to another," he says. One could easily say the same of Hugh. But as success continues to elude the pair, they appear to cling to one another more, unable to change their luck but scared to go it alone. Perhaps separate paths would be the best solution, although Clifford argues that the only option left for Hurley is Hugh. "The best chance she's got is to become Mrs Grant and hope he has a huge success."

Not a choice she'll settle for while she still craves intellectual credibility. Yet there will always be a conflict between her image and her ambition - they seem to work against each other. Mary Spillane, head of CMB Image Consultants explains: "She goes to great pains to re-vamp herself to get on the cover of magazines. But she also wants to be taken seriously. She can't keep up these two fronts and be really believable." Spillane suggests she should give up on producing and launch her own range of beauty products instead.

Is this more cruel stereotyping for poor Liz? Ian Nathan, editor of film magazine Empire, thinks so. "Quite clearly she can produce because the film got made, regardless of the quality. She's definitely got more criticism than she deserves," he says. "Liz has obviously got a sound business sense and seems very capable." Talk about damning with faint praise. In this month's Empire interview she says rather sadly, "So often things I've done have really added up to nothing. But I didn't work any less hard than someone whose work did add up to something ..." It's not her competence that's in question now but her creativity - even by herself it seems. If she really wants to ditch the bimbo image she might consider taking up an ethical cause - and if all else fails she should take a leaf out of Di's book: strike out alone and flog the wardrobe.

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