Devlish Liz Hurley and worker bee Brendan Fraser - a dream team?


Ian Spelling discovers how stars Brendan Fraser (plus Frances O’Connor - in the print version) made their wishes come true filming their latest movie

From Film Review December 2000

Directed by Harold (Multiplicity, Analyze This) Ramis, Bedazzled is a remake of the 1967 comedy starring and written by Dudley Moore and the late Peter Cook. This time around, Brendan Fraser stars as Elliot Richards, a dork with the hots for Alison (O’Connor), a fellow employee who he’s adored from afar for years. Enter the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley), who promises to grant Elliot seven wishes in exchange for his soul.

Elliot reluctantly agrees to the deal, but like so many others in his position, he neglects the finer details when describing his fantasies. So he becomes the President of the United States, except that he’s Abraham Lincoln out on the town… on the night of his assassination. Then he’s rich and powerful and waking up next to Alison, except that he’s a Colombian drug lord and she’s sleeping with her English tutor. And so it goes...

“Elliot Richards is a worker bee,” says Fraser, the star of Gods and Monsters, The Mummy and its sequel, The Mummy Returns. “He’s in a cubicle that’s honeycomb-shaped. I actually got to play him as several different characters. I have a bit of an identity crisis when I think about a day’s work. It was fun and challenging. It had been nothing I’d been asked to do before, to wear that prosthetic make-up and assume that full character transformation.

“It’s easy to say Harold was great and that we all loved each other, but it’s kind of true. Harold is one of the all-time great guys and the environment he creates is conducive to making the films the best they can be. In my experience, it was the most I’d ever been asked to do: the episode nature of the movie takes us on all these different journeys. So it was almost like doing four or five different movies in one.”

Although Bedazzled is most definitely a remake, that’s a fact that will likely be lost on many moviegoers. The original film is regarded as a classic by its most ardent fans, but never gained widespread popularity.

“I saw it for the first time when I was 11 years old on Channel 13 in Seattle,” says Fraser. “I loved the nuns on the trampoline. I got a kick out of the movie because I thought, ‘You can’t get away with doing these kinds of things.’ They got into a lot of mischief together. The thing I liked best about the relationship between the nerd and the Devil, but I didn’t know at the time, was that it was a very good friendship. We took a line directly from the end. Elliot says to the Devil, ‘You’re the best friend I ever had,’ and you’ve got to believe him. You see him in the beginning and he’s so pathetic. He’s drenched in desire. He has to start off somewhere and make all these steps, through all these sequences, to arrive at being a competent person.

“But I didn’t have to think twice about doing the remake. I knew we were borrowing the best of what Bedazzled had to offer... I think it has a moral code underneath it all that asks its audience questions that sneak up on you as you laugh along the way. It’s a Faustian bargain. What would you ask for if you had seven wishes in exchange for your soul?”

Image copyright: 20th-Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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