Reason number two for Hurley's fame taking off was her becoming the spokesmodel representing top cosmetics houseEstée Lauder. (Estée Lauder signed her shortly after the Versace safety-pin dress outing.) This assignment, along with theHugh Grant/Divine Brown incident, thrust Hurley squarely into the public eye. Despite the chaos created by the incident,Hurley and Grant founded Simian Films (''Simian'' because the two feel that Grant resembles a monkey) in partnership withCastle Rock Entertainment in 1994. Soon afterwards, Hurley, Simian's Head of Development, discovered the script for andproduced the film Extreme Measures(1996), starring Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Extreme Measures, a medical mystery thriller, is Simian Films'first production and a departure from what Hurley and Grant had planned on doing in their first production -- comedy. Hurley found outabout Extreme Measures after Simian Films was established, during her first meeting with executives from Castle Rock Entertainment.Elizabeth liked the story and read Tony Gilroy's script eagerly. ''I found the moral intricacies of the script so complex that even now,nearly two years after reading the first draft, I still can't decide exactly where I stand on the ethical issues,'' said Hurley during aninterview.Since producing Extreme Measures, the well-rounded Hurley has continued to be very busy with a plethora of projects. The filmAustin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) was probably the biggest and and most successful of those projects. On AustinPowers' impact on her career, Hurley says ''. . . thanks to Austin Powers, I'm earning more money acting than I have before and gettingbetter scripts. But that film was not what I feel comes naturally to me. I'm actually a more melancholy, more serious actress. I mean, inEngland I got known for very sad, dramatic, quite heavy emotional BBC dramas.''Hurley has appeared in several movies since portraying the ''shagadelic'' Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Manof Mystery. She had a major role in the film Dangerous Ground in 1997. After a brief absence from the big screen in 1998, Hurleyreappeared with a vengeance. She starred in several films that were released within a year of each other -- Permanent Midnight (Fall1998), My Favorite Martian (Spring 1999), Ed TV (Spring 1999), and Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Summer1999). In addition to her starring roles in the above movies, Hurley served as a producer of Simian Film's second film, MickeyBlue-Eyes, which premiered Fall 1999.
The year 2000 finds Ms. Hurley as busy as ever. Future movie projects include The Weight of Water with Sean Penn and CatherineMcCormack and Bedazzled with Brendan Frasier. However, after a couple of years of speculation (and to the great disappointment ofmany Hurley fans), it appears that Ms. Hurley will not portray Lara Croft from the video game Tomb Raider in the theatrical release.The role, as of this update, belongs to Angelina Jolie.