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Behind the Lens: Damian Hurley talks about his film ‘Strictly Confidential’

British filmmaker, actor, and model Damian Hurley chatted about writing and directing his new film “Strictly Confidential.”

Director Damian Hurley
Director Damian Hurley. Photo Credit: MSR Media.
Director Damian Hurley. Photo Credit: MSR Media.

British filmmaker, actor, and model Damian Hurley chatted about writing and directing his new film “Strictly Confidential.”

It stars his mother Elizabeth Hurley, as well as Georgia Lock, Lauren McQueen, Freddie Thorp, Genevieve Gaunt, Max Parker, and Llyrio Boateng.

“The movie has consumed my life for the last 18 months,” he admitted. “It’s a very interesting film. I can’t wait to hear people’s reactions to it… I am very excited.”

The synopsis is: On the anniversary of Rebecca’s (Lauren McQueen) death, Mia (Georgia Lock) returns to the Caribbean paradise where she and her best friend shared her final days.

As Mia sets out to unravel the mysterious events of her passing, old passions rise, new secrets are uncovered and Mia is pulled into a seductive world of sex, betrayal, and murder.

Idea to write and direct this film

On his inspiration to write and direct this project, Hurley said, “I came up with the original idea when I was 17 after I lost a close friend of mine to suicide. I wrote down the initial idea for the story, but I wasn’t quite ready to tell the story at age 17.”

“Then, the world fell apart. We went into lockdown due to COVID, and the idea got locked away at the bottom of a drawer somewhere. Also, during COVID, my biological father took his own life, and my stepdad died the year after, so it was rather intense,” he elaborated.

“Then, I made a short film and an executive at Lionsgate saw my short film and I was asked by them to write and direct a feature for them because they loved my short. That very day they called me, I went back to my apartment in London, and the very first drawer I opened had this piece of paper that fell through the air, and as a result of divine intervention, it was that idea that I wrote down when I was 17,” he explained.

“I grew up a lot during that time and I had experienced a lot more, and suddenly I thought I was ready to tell this story, so I sat down and ‘Strictly Confidential’ was born,” he added.

Elizabeth Hurley in the film 'Strictly Confidential'
Elizabeth Hurley in the film ‘Strictly Confidential.’ Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate.

His mother kept her promise to be in his first film

Talent runs in his family. He is the son of actress and supermodel Elizabeth Hurley, and he is thrilled that she kept her promise to him to be in his first-ever film. “My mom made me this promise when I was eight, when I was making one of my short movies from the day I got my first camcorder, and she told me: ‘Damian, of course, I would be in your first real movie.’ That is easy to say to a child.”

“When I got the call from Lionsgate and I started writing the script, I developed a part for her that I knew she would be perfect for, and I asked her, and she came on board right away. She read it, she loved it, and asked me ‘when do we start?’ She also came on board as a producer because I wanted someone who was totally ‘Team Damian’ with no hidden agenda. I felt so safe, and I couldn’t have done this without her,” he expressed.

“My mother has been an invaluable asset every step of the way,” he said. “This movie brought us even closer than we are right now.”

The digital age

On being a filmmaker in the digital age, Hurley said, “It’s very strange. One has to unlearn a lot of old connotations. We have a limited theatrical release, and then it’s going to be in a lot of the streamers such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Sky in the UK, and that’s amazing.”

“The connotation of going straight to DVD doesn’t exist anymore,” he admitted. “The world has evolved so much. Also, we are realizing the power of social media. I’ve only posted on social media for work or for jobs. I was never on Instagram for the sake of being on Instagram.”

“Now, I really realized the power one can have and how they can tap into an audience from our phones, and that’s incredible,” he added.

“These days, tiny films (that don’t have a massive cinematic release) can take over the world and tons of people can see them. Streamers are possibly the greatest thing to happen to independent cinema ever. It’s a real rebirth,” he acknowledged.

Advice for young and aspiring filmmakers

For young and aspiring filmmakers, he said, “I am a firm believer that in this waiting game of the ludicrous industry we find ourselves in, things can happen so terrifyingly fast.”

Future plans: New movie in the works

Regarding his future plans, he said, “I am setting up my next film now, which will have me as a writer and director again, and I am very excited about that. It’s a beautiful script and I actually wrote it when I was very young around the age of 17 to 18, and it wasn’t right for my first film because of its adult nature. Now, I feel I have the experience to tell it, so I am setting that up now.”

“Even though my mother is not in that one, I have asked her to come on board as a producer again, so I will have another ‘Team Damian’ member. I am so excited about this upcoming movie,” he added.

Career-defining moments

On his career-defining moments, he shared, “The experience I got when I was in fashion, where I worked with some of the best photographers in the world. That was really invaluable to me, especially seeing how genuinely creatively invested they are in their work.”

“Also, in film, growing up on set with my mom was one of the most transformative experiences a young creative could ever hope for. My mom did a season of ‘Gossip Girl’ when I was eight, and that was just phenomenal,” he exclaimed.

“It was just the greatest environment that a young creative could ever grow up in. Then, my mom did a show on NBC called ‘The Royals,’ which ran for a good six years. That was a huge part of my life, and it was just amazing. I just wanted to learn; I was such a sponge for every step that I got to spend on set,” he added.

Stage of his life

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Hurley said, “This chapter would be called ‘… And Breathe.’ After this movie is released, I will take a week or 10 days off and I’ll just hibernate. Ever since I wrote this film, things have been relentless for me.”

‘Austin Powers’ movies

Hurley declared “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” as his “favorite film.” “I loved it so much,” he said with a sweet laugh. “So many comedies from the ‘90s haven’t held up, whereas ‘Austin Powers’ is still timeless, and it just works.”

“We keep getting asked if there will be a fourth one, apparently there are rumors,” he admitted. “We will have to see. Personally, I will love that.”

Superpower of choice

His superpower of choice would be to have an “invisibility force field.” “My favorite character, Violet, in ‘The Incredibles’ has that power, and that would be amazing to have,” he said.

Success

On his definition of the word success, Hurley said, “At the end of the day, if you can sit back and be really proud of everything you’ve accomplished and achieved. What can be more successful than that?”

Damian Hurley
Damian Hurley. Photo Credit: Antoine Verglas

Closing thoughts on ‘Strictly Confidential’

Hurley concluded about “Strictly Confidential,” “It’s a film that touches on heavy and intense subject matter, and I really hope that people walk away being entertained, and I hope that they enjoy it.”

To learn more about Damian Hurley, follow him on Instagram, and check out his IMDb page.

Read More: “Strictly Confidential” review

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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