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This son of actor Richard Harris and older brother of actors Jared and Jamie Harris was raised in England where he had his first taste of show business when he played the part of a brat in the film "Otley" (1968). In the 1980s, Damian Harris moved to the USA to take a screenwriting class at NYU following film studies in London. A screenplay he had written, "Night of the Realm", was optioned by Paramount and the studio even agreed to allow Harris to direct the project, but it never went into production. Nevertheless, Harris took the money he made on the project and wrote and directed the short "Killing Time", featuring Eric Stoltz. He followed with another short, "Greasy Lake" which led to his feature directorial debut with 1989`s "The Rachel Papers". Adapted from the novel by Martin Amis, the film recounted the story of a young man (Dexter Fletcher) who pursues an American girl (Ione Skye) via a computer (ironically foreshadowing several films of the 90s) and was released to little critical acclaim. (The film did mark the screen debut of Harris` younger brother Jared.)
Despite the tepid response to "The Rachel Papers", Harris earned enough notice to land the assignment of helming Goldie Hawn in the thriller "Deceived" (1991), with the actress cast as a happy homemaker who discovers her husband is not who she thought he was. A critical and box-office failure, "Deceived" set Harris` career back, with four years elapsing before he was given another opportunity. "Bad Company" (1995), however, was a tepid thriller best remembered for its steamy love scenes between Laurence Fishburne and Ellen Barkin than its convoluted plot. Undaunted, Harris reteamed with Barkin for another thriller "Mercy" (lensing 1998), with the actress playing a detective who gets drawn into the world of upper-class women who lead double lives.