Didn’t we all fall in love with Brittany Murphy as the bubbly and zany Tai in Clueless? I remember being excited that someone who wasn’t a traditional beauty like the film’s star, Alicia Silverstone, was achieving success in Hollywood. After her performance in Drop Dead Gorgeous, Brittany Murphy was on the trajectory to be the next Janeane Garofalo. I’ll confess to being weirdly disappointed when Brittany went blond and started losing a lot of weight. Disappointed, but not surprised.
During her career I always remained a fan. Quite often this was difficult as I didn’t understand why she would take on a role that seemed like a poor fit. When she locked into a part she shone brightly. Her performances in Girl, Interrupted; 8 Mile; and even the formulaic Uptown Girls were some of my favorites.
In December of 2009, at the age of 32, Brittany Murphy passed away suddenly. At the time of her passing the official cause of death was said to be pneumonia, anemia, and multiple drug intoxication. However, five months after Brittany died her husband also suddenly died. His cause of death was pneumonia and anemia. Brittany’s father is convinced the two were poisoned, and he continues to request that further investigations be made.
The last film Brittany worked on was Something Wicked and now, four years after the film was completed, it is finally going to get an audience. The film announced on their Facebook page, “Something Wicked will hit theaters beginning April 4 in Eugene, Oregon (to honor where we were shot) at the Regal Valley River Center 15! We’ll roll out to several Regal Cinemas in Portland and Seattle the following weeks, with more theaters to come.”
The film’s producer, Joe Colleran, told People, “I would describe Brittany’s performance as the most chilling performance of her career.” I just watched a two-minute clip of the film featuring Brittany, and he is not kidding. The hairs on my arms stood up. You can’t help but get emotional listening to Brittany, especially during the clip that was shared as it truly feels like the last words from this actress.
None of us are strangers to experiencing posthumous work. James Dean never got to experience the success of Rebel Without a Cause, Spencer Tracy died 17 days after filming Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Heath Ledger never experienced the fandom of The Dark Knight. This year films staring Paul Walker and Phillip Seymour Hoffman will be released.
I hope Something Wicked is able to have a national release as I would love to see Brittany on the big screen one more time. That it took four years to see an audience is a tragedy, but hopefully her fans will rally and pay their respects to an actress who never really got to have a second act.
Something Wicked Clip with Britney Murphy and Shantel VanSanten
Image Credit: Something Wicked
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