From the quotable “Clueless” to the hard-bitten “8 Mile,” Brittany Murphy has left behind a legacy of remarkable onscreen roles. But before her sudden death on Sunday , the 32-year-old actress also completed work on several films and was getting set to begin another in January. Not much is known about these low-profile projects, so MTV News got in touch with various producers and reps connected to the films to figure out their status and when audiences might have the chance to see the actress at work in the future.
Before her passing, Murphy completed work on this psychological thriller in which she plays a woman with a history of psychiatric issues who accompanies her boyfriend (Dean Cain) to the hospital for surgery, only to have him disappear without a trace. Hospital staff claim to have no record of him on file and suggest the entire scenario is a manifestation of her damaged psyche. It soon becomes clear, however, that darker forces are at work, as the film becomes an examination of theft and betrayal.
Executive producer Wood Dickenson of Renegade Pictures told MTV News that post-production on the film is complete, and a nearly final edit is set to be completed this week or next. Renegade’s original distribution plan was to premiere the film on a major cable network, followed by a DVD release, but Murphy’s passing has disrupted those plans. The Kansas-based Dickenson said he’s waiting to talk with his partners in California about a new roll-out plan, possibly getting the picture out to audiences sooner than originally scheduled.
In June, Murphy joined the cast of “Something Wicked,” another psychological thriller, which tells the story of two recent high school grads whose plans for a happy life together are shattered by parents who don’t want them to be together. Murphy plays the prominent role of psychiatrist Susan Webb.
Executive producer Scott Chambers told MTV News that the film has been conceived as a theatrical release and is still in the process of being edited. A final version was supposed to be completed in May. But the filmmakers were set to begin audio editing in January, and without Murphy’s participation to record any needed dialogue, those plans are now up in the air. Chambers said it’s too soon to tell how Murphy’s passing will affect their distribution plan.
Though she was cast in Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables” as Mickey Rourke’s singer girlfriend in April, her part was eventually cut in the script stage. Stallone’s rep confirmed to MTV News that Murphy never shot anything for the film.
Murphy was rumored to have been fired in November from “The Caller,” a horror film co-staring Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”). Former “Twilight” star Rachelle Lefevre replaced her on the Puerto Rico set. Murphy’s publicist denied her client was fired, saying she and the production mutually parted ways.
Murphy was slated to play the title character in this romantic comedy about a woman who falls for her shrink. The production was supposed to begin filming in January, though executive producer Michael Gordon told MTV News that he had had second thoughts about casting the actress after hearing inside accounts about what happened on the set of “The Caller.” He was moving forward with plans to replace Murphy until the actress changed his mind with a call last week.
“She said she wanted to do it,” Gordon said. “She said she was looking forward to it.”
Murphy explained to Gordon that the “Caller” recasting was a result of a situation involving her husband — he was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital in November — and the director decided to keep her on. He reasoned that an actress clearly on a “downhill skid” couldn’t afford to be dropped from a second straight film and thus would do what was necessary to get the job done.
Following Murphy’s passing, Gordon said “Shrinking Charlotte” is on hold while he and his investors figure out whether or not to replace Murphy and move forward with the film.