Brittany Murphy may be best remembered as one of cinema’s most memorable makeovers, going from frumpy to fabulous as Tai Fraiser in “Clueless,” but her turn alongside Eminem in “8 Mile” was something entirely different: a chance to play the love interest of one of the biggest stars on the planet in a film that grossed a ton of money and became one of 2002’s cultural touchstones.
The role of Alex, an aspiring model hanging out in Detroit’s shady back alleys, garnered Murphy some of the finest reviews of her career. In a 2006 interview with MTV News, the actress, who died on Sunday at the age of 32 , looked back at the experience and how it combined two of her great loves — acting and music.
“When I remember ’8 Mile,’ I recall very specifically music being everywhere,” she told us. “Marshall [Mathers] was recording Encore and everything for ’8 Mile’ at the time. I remember when the whole cast was brought in to hear ’Lose Yourself’ and watching Mekhi [Phifer] hear it for the first time. That was really fun. There was music being created everywhere, and it was such a large part of the film as well.”
Murphy and Em’s close connection on screen fueled rumors that the two had struck up an real-life romance too. The rapper would only admit to us that they’d become close friends , and in 2002 the actress spoke glowingly of her one-time co-star.
“Marshall is … he really … he’s one of the most funny, honest, professional, hard-working actors I’ve ever worked with, if not the most,” Murphy said of Eminem . “Such a hard worker, he blows my mind.”