The life of the late actress-singer Brittany Murphy is the subject of a two-part documentary coming to HBO Max, featuring new interviews with people closest to the star and marking the streaming service’s first deal with Blumhouse Television.
Pyramid Productions is co-producing the documentary, which HBO Max said will “go beyond the conspiracy theories and headlines” as a character portrait exploring Murphy’s life, burgeoning career and curious death.
“I agreed to do this film, because I think it’s a shame that Brittany’s promising life and career has been eclipsed by the circumstances of her death,” director Cynthia Hill said in a statement Thursday. “I think it’s important to celebrate Brittany’s talent as we struggle to explain the tragic circumstances of her and Simon’s deaths.”
Murphy and husband Simon Monjack, who wed in 2007, died within six months of one another: December 20, 2009, and May 23, 2010, respectively. Murphy died of sudden cardiac arrest at age 32 after being found unconscious in the bathroom of their Hollywood Hills home. The coroner said she died of pneumonia exacerbated by anaemia and a harmful combination of medications.
Jennifer O’Connell, HBO Max’s executive vice president for nonfiction and live-action family programming, called the upcoming documentary “an elevated, nuanced depiction of a sensational story.”
The project, currently in production, is untitled so far. No release date has been set yet.
Murphy was best known for her roles in “Clueless, “Just Married,” “8 Mile,” “Happy Feet” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” She also voiced Luanne on “King of the Hill” for 13 years.
“It’s too shocking and too fast,” Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, told The Times in 2009, immediately after her death. “It just doesn’t make sense to me. As we speak, I am staring at a picture of her. I just can’t believe it. Can’t convince myself she’s gone.” He said at the time that he hadn’t spoken to his daughter in about three years.
Monjack was found dead at their house months later. His cause of death was also given as pneumonia.
Years later, a private toxicology result procured by Murphy’s father — who reportedly sued to get the actress’ hair samples — sparked stories in 2013 alleging that the two had been poisoned, though at least one expert declared the lab’s conclusion “ridiculous.” Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy, also discounted the theory.