The untold story of a Hollywood star Brittany Murphy is coming to HBO Max. The streamer has ordered a two-part documentary around the life of Murphy, who amassed a lengthy filmography before her death in 2009. The documentary will be helmed by Peabody Award-winning director Cynthia Hill and co-produced by Blumhouse Television and Pyramid Productions. Described as “an in-depth, intimate character portrait” of the actress, it will feature never-before-seen archival footage of Murphy, as well as interviews with close friends and family.
Murphy rose to fame in the late ’90s after her star-making appearance in Amy Heckerling’s Clueless. She also appeared in films such as Girl, Interrupted and Sin City, as well as voicing the delightful Luanne on King of the Hill. She passed away on December 20, 2009, at the age of 32 from pneumonia. Her widower, screenwriter Simon Monjack, died in May the following year. Their sudden and inconclusive deaths have been the subject of widespread media attention.
“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,” Hill said in a statement, “I think it’s important to celebrate Brittany’s talent as we struggle to explain the tragic circumstances of her and Simon’s deaths.”
Jennifer O’Connell, the executive vice president of Non-Fiction and Live-Action Family Programming at HBO Max, says that the documentary will present an intimate portrayal of Murphy’s life and legacy.
“Our Brittany Murphy documentary,” she says, “cuts through the tabloid noise with an elevated, nuanced depiction of a sensational story. Crafting a grounded account of Brittany Murphy’s life struggles and sudden passing comes with great responsibility and we’ve partnered with a masterful creative team to produce a thoughtful examination of a tragedy that has long been cause for speculation.”
“Brittany Murphy was a rising star whose filmography includes movies that defined a generation,” Blumhouse Television’s executive vice president of Alternative and Non-Scripted Programming Mary Lisio says. “We thought her story warrants a deeper exploration, and examination into the environment that allowed her to become a victim of success. We’re thrilled to be partnering with HBO Max, and to collaborate with a director like Cynthia Hill who takes a nuanced approach to complex stories about women and contemporary issues.”
Further details on the project, such as the title and projected release date, have not been announced. With the sudden rise in popularity of documentaries surrounding the complicated lives of female stars, here’s to hoping this new project will be a comprehensive and respectful look at a star gone too soon.