American TV channel Lifetime are not exactly known as bastions of fine cinema, but when it comes to their unauthorized biopics they tend to really hit a low point. Just look at their recent efforts for late singers Whitney Houston and Aaliyah, both of which received plenty of controversy and criticism from the families of the deceased who were not consulted on the films before they went into production.
Their latest film though, looking at the life and death of fan favourite actress Brittany Murphy, may just be taking things to a subterranean level. Murphy, star of such movies as Clueless, Girl Interrupted and 8 Mile, passed away unexpectedly in 2009 at the age of 32. Coroners ruled her death to an accident, the result of an unfortunate combination of pneumonia, anemia and prescription drugs (Murphy was dogged with allegations of illegal drug use for a lot of her career, something she always denied).
It was a tragic, unfortunate death, made even worse when her then husband Simon Monjack also passed away unexpectedly from natural causes five months later. Fast forward to last year though, and things went from sad to just weird as Murphy’s estranged biological father Angelo Berlotti suddenly came out of the woodwork, claiming to have toxicology reports that prove that his daughter and her husband were poisoned as part of some grand conspiracy.
These claims were shot down by most but the tabloids, with Brittany’s mother Sharon Murphy also coming forward to speak out against her ex-partner as wanting to cash in on his daughter’s name now, when he had been missing for most of her life. She also heavily criticized his “flimsy” evidence – which had also been discredited by several other established publications – saying that he used some dodgy website he had found who had then employed a third party laboratory to produce his toxicology results. In short, Berlotti’s conspiratorial murder allegation seem pretty far-fetched and full of holes.
But that – and the threat of litigation from Berlotti himself – hasn’t stopped Lifetime from producing an unauthorized biopic being billed as some sort of murder mystery surrounding Murphy’s death. The flick, which stars Amanda Fuller as Brittany Murphy and Sherilyn Fenn as Sharon Murphy, will go from her rise to fame to her untimely death and beyond, also focusing on Berlotti’s outlandish claims. You can get a glimpse of the film (which boasts the typical Lifetime TV movie production values or lack thereof) in the first trailer below.
The Brittany Murphy Story is directed by Joe Menendez and will debut on Lifetime in the US on September 6, 2014.
Last Updated: August 27, 2014