I just got off of the phone with Amy Heckerling, who directed Brittany Murphy in her breakthrough film “Clueless” (1995) nearly 15 years ago. Heckerling authorized me to post audio of our six-minute conversation, which you can listen to by CLICKING HERE, but for those who would rather read text here are a few excerpts…
- ON BRITTANY’S WORK IN “CLUELESS” “She was wonderful. She was just such a sweet, innocent person. And when we were working on that movie, her mother was going through cancer treatments, and was always on the set, and they were inseparable. And Brittany was just this little teenage person that was so loving and caregiving towards her mother.”
- HOW DID BRITTANY GET THE PART? “She came in, and read, and she was just perfect. She just had such a lovable, innocent quality.”
- DID SHE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH BRITTANY? “I haven’t seen her recently. I mean, I didn’t see her, like, maybe over the past year. But over the years, yeah. She’s not one of the people that I email like Paul [Rudd] and Alicia [Silverstone], you know, where you’re making jokes during the year and stuff. But, yeah, a little bit. I really wasn’t in her crowd, you know?”
- WERE THERE WARNING SIGNS ABOUT BRITTANY? “You know, everybody’s shaking their heads and going ‘drugs,’ of course. I don’t know what was happening on the last movie. I know that, you know, she seemed to go through a change, you know, on ‘Clueless.’ Maybe she felt like she was not the, like, skinny, pretty girl, you know? And then the next few movies she was, you know, thinner, blonde, you know, at MTV Awards and all sorts of things like that, and going out with Eminem and Ashton Kutcher, and, you know, suddenly got more into that whole glamorous scene… I think she felt the pressure to become a different sort of commodity to survive in show business, and I think it was awful.”
- WHAT KIND OF A CAREER WOULD BRITTANY HAVE GONE ON TO HAVE? “I think she could have done anything… I think she did a few things after “Clueless,” you know, before she, sort of, tried to be more of a glamorous girl. I mean, she certainly, you know, had talent and could have done a lot of things. She could have, as she got older, been a wonderful character, too. She had ‘acting chops,’ as they say, and, you know, she could have gone on for as long as she wanted.”
- HOW DO YOU THINK/HOPE BRITTANY WILL BE REMEMBERED? “She was sweet, and playful, and fun, and a very lovable girl… I’m so sorry for her family, and her mother, who she was so close to. I just can’t imagine what she’s going through.”
Photo: Stacey Dash, Alicia Silverstone, and Brittany Murphy in Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless.” Credit: Paramount.