Brittany Murphy


  1. Neve Campbell, Scream, 1996.     In the heroine mix for Wes Craven’s quirky new horror franchise: Murphy, Drew Barrymore (preferred to die early like Janet Leighj in Psycho), Melinda Clarke, Melissa Joan Hart, AJ Langer, Melanie Lynskey, Molly Ringwald (“I’m too old!” – at 28), Tori Spelling, Reese Witherspoon (refused), Alicia Witt. Even a way too old Sharon Stone (38) tried to buy Kevin Williamson’s “hottest script of the year” – written in three days in the hope of a quick sale (he got to save his car from being repossessed. Hell, with $500,000 he could get a new one!  
  2. Mena Suvari, American Beauty, 1998.       Welcome to Hollywood…!  For his first LA movie – for a producer called Spielberg!  – UK stage director Sam Mendes saw all the current young Hollywood babes for Kevin Spacey’s Lolita-esque infatuation (she was even called, not Haze, but  Hayes). He  was  turned down by Murphy, Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Kate Hudson,  Katie Holmes – andTiffani Thiessen lost her audition.  That’s not Mena on the poster, though; the hand and stomach belong to actress-model Chloe Hunter.
  3. Jennifer Connelly, Requiem for a Dream, 1999.   Brittany (and Neve Campbell) refused because nudity was necessary as Marion spiraled downwards from wannabe designer to hooker to pay for her drugs.  Maybe Murphy  (or her agent?) did not know what another of novelist Hubert Selby Jr’s  characters –  Tralala  in Last Exit to Brooklyn  – had done for Jennifer Jason Leigh in 1988 or had  never seen Pi, the  hallucinatory  1997 debut of auteur Darren Aronofsky.  Connelly was, as always, superb in a cast where, as Roger Ebert neatly put it, “”we recognise the actors, but barely.” finally made it – with most of their US cast doing its best to sound like De Niro.
  4. Kate Hudson, Gossip, 1999.     Change of Naomi among the college students investigating gossip.  From Brittany and Reese Witherspoon to Kate.
  5. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000.  Looking for his Penny Lane groupie in his semi-autobiographical look back to his Rolling Stone reporter daze, auteur Cameron Crowe saw 48 of LA’s bright young things… Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Lara Flynn Boyle, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jenna Elfman, Jennie Garth, Maggie Gyllenhal, Alyson Hannigan, Angie Harmon, Anne Heche, Katherine Heigl, Jordan Ladd, Kimberly McCullough (busier as a TV director these days, High School Musical: The Musical – The Series, etc), Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Brittany Murphy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Prepon, Lindsay Price, Christina Ricci, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Chloë Sevigny, Marley Shelton,  Tori Spelling, Mena Suvari, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, Lark Voorhies.  Plus the English Saffron Burrows, Anna Friel, Thandiwe Newton and Rachel Weisz, Madrid’s Penélope Cruz, the French Charlotte Gainsbourg, Canada’s Natasha Henstridge, Ukrainian Milla Jovovich, Scottish Kelly Macdonald, Israeli Natalie Portman, German Franka Potente, Australian Peta Wilson and Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones.  And the winner, Canada’s Sarah Polley, simply split. (Silly girl).  Crowe then chose Kate  (previously booked  for Anita) because “she seemed more like a free spirit.”  But, but, but… Chloë  was the freest spirit in all Hollywood. As she proved two years later in The Brown Bunny… in a way the others would never have dared.
  6. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.   Among 22 youngstars (Jessica Alba to Reese Witherspoon) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne – after director Garry Marshall’s (rather surprising) first choiceof Juliette Lewis quit. And so, Hathaway made her first movie.
  7. Anna Paquin, 25th Hour, 2002.     Brittany pulled out ofbeing Mary D’Annunzio.

  8. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.  
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wiggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).   Over the years, 37 other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list.  Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… twoFriends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  9. Mae Whitman, Tinker Bell, 2007.    Media headlines splashed that she wassacked from voicing the Disney video heroine and replaced by teenage Mae – Shanti in Jungle Book 2) as the first ever voice of Tinker Belle in the movie and series.. However, Disney executives at the Burbank studio said Murphy quit due to scheduling problems. Of course she did.  Poor girl, her career was unfolding, not having madea studio movie since Little Black Book in 2004 – a conspiracy, she said,led by ex-agentsand managers. “I’m not getting offered anything where I can really show what I can do. I can sing. I can dance. I can do all these things I was put on Earth to show the world.”She was planning to quit Hollywood when she died.
  10. Pink, Happy Feet 2 in 3D, 2009.       “Britty” was dropped after drug (and anorexia) headlines – although she never touched drugs due to her heart murmur.She was replaced by two voices (Pink singing), while she had done her own singing inthe 2004 original. ..
  11. Sofia Vergara, Happy Feet 2 in 3D, 2009.    … her scenarist husband, SimonMonjack, saidBrittany cried for hours in her comfort zone bathroom.
  12. Charisma Carpenter, The Expendables. 2009.     Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo co-star, Julie Benz, told him to watch Carpenter in their Angel  chapter.  He thanked Julie and she quoted the episode title: You’re Welcome.  And so he dropped Brittany  from the actioner –  and she was suddenly dead, at age 32,  from pneumonia and  anemia on  December 20, 2009.  Her husband, Simon Monjack, died five months later from the  same causes.  Brittany ’s father insisted they were both murdered. 





 Birth year: 1977Death year: 2009Other name: Casting Calls:  12