Brittany Murphy had “a lot of demons” before she died, says the director

Director Alek Keshishian considered dropping the 2006 film because Murphy was “disturbed” on set.

According to Love and Other Disasters director Alek Keshishian, Brittany Murphy was at the seams in 2006, three years before her sudden death.

Keshishian, who recently directed the documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, revealed that Murphy was “troubled” during production of the rom-com film starring Matthew Rhys and Catherine Tate.

“Brittany was an amazing light,” Keshishian told The Independent. “But she had many demons. I protected her.”

Keshishian continued, “I made it in the city I loved with a great crew and a great producer, but it was difficult because I had a troubled actress in the lead.”

He added: “I considered dropping the film but that would have put 70 crew members out of work. So we moved on… I think that influenced me.”

Murphy died in 2009 at the age of 32. Her mysterious death was ultimately ruled an accident resulting from pneumonia and the effects of various over-the-counter medications. Her husband Simon Monjack also died a year later from the same combination of pneumonia and anemia.

Love and Other Disasters was Keshishian’s last film before the Apple TV+ documentary about pop star Gomez. Keshishian admitted that his experience with the film influenced his decision to stop filming in 2016 when Gomez was struggling with her mental health. The “Only Murders in the Building” star was eventually diagnosed with bipolar depression. The duo resumed the documentary in 2019.

“I could feel the wheels coming loose. I saw this girl going through a lot of pain. It felt exploitative to me to have cameras [there] while she’s in the thick of it,” Keshishian said. “You’re starting to realize that movies are what you do — they’re not the be-all and end-all. So in 2016 I was like, ‘This isn’t right — I don’t want to film this.’ Selena had to live through it and hopefully get better and find out everything.

Keshishian added with a caveat: “If I was 24, I probably wouldn’t have stopped. I would have said, ‘Oh, this intrigues me – let’s just keep rolling.’ But I hope I’ve gotten wiser with age. I hope I’ve become more compassionate.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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