The primary focus of the trailer is the Clueless star’s relationship with her husband Simon Monjack, who mysteriously died a few months after Murphy – both of them were suffering with pneumonia and severe anemia.
“Simon took her away,” a contributor says in the clip, “he made sure no one would get to her.” The trailer goes on to address alleged lies told by Monjack – including that he dated Elle Macpherson and Madonna, and had recovered from terminal brain cancer – as well as his paranoia about the government watching him and Murphy.
Actor Kathy Najimy, who starred alongside Murphy in the animated series King of the Hill, says in the trailer that Monjack came along “during a little dip”, namely when Murphy was undergoing weight loss and a change in style to suit Hollywood’s idea of a “leading lady”. She adds that the 8 Mile star “became prey”.
After the couple’s marriage, they were “holed up in that house 24/7”. One contributor says he started to think, “Who gained from her dying?”, adding that Murphy’s death raised “more questions after the autopsy came out than there were answered questions”. The trailer concludes: “A healthy 32-year-old doesn’t just die.”
Murphy’s death in December 2009 was officially ruled as an accident as a result of pneumonia, an iron deficiency, and intoxication from multiple over-the-counter drugs. The house she shared with Monjack – who was found dead in May 2010 – was reportedly covered in mould, though the coroner ruled this out as a factor in their deaths. The circumstances surrounding the couple’s deaths have sparked a decade of speculation and conspiracy theories.
“Our Brittany Murphy documentary cuts through the tabloid noise with an elevated, nuanced depiction of a sensational story,” Jennifer O’Connell of HBO Max, previously said in a press release. “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.”
What Happened, Brittany Murphy? is created by Blumhouse Television and Pyramid productions, and is directed by Cynthia Hill. It will premiere on HBO Max on October 14. Watch the trailer below, and look back at Dazed’s 2017 feature marking what would have been Murphy’s 40th birthday here.