Lifetime’s transition from movies about abusing live women into movies about abusing dead ones continues Sept. 6 with yet another unauthorized biography of a late actress—this time, Brittany Murphy. As already known by those who just watched a film that made them long for the rich characterization of Saved By The Bell, there are many, many reasons to expect that The Brittany Murphy Story will fail to honor its subject, nearly all of them contained within this preview clip. If you were to print out all those reasons on a stack of paper, then drape a blond wig over that stack, they would make for a more convincing Alicia Silverstone than the one seen here.
But while most have resigned themselves to watching The Brittany Murphy Story at some late, wine-soaked hour and then feeling guilty, Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, has begun doling it out early. In an interview with the Examiner, Bertolotti said:
I am disgusted and outraged that Lifetime decided to produce such a trashy project, defiling the memory of my beautiful, talented daughter, Brittany Murphy. Frankly, I am amazed at their audacity of calling it “a true story,” without conducting any research or consulting with any members of the family. The Brittany Murphy Story is an affront to everything my daughter was in real life. It’s hideous, unauthorized and completely untrue.
Aside from taking issue with the film’s playing fast and loose with the facts—particularly its suggestion that he was no longer a part of Murphy’s life after the age of 2—Bertolotti reserved some of his harshest criticism for the film’s star, Amanda Fuller. “Lifetime’s casting was atrocious,” he said. “Amanda Fuller, the girl playing Brittany, looks absolutely nothing like her. Everyone looks ridiculous in their bad wigs and the dialogue is nauseating.” He also took to Twitter, tweeting and retweeting disparaging comments about the movie and Fuller.
Fuller has since responded in her own interview at The TV Page, where she said she’s blocked Bertolotti, before attempting to restore the appropriate dignity to the project by suggesting he’s a liar and a vulture. “It wasn’t until she died that he became so vocal in caring so much about his daughter,” Fuller said. “I think that is kind of sick and I don’t really respect that.”
It’s not the first time Bertolotti has been accused of trying to capitalize on his daughter’s death: Murphy’s mother Sharon wrote in The Hollywood Reporter last year that Angelo was a felon who had no contact with Brittany for most of her life, and that his claims regarding an independent lab test that supposedly proved she was murdered—all as part of a wide-reaching conspiracy involving the Department of Homeland Security—were an “insult.” At the time of those claims, it was reported that Bertolotti and Julia Davis, the woman at the center of that conspiracy, were prepping their own biopic called Britt, which would presumably cover these theories that the government killed Brittany Murphy in order to discredit Julia Davis. But you know, factually and respectfully, and with really good wigs.
In the meantime, not really giving you anyone to root for here, Fuller acknowledges that the Lifetime movie’s low budget and limited, 16-day shooting schedule left little room for improvement or, apparently, thinking about just not doing it. “I would have loved to have months of preparation and time to get down to a really skinny [body] so I could portray her physically better,” Fuller said. “And we would have loved to have had more money and more time for vocal lessons and stuff like that. But in the end, I think it became less of it being a look-alike piece and more about just trying to capture the essence of who she was.” And if all that failed, Brittany Murphy sort of had red hair at one point, right? This wig is sort of red.
“If [Bertolotti] really respected his daughter’s memory then I don’t know if he would be trying to make all this controversy about it. Let her rest in peace,” concluded the actress who just got done publicly responding to an insult on Twitter with unflinching, detailed speculation about the personal life of someone she admits she never met, all to promote the unauthorized Lifetime biopic in which she plays her.
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