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MIPCOM Hot Pick: The Brittany Murphy Story

Brittany-Murphy_4MarVista was talking to Brittany Murphy some years ago about a TV movie project that never came to fruition and now, following the untimely death of the actress in 2009, the producer and distributor has a telemovie about her life.

Commissioned by US cable net Lifetime, which debuted The Brittany Murphy Story in early September, MarVista will launch the one-off internationally at MIPCOM.

“After her tragic death we had her story in mind, and it’s been five years now since her passing, so it felt like the right time,” says Vanessa Shapiro, MarVista’s executive VP, distribution.

MarVista cast Amanda Fuller (Grey’s Anatomy) as Murphy and Twin Peaks star Sherilyn Fenn as her mother. Over 90 minutes, the unauthorised biopic traces Murphy’s life. “It covers the early years to the end and it tries to explain what happens amid the huge controversy,” says Shapiro. “It’s a story about an appealing personality, a star, and a tragedy.”

The MarVista sales chief says France, Spain and the UK remain good markets for TV movies, and that the film will sell well in Asia and there is growing demand for telefilms in Africa.

The distributor often packages up its movies – for example selling a package of Christmas-themed titles – but expects The Brittany Murphy Story to also sell as a one-off. Shapiro says: “This is so unique that it will sell as a standalone.”

The show: The Brittany Murphy Story
The producer:  MarVista Entertainment
The distributor: MarVista Entertainment
The broadcaster: Lifetime (US)
The concept: One-off drama tracing the life of the late movie star