The actress died at age 32 in December 2009. That year she worked on a psychological thriller called "Something Wicked," and much of it was filmed in Eugene and other parts of Lane County.
The movie made for nearly $5 million failed to get a distribution deal with the large studios. But producer and local businessman Scott Chambers told The Register-Guard that Regal Cinemas is giving the film a test run in Seattle, Portland, Alaska and Idaho over the next month before deciding whether to take it nationally.
"Depending on how it does in the Northwest, (Regal) can roll it out quickly to the rest of the country, so it's important we do well here in Eugene," Chambers said.
Crews filmed at nearly 30 Oregon locations over a 40-day span in 2009. It's been sitting on the shelf since then for several reasons, Chambers said.
"The biggest was how to deal with the death of the lead actress Brittany Murphy," Chambers said.
Murphy, star of films such as "Clueless" and "8 Mile," died from pneumonia, anemia and multiple drug intoxication, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
"In post-production there's voiceover work to fix lines, special effects work. It was a complicated matter to handle that," Chambers said. "Once all that was completed, we were looking at every aspect of the film knowing it was her last to make sure we were spending the right amount of time on it."
Richard Herskowitz, a University of Oregon instructor and director of Cinema Pacific, a film festival based at the university, has seen the film and says he's a fan.
"I think the plot has really unexpected twists, (and) the production values are really high," he said. "Everyone in the class really felt the strongest element in the film is the very strong regional presence. It's not a conventional Hollywood thriller. Their choice of locations I think is really, really smart and effective."
Following the theatrical release, producers will negotiate with distributors to release "Something Wicked" on DVD and other ways to reach the home market.
"This film will definitely have an after-market life, both domestically and internationally," Chambers said.
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