Factory Girl Director on Murphy Husband Simon Monjack: 'A Con Man and a Bad Guy'
The sad, startling death of Brittany Murphy raises many questions about the actress's health and mental state in the months leading up to it. As we mentioned earlier, as recently as last April she was thin, but in seemingly good, fake-Limey spirits on a visit to The Late Late Show. But The Wrap reports that more recently the actress had been fired from The Caller, a horror film shooting in Puerto Rico, and that on another recent shoot -- for an indie thriller called Something Wicked -- Murphy was reportedly unfocused and barely able to complete her takes. The LA County Coroner said "foul play is not suspected," despite the presence of investigators at her home. (No illegal substances were found, but "a lot" of prescription drugs were.) And TMZ reports that in the hours before her death the actress was "very ill ... with flu-like symptoms," and had been vomiting Sunday morning. An autopy is currently underway, notably against the wishes of her husband Simon Monjack. And what of Monjack, the actual-Limey screenwriter credited with writing and producing 2006's Factory Girl, who himself had his own emergency brushes with death? Well, according to Girl director George Hickenlooper, Monjack is a "con man and a bad guy" who embezzled $150k from the film's budget.
In two comments posted to Hollywood Elsewhere in the hours since Murphy's death, the director minced no words in his description of Monjack as a career criminal and destructive influence, about whom he'd warned Murphy on multiple occasion.
The first comment:
Simon Monjack did not produce Factory Girl. He sued his way onto the project for a title and stole 150K out of my budget. He is a con man and a bad guy. When Brittany married him I warned her and warned her as did so many others. I only hope to God that this creep wasn't instrumental in her sad sad demise. What a wonderful wonderful girl she was. I really really cared for her.
In a second, longer comment posted five hours later, Hickenlooper detailed the lawsuit Monjack brought against him that held Factory "hostage," and a telephone exchange with Murphy -- whom he calls a "sweet angel" and "underrated actress" -- in which she begged him to take down an anti-Monjack comment he had posted to IMDb.
Simon Monjack nothing to do with 'Factory Girl' or the screenplay. He filed a frivolous lawsuit against us weeks before principal photography making bogus claims that we had stolen his script. He held us literally hostage and we were forced to settle with him as he held our production over a barrel. I posted this information on IMDB two years ago in order to warn people because Monjack was using his Factory Girl "credit" to solicit and then steal money from other investors. Then one night at three in the morning Brittany Murphy (who was a good friend and a girl I had come close to casting as Edie Sedgwick) called me in tears, begging me to take this posting down. It was going to ruin her husband. I told Brittany it was the truth and warned her, as many other did, about Monjack who had a criminal record and a long, long list of legal complaints against him. In the end I told Brittany I would do it for her and remove the post because I really cared for her as a friend. The last thing I told Brittany is "Do you know who this guy is? I mean do you really know him. Do you know what you're doing by marrying him?" At this point Brittany became angry and told me she knew Monjack better than anyone and then hung up on me. A few months later I tried to call her to see if she was alright and Monjack would not let me speak to her. I so so feared something bad would happen. I thought he might take her for all her money. Little did I know she would end up dead. Now I am not saying Monjack has anything to do with this. I wouldn't know. And I'm sure the guy is in deep mourning. But one can sure speculate that his clear lack of character and background couldn't have led to the most healthy environment. I really feel bad for Brittany. She was a sweet sweet angel and didn't deserve anything bad to happen to her ever. May she rest in peace. I will miss her. We will all miss her. She was the most talented and underrated actresses working in film.
The "long list of legal complaints" Hickenlooper refers to included multiple felony warrants for his arrest, including several for credit card fraud in Virginia, and "a massive lawsuit from a British investment firm demanding he pay them more than $500,000," according to PopEater.
Monjack, meanwhile, issued this statement in response to the suspicions: "It is a real tragedy that success, greed, envy and celebrity are the motivation for attacking my family and character."