Murphy, whose previous credits include "Riding in Cars with Boys" and "Don't Say a Word," was asked to audition three times for director Curtis Hanson ("L. Confidential") before she landed the "8 Mile" role.
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The film, opening Friday in area theaters, stars the 30-year-old Detroit rapper as Jimmy, a rhyme-tossing factory worker whose way with words makes him yearn for a career in hip-hop.
The supporting cast includes Mekhi Phifer as Jimmy's best buddy; Kim Basinger as the rapper's boozy mother; and Murphy as Jimmy's ambitious girlfriend.
Everyone truly became friends and got to know everyone's tics. I'm being careful."You can't blame Murphy for treading lightly around his Eminence.
To be the only girl with all those silly guys was fun and crazy. On the way to selling more than 20 million copies of his CDs, the rapper (whose real name is Marshall Mathers) has rhymed about his hatred of his mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs (whom he says was a drug addict and who unsuccessfully sued him for slander) and his ex-wife, Kim Mathers.
Talking to Brittany Murphy is like rapping with the president of the Eminem Fan Club. He's a brilliant young man."Sure, Eminem is an electrifying presence in videos and on award shows, but can he carry a movie?
"He's an amazing actor," she says of America's best-selling hip-hop artist. If "8 Mile" is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes.
I'd have no input."But Peter taught me how to study my lines and take them apart and how to dissect my character.
I'd stay in after I had finished rehearsing my scenes and watch their rehearsals, because it was just too much fun."Asked if she helped calm Em's nerves on the first day of shooting, Murphy laughs. Since hitting it big with 2000's "The Slim Shady LP," Eminem has been described as vulgar, degenerate, antisocial, misogynistic and homophobic. Marshall Mathers."UP WITH "IGBY'It's taken Kieran Culkin a long time, but he finally likes watching himself on screen.
So what does Murphy make of the controversial, Grammy-winning rapper? "And I spoke to all my gay friends about him and they're actually fans, too. I think that he's very misunderstood."Speaking of misunderstandings, what's with the rumors that Murphy and Mathers were dating during the "8 Mile" shoot? The star of "Igby Goes Down," which will begin an eight-day run Saturday at Allentown's 19th Street Theatre, used to cringe when he saw his mug on the big screen.
"Curtis had a really interesting way of going about rehearsals, and I loved what he did," she says.
"In a way, I see him as a grand puppet master -- he's a mysterious man."There was a beautiful sense of everyone getting to know each other.