Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 by David Chen
Whenever a celebrity dies, particularly in the entertainment industry, the way to handle their final works (as well as works that reference or relate to them) is often a tricky one. With Brittany Murphy’s recent death, we’ve already seen this principle in action: Several weeks ago, Saturday Night Live aired a Weekend Update sketch lampooning Murphy’s public persona, portraying her as loopy and completely out of it. Upon her death, NBC quietly removed the clip from Hulu, although it is still available online.
We’ve also recently learned that movie rental company Redbox has pulled the art for Murphy’s 2009 film, Deadline, which features a chilling image of the actress lifeless in a bathtub.
According to E-Online, Redbox pulled the images from its rental kiosks soon after Murphy’s death, which occurred in a bathroom in her home. According to a Redbox spokesman:
We are removing the box art images from our displays…We will continue to carry her film, but we will not be featuring the box art. We have 19,000 locations, and to be honest, I can’t tell you if this particular art is up at all the locations.
These incidents bring up an interesting question: How carefully should we handle imagery that involves celebrities that have recently passed away? The Deadline art and the SNL sketch were created significantly before Murphy’s death, but the way they creepily resonate with reality have created newfound scrutiny. I actually think Redbox probably made the right move here; not removing the art would have probably created controversy surrounding the movie, although maybe not for Redbox itself. But should business execs try to shield us from controversial art and video in these circumstances, or should their role be to preserve these images and let consumers decide how they want to interpret them?
For those of you who are interested, according to IMDB, Deadline sees Murphy playing a screenwriter who travels to an abandoned house to finish a script on time. However, a series of strange events lead her to a psychological breakdown. You can actually watch the first five minutes of Deadline below:Cool Posts From Around the Web: