While researching for her role in Jonas Åkerlund’s 2002 drug porn Spun, the late actor Brittany Murphy was offered an altogether different role: pole dancer. Murphy played Nikki in the Swedish director’s dope-fuelled film, an exotic dancer turned amphetamine wastoid.
Before production began, she pounded the pavement, learning to command attention with other dancers at a local Los Angeles club. It was all in preparation for one of the film’s most memorable scenes, where Nikki performs a suggestive routine while her boyfriend, Cook (Mickey Rourke), looks on.
“I had only two hours to learn the pole. It’s not easy, I was covered in bruises,” she told The Sun in a March 2003 interview. “Then I lined up with some other girls on stage and went through my routine. When I finished the bosses asked me to work for them!”
The club’s owner, taken with her skills on the stage and unaware that Murphy was already an international star, offered her a job. “I was flattered,” she recalled. “I had only had two hours of teaching. Though I was a dancer for 10 years.”
Growing up, Murphy took musical theater, tap, jazz, ballet and vocal lessons at Verne Fowler’s School of Dance and Theater in Colonia, New Jersey. She eventually gave up at age 12 and moved to Burbank, California to pursue acting.
The actor tragically died in 2009 of pneumonia, iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication. However, Spun will always be remembered as one of her most intoxicating roles.