The actress "was a pro" when she shot the thriller Abandoned last summer

By Cynthia Wang
Updated December 22, 2009 03:50 PM
Credit: Courtesy of Hybrid Productions

In late summer, Brittany Murphy wrapped work as the lead on Abandoned, a psychological thriller also starring Dean Cain, Mimi Rogers and Peter Bogdanovich. In this photo, one the last film stills taken of Murphy, she is seen as Mary Walsh, a woman who believes her husband has vanished and is fighting not only to find him but to counter threats to her own life and sanity.

“Brittany was a pro,” director Michael Feifer tells PEOPLE of the actress, who died Sunday at age 32. “When she needed to turn it on, she just threw a switch and she was on. She didn’t have to be all method. There was a moment where she needed to cry, and we were kidding around where she actually said she could cry out of one eye and you just had to pick which eye you wanted. She was that good at her craft. So playing frantic came really easy and playing sweet came really easy.”
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Feifer met Murphy for the first time on the first day of shooting. “I went into her trailer,” Feifer says, “and she just came up to me with those Brittany Murphy eyes and just gave me a big hug and said, ‘Thank you so much for having me’ before I could say, ‘Thank you for being a part of it.’ It was the sweetest thing. It hurts me to hear all this salacious stuff because my experience with Brittany was really one of my best experiences with an actress.”

Abandoned is believed to be the last film Murphy completed. She later did work on The Caller in Puerto Rico, but parted ways with producers because of what her rep called “creative differences.”