It’s somehow been 30 years since filmmaker Amy Heckerling first attempted to bring Clueless to life as a TV series, and a slightly less gobsmacking 28 years since it hit theaters. Its modern classic status was cemented rather quickly, thanks in part to its quotable script, its endless wardrobe choices, and that stellar ensemble cast. Four of the stars — Alicia Silverstone, Breckin Meyer, Stacey Dash, and Elisa Donovan — celebrated the high school comedy anew during the excellent Clueless panel during ‘90s Con 2023’s spring event. They talked about breakout co-star Paul Rudd, shared some of their favorite lines, and at several points spoke lovingly about their late co-star Brittany Murphy, with Meyer sharing a poignant take about why her death remains such a heartbreaking “bummer,” as he put it.
Meyer, whose stoner Clueless character Travis was a romantic foil for Brittany Murphy’s Tai, shared a wild story about the audition process that landed them both their respective roles, which sounds like a less-than-ideal way to try and land a job. In his words:
First, let’s all give it up for both Brittany Murphy and Amy Heckerling for not sending Breckin Meyer back on his sweaty and smelly way after showing up in post-skating mode. Hopefully landing Clueless allowed him to travel in slightly more comfortable ways in the years after.
Second, the Franklin and Bash star made it clear that even if he’d had a more stressful and awkward lead-up to the audition, he still would have been blown away by Murphy’s initial take on Tai. To the point where he would have been okay with not getting the role so long as she got it. Which probably wouldn’t have happened in any capacity, since they were, as a pair, up against Seth Green, Meyers’ BFF and fellow Robot Chicken superstar, and Green’s then-girlfriend at the time, Euphoria and Flight Attendant star Alanna Ubach. (And third, I just wanted to point out that the sitcom Meyer referred to above was the short-lived high school comedy Drexell’s Class, which debuted in 1991.)
Breckin Meyer then talked about one of the biggest reasons why Brittany Murphy’s death still hurts him to this day, and it’s not the kind of idea that gets discussed very often when speaking of celebs who’ve passed. Here’s how he put it:
It’s been 14 years since Murphy passed away, so clearly Breckin Meyer has had a while to cope with losing his friend and occasional co-star. (They were also together on the cast of King of the Hill.) But there are some memories and ideas that may never fade with time, such as the unquenchable curiosity about what Murphy would have brought to any number of future Hollywood projects, if only things had gone differently. It’s a fairly maudlin thought experiment, but one that still speaks to the actress’ talents that hadn’t yet met their limit.
Even beyond the panel at ‘90s Con, where more than a few attendees were wearing Cher-friendly yellow sweaters and the like, the fan-love for Clueless is abundant. For one, Alicia Silverstone’s fashion icon Cher was the focus of one of this year’s best Super Bowl commercials, with Elisa Donovan back in Amber mode for it as well. And even though it’s a couple of years old, I’d be remiss not to bring up the actress bringing the worlds of Clueless and Mean Girls together. I mean, it’s been five whole years since Silverstone brought Cher energy back for Lip Sync Battle, so even the movie’s legacy is gaining classic status.
For everyone needing a quick hit of whatEVER scene they’d like, Clueless is available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription. And for those who want to watch a bit more about Brittany Murphy’s tragic passing, the grain-of-salt ID documentary bearing her name is available to stream on Discovery+.