It’s been eighteen years since River Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside of The Viper Room in 1993 at the absurdly young age of 23.
Before he died he was filming a movie titled Dark Blood, which tells the story of a man (Phoenix) living as a hermit on a nuclear test site way out in the desert waiting for the world to end. One day a couple (played by Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis) break down while driving through the desert on their second honeymoon. The hermit rescues them but then turns around and holds them captive when he falls for the man’s wife.
Fearing the movie would be ordered destroyed after Phoenix’s death, Dutch director George Sluizer hid it away for almost two decades, but now he hopes to finally finish and release it. Sluizer plans to reâ€“edit and release it sometime in 2012, and will also be reaching out to River’s brother, Joaquin Phoenix, to do some voice over work that will help bring the story together.
Whether Joaquin will actually help or not is yet to be seenâ€”when River died producers of the movie tried to sue his mother for $6 million claiming that the young actor had not declared the drug problems that led to his death. The lawsuit likely had nothing to do with Sluizer, but you never know what kind of effect that will have on the family.
Thoughts on seeing River Phoenix’s last film almost twenty years after it was made?