River Phoenix, was a very talented and popular actor before his untimely death at the age of 23 in 1993 (as a result of a drug overdose outside LA’s Viper Room) . He was considered one of the actors of his generation. Today, many may not know who he is and would refer to River as Joaquin Phoenix’s brother, but back in the 90s it was the other way around.
At the time of his death Phoenix was working on Dark Blood. Only 11 days of filming had been completed so the project was scrapped. However, 18 years on, Director George Sluizer has announced that he hopes to release Dark Blood next year.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “after Phoenix’s death, Sluizer took the original Dark Blood footage and kept it hidden fearing it would be destroyed. The director has now re-edited the material and believes with a few adjustments – using voice over for instance – he can now deliver a final cut of the film for release next year.”
Sluizer plans to ask Phoenix’s brother Joaquin Phoenix to do the film’s voiceover as River’s character Boy as he feels “the voices of both brothers are very much alike.”
Dark Blood “deals with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert on a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit,he waits for the end of the world carving Katchina dolls that he believes have magical powers. While traveling on a “second” honeymoon across the Arizona desert,the car of a Hollywood jet-set couple breaks down. They are rescued by Boy, who holds them prisoners because he desires the woman and wants to create a better world with her.” (GeorgeSluizer.com)
River Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar in 1989 for his supporting role in Running On Empty. Many of his films have stood the test of time. He stared in iconic films like Stand By Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and, My Private Idaho.
As eery as this sounds, I really hope Sluizer is able to complete this and we get to see one more piece of work from the late great River Phoenix!
Here’s a clip of River Phoenix in his breakout role as Chris Chambers in (one of my favourite movies) Stand By Me: