River Phoenix’s final film to be released 18 years after his death

Eighteen years after River Phoenix died on the sidewalk outside the Viper Room in Los Angeles at the age of 23, the film he was working on at the time of his death is going to be released. Director George Sluizer has decided to complete Dark Blood, which starred River as a hermit living in the desert on a nuclear testing site, waiting for the end of the world. Sluizer plans to ask Joaquin Phoenix, River’s younger brother, to do the film’s voiceover as River’s character, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “The voices of both brothers are very much alike.” Joaquin was with River on October 31, 1993 when he collapsed and died of a heart attack due to a drug overdose. Sluizer, who kept the film hidden because he feared the footage would be confiscated and/or destroyed, says he may change the title due to copyright claims. River was an A-list actor at the time of his death, having been nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for his performance in the 1988 film Running on Empty. He’d also won Best Actor at the 1991 Venice Film Festival for his work in My Own Private Idaho.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Andrea • October 20, 2011 @ 12:13 AM

    His death was such a tragedy.

  2. Slim • October 20, 2011 @ 2:44 AM

    Apparently we’re living in the year 2021, if he died in 2003 and it was 18 years ago.

  3. Brat • October 20, 2011 @ 9:16 AM

    um….he died in 1993

  4. bratman • October 20, 2011 @ 9:32 AM


  5. Amanda • October 20, 2011 @ 12:01 PM

    It does say he died in 1993 not 2003. But it also says he was nominated for a film he worked on in 1998. Back from the dead perhaps?

  6. Penny Harris • October 20, 2011 @ 12:50 PM

    Wonderful idea. I am sure his fans will love it.
    We have lost so many wonderful actors over the years, I wonder what lies on the cutting room floor. I know I would love to sneak a peak.

  7. Terry • October 20, 2011 @ 1:17 PM

    The error is Tribute’s. Running on Empty is a 1988 film, not 1998.
    River was a terrific actor. I was very saddened when he died in /93.
    Long live River in the Hall of Fame and in our hearts and memories.

  8. Angie • October 20, 2011 @ 1:56 PM

    River knew how to act, and would have been a great Hollywood actor – on the scale of a Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp huge, had he lived. I believe he would have eventually cleaned-up his crazy party life, and made a lot more great movies.

  9. George Lundgren • October 20, 2011 @ 2:46 PM

    Golden Globe and an Academy Award for his performance in the 1988 film Running on Empty. Hed also won Best Actor at the 1991 Venice Film Festival for his work in My Own Private Idaho. Copy and pasted the above from the article atop this page. See the dates, I did mot make them up.

  10. Retro • October 20, 2011 @ 4:11 PM

    I hope his brother had nothing to do with the drugs that night. I heard Christina Applegate was there also. That would cause him a lot of torment and make him want to rap through his pain. River was the more talented one. His death was a huge loss….Leo Decaprio somewhat reminds me of him….but he had the tortured soul drive that made him different.

  11. Jo-Anne • October 20, 2011 @ 6:02 PM

    not overly interested in the story behind this last film, but would check it out. He was exceptionally good in Idaho…

  12. Jenn • October 20, 2011 @ 9:17 PM

    Apparently Slim can’t read. River Phoenix died in 1993, as is shown in the article.

  13. LuvMyVamps! • October 20, 2011 @ 11:15 PM

    >>>Angie on October 20, 2011 1:56 PM<<<

    You took the words right out of my mouth!

    I will definitely add Dark Blood to my River Phoenix collection, I absolutely adored River! It's such a shame he died so young. He had so much potential and raw talent, as did Heath Ledger.

    May The river of life R.I.P

  14. Lucky • October 22, 2011 @ 2:08 PM

    If it isn’t too diificult, emotionally, for his brother Joaquin is to do the voiceover and he is willing to do it; then I believe that it would be a shame if the world didn’t get to see River Pheonix’s last film. I agree that both River & Heath were taken way too soon… RIP <3

  15. Kags • October 22, 2011 @ 10:33 PM

    I love him in my own private idaho. He is my favorite actor, it’s sad he died. He was such a terrific actor and really good looking too. I wopuld like to see the movie,

  16. A. Kindle • October 23, 2011 @ 2:05 AM

    I’m sick of people hiding behind their anonymity to crap about the articles on this site. Those of you who do it make me sick. Go somewhere else if you think you can do better.

  17. Jo-Anne • October 30, 2011 @ 10:25 PM

    w o w does this site mean THAT much to you?

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