River Phoenix: Last Movie About To Be Released

    September 21, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

River Phoenix died a sad and tragic death at the age of 23, overdosing on a wicked combination of cocaine and heroin outside a night club; until then, he’d had a hugely successful career as a child and young adult actor, starring in films which would become cult classics (“Stand By Me”) and box-office hits (“Sneakers”). He chose unique parts to play, characters who were mostly flawed but still redeemable (or perhaps he only made them seem that way), and fans were utterly heartbroken to learn of his death in 1993.

What many people don’t know is that Phoenix was shooting a film when he died, a film which had mostly been shot in the Utah desert and still had almost two weeks to go in the production schedule. The movie was “Dark Blood”, and now it’s about to be given a limited screening at a film festival. The attention it’s getting has prompted the director, George Sluizer, to talk about the strange journey of the movie and why it’s taken so many years to be released.

Because it would have taken mega bucks to work around the loss of Phoenix and finish the film, the insurance company pulled the plug on the project and abandoned it, storing the footage away for possible future use. But in 1999, when the director learned that the cost of storage was about to necessitate the footage being tossed out, he decided he had to save it–by any means necessary.

“I have good assistants, if I can put it this way, and some ­people who are clever in finding the right key,” he said. “I am an enterprising person.”

But the project got laid by the wayside, as they sometimes do, and until Sluizer had a near-death experience in the French Alps–a near fatal heart attack–it was looking as though the movie would never be finished. But looking at what could have been a very bleak future was enough to make him reassess his priorities, and now he’s ready to share the film on a small scale.

“Dark Blood” will premiere at a Dutch film festival on September 27th, and while there’s no word yet as to whether it will come to American shores, fans are desperately hoping it will be made available in some way. The promise of seeing Phoenix’s last recorded work is too much to be asked to give up.

  • Andrew Schroeder

    River Phoenix died in 1993, not 2003.

    • JoeThePimpernel

      You’re right!

      That’s exactly what the article says!

      And that he died at the age of 23.

  • EC ATX

    Uh, didn’t River die in 1993?

    • Pat Herold

      “fans were utterly heartbroken to learn of his death in 1993.” (last line of the first paragraph.)

    • JeffInMpls

      Uh, that’s what the article said?

    • Audrey

      As the article staes yes he died in 1993. Did you bother to read it before commenting. The club belonged to Johnny Depp ( one of the owners). I would love to see the film. He was a talented young Man.

  • trav


  • Mariah

    I loved him. Just hope the film makes its way here.

  • JeffInMpls

    Why should the Dutch be the only ones to see this short film … it was America that made him a star!

  • Chris

    Wow, people do not know how to read.

    Glad to see George Sluizer is making it happen!

  • Kim

    it’s is own fault he died. he was stupid. why is this tragic? he is where he wanted to be, dead. I saw the movie, it was a bore

    • amanda

      a life is a life. one persons death can be tragic to anyone, i find your comment to be kinda harsh.

      • kat

        He was a human being. Famous or not everyone is flawed, no one is perfect, and you have no right to judge him or how he died that was his journey not yours.

      • Christina

        Kind of harsh is an understatement. Kim, you are a horrible, judgmental person. Anyone who doesn’t respect the loss of a young life, no matter what the cause should be ashamed of themselves. What a nasty, mean person you must be. There are people who knew and loved him, and fans who fealt as though the did. The cause of his death does not take away from the fact that a talented young actor lost his life.
        And, Kim you are a liar, you did not see a movie that was never published. What an idiot! So Hollywood insider, that is able to see films that were never completed, what have you been in as of late? NOTHING! Because River had more talent in his little finger then some fool like you.

        • Kristi

          You go girl ! I’m in total agreement 😀

        • Rachael

          Eloquently put, Christina. I’ve often wondered where such mean, judgmental, disgusting human beings come from. Kim River had an addiction. He was only 23 and, in time, he may have grown into a fine man and an even better actor. You, on the other hand, will now and always be emotionally and spiritually dead.

    • B

      You know what he was young and dumb! I grew up with river and my father was the “unknown” man who he died in his arms!
      I bet you cried when Whitney died or MJ the pervert!

      • Christina

        Thank you for sharing B! I wish I had been one of the lucky ones to actually know him. He will always be one of my favorite actors.
        Also, I’m very sorry for your loss. “Unknown” or not, a father will always be missed.

    • J

      When he is a junky or just a regular person then “they were on a destructive course and it was a matter of time” if they are a celebrity then it is tragic. Even if the person has a prolonged history of substance abuse that they are ridiculed for (Whitney Houston). The funny thing is that River and his family ridiculed people for eating meat and their crimes against animals as well as the healthier lifestyle of being a vetarian and they he goes and overdoses on drugs and later his brother seems to be doing drugs (either that or he is insane)

      • pelican

        John frusciante of the red hot chili peppers gave river the drugs that killed him

      • River Fan 4 Life

        Ur a Sad person Urself. If U really knew his LIFE History maybe U would understand more. Worry about urself and STOP ridiculing OTHERS!

      • River Fan 4 Life

        River was Amazing. So SHUT IT!!!

      • jamue

        and yet people die everyday of drugs and I would imagine not one of you can recall them in the news. Famous people deserve nothing more than any of us yet you act like he was some god or something. When you can all ( fans) weep for all those who pass everyday, then you can stand up and weep for a young man who basically killed himself. Let’s worry more about the not famous that are still struggling with drugs and help them, instead of lamenting someone gone already

    • Monica

      Its tragic because he was a talented person who died at a young age in a preventable way. Whether or not he’s s celebrity, when anyone dies in a preventable way its tragic. Don’t be so heartless.

    • River Fan 4 Life

      Kim U R STUPID! RIVER ROCKS & U Do Not!

    • chris

      river was a child of the lord you should be ashamed of yourself for being so heartless

    • sharrie

      Some people will do anything for attention (Kim)

    • JJJ

      Wow a mind reader he wanted to be dead ! You ignorant ass that young man was brought up in a cult and still had managed to become one of the finest young actors of his generation. Do not judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes !!! Lord gain some self awareness !

  • Rick

    Just let the movie release in Europe and wait for all the seeders and leachers to put the movie on kickasstorrents.com. Then Americans will have it. Problem solved. I look forward to it.

  • sarah

    wow u people are stupid read the fucking artical

  • Scooter

    kim you are slut and a bimbo

  • River Fan 4 Life

    RIVER was a Great Guy! Anyone who says different is STOOPID! He was raised VERY Strangely by his parents and had a lot put upon him to provide for the family at a young age…SO SAD! DRUGS were introduced to him and he had wanted to quit. He sort of dreaded going to L.A. to finish filming because he knew that drugs that would be offered and he was still weak and wanted to clean up. Another Talented Life lost due to an addiction that is VERY Hard to Shake…RIVER U R Awesome & Special and wherever U R Now…I hope U R HAPPY! We Miss U!!! XOXOXO!

  • Christina

    If people aren’t even going to take the time to read the article before trolling it, find something beter to do. He died at the age of 23 in 1993. He was a very talented actor, the likes of which is rarely seen. He died a horrible death, with his brother and many others looking on. Sometimes the most talented are taken away much to soon. Maybe the harsh judgements passed on him during his all too short life played a part in his drug problems, and in turn his death.

    • River Fan 4 Life

      U have it Exactly right Christina! He had a rough upbringing and had a lot to deal with. WE Love & Miss YOU RIVER! Hope your at Peace NOW!!!

      • Markus

        I think Christina is still alive.

        • lxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          Um, okay…CreeepY!!!

    • lxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Christina! Thank U for saying so elegantly what I was thinking but couldnt find the words for! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAgreed!

      • Christina


  • http://webpronews Gloria

    It was sad when he died and I liked him in everything he did, I do hope that the Dark is shown in he United States I would love to see it.

  • CreamOfWeber

    Honestly… all of you are frighteningly stupid.

    • pissed off

      ..and just who the fuck are you to make that judgment, asshole!

  • http://hotmail Charity

    I just LOVED River in the ’90s. I now watch every movie of Joaquin, as I did in the movie The Master, mainly because of how much I loved River’s acting. Phoenix is phenomenol by the way in this movie! Go see it!

  • Micah

    Every time a junkie dies the world becomes a better place.

    • sean

      junkie?? along with you, moron. read up and you will see River was a great, young talent!

      • travis

        Great talent or not he was a junkie. I too am sad he is gone, what a waste. But he was still a stupid druggie

      • RGC

        Cut it out Sean , Do you understand addiction ? Alot of good people have past ! threw addiction ! educate don’t hate .

        • http://yahoo queenbee

          Educate yourself THROUGH not THREW

    • eddie wilder

      people like you is what makes the world a sad place to begin with

  • Suela Chavez

    I knew River and Leaf when we were kids. I want to always remember them as they were. I loved them both. Rivers death affected us all in different ways.

    • George

      Are you from Florida, Suela? I thinks its Gainesville right? I live in St.Augustine

  • http://Yahoo.com Evelyn

    It’s so sad to see someone so talented die at such a young age, yet he must have known that taking drugs is wrong. He threw his life away.

  • hancer1124

    I think River was a great actor, I loved his short lived career, as a teenager growing up then he was my crush and I would watch his movies over and over. Of course I was crushed to find out he had died and died of a drug overdose at that, but as all actors or actresses go through, the PEER PRESSURE is too much….just as in everyday life with someone who is not a celebrity. I have had too many friends that have came to the end through drugs and I would have never thought they would either, it is a sad, sad thing that happens. The government needs to do sumthing about the drugs and alcohol instead of worrying so much about cigarettes, just sayin!

    • http://yahoo queenbee

      The government needs to butt out of our lifes and people need to be responsible for themselves. Nobody but RIVER is responsible for his death.

  • hancer1124

    And….of course I would even buy the movie, finished or not!

  • Joaquin Phoenix

    I was very sad when he died. I still am. Only seeing Obama get booted from the White House in a month can right the wrong.

    • Todd

      River will always be remmebered by anyone who saw his work, very good actor, may he rest in peace. Amen to the Obama being gone comment, hope can only go so far before reality hits and we wake up to America being changed to God knows what Obama thinks it should be, scary thought if he wins again..

    • LAURA

      WOW! You are stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • LAURA

        Obama is the only hope that the working class people have. You must be one of the rich that wants a tax cut.
        This is about a good actor that died too soon.I would love to see River’s last movie.

        • russ

          Wow laura, you are not that bright.

    • CTByTheC

      I would be so happy to see Mr. Obama get ousted!

    • ycale

      yeah, seeing as next month is October. Elections are in November and the new president doesn’t take office until January. Please don’t vote.

  • Lana

    Maybe all the Oscar buzz around a certain someone’s performance in a new movie will be forgotten (or put on the back burner?) and it will be another Phoenix who rises from the ashes to claim the Oscar he almost certainly would’ve earned in his lifetime. And then everyone will be saying “Joaquin who?” yet again. A long shot, I know, but a girl can dream……..JP has done everything in his power (or rather nothing) to ensure River is forgotten or remembered only as a statistic because if people remembered how River was the best actor of a generation that included Leo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, etc who would care about him? He’s a good actor, but no River : (

  • Alexandra

    Joaquin: We miss you, too. Loss is difficult to handle especially at your young age at that time. But, we all go through it. Maybe not the same way but we lose family members like you. I miss many family members. From what I have read (I don’t believe everything the tabs say) your family is close. That said, your life is precious, live it for you. Phoenix lived his life the way he chose. You must choose your own path. We love your work, too. I hope your path returns you to the screen to give us your best, we miss you. But, if it does not, you matter in this world. Yes, your bro was an amazing talent and person so I am told, but so are you, believe that and heal.

  • Alexandra

    Well, I think all of you little idiots need to stop blogging and commenting on someone none of us even knew. He was an actor, he died of a drug overdose outside a club partly owned by Johnny Depp and his brother Joaquin was present along with others. That he died is TRAGIC! Have none of you lost someone TRAGICALLY? IF NOT, SHUT IT! I have lost allot of family and friends in the military and at home, TRAGICALLY! I watched my own mother die next to me. So, if you can’t say anything nice, SHUT IT! GOOD LORD, PLEASE HELP OUR WORLD TO LEARN EMPATHY AND LOVE EACH OTHER. THIS SUCKS! Why do I even try to communicate with humans anymore? IDIOTS!

    • James Shugg

      Oh yeah, Alexandra – I can tell that you’re just sbsolutely filled with the milk of human kindness.

  • jamue

    and yet people die everyday of drugs and I would imagine not one of you can recall them in the news. Famous people deserve nothing more than any of us yet you act like he was some god or something. When you can all ( fans) weep for all those who pass everyday, then you can stand up and weep for a young man who basically killed himself. Let’s worry more about the not famous that are still struggling with drugs and help them, instead of lamenting someone gone already

    He died… get over it

  • Jaime

    I never had that much love for an actor than the late great River Pheonix. I was barely four years. I loved him even more at 23 still.

  • Jaime

    I should have said love not loved. Silly me

  • RGC

    Very good actor ! We lost thousands of good Performers though addiction !!!!!! So don’t hate ! Hater’s can be loved .

    • Jaime


  • MV

    The “reporter” is wrong. Actually, River was filming “Interview With A Vampire” when he died.

    • no

      He was filming Dark Blood with 2 weeks to go. Interview was not in production at the time. Read his bio.

      • MV

        I don’t need to read his bio. I lived through it.

    • B

      The reporter is not wrong. Phoenix was working on both movies. His part in “interview” was put on hold so he could finish Dark Blood, then he died.

  • Ally Babba

    Wow amazing that so many people get their internet feelings hurt over River. Good actor Yes. Junkie Yes. Would he ever be able to kick that habit probably not.Why do we waste such time arguing over stupid stuff like this?

    • debra

      I have a 23 year old son,he started dabling into certain things at the age of 17. My son has been in and out of prison,halfway houses,rehab centers,living out of his car,living with strangers…
      UPDATE: my son has 2 jobs,bought a 2012 vehicle,sold that one to get even a better one (VW GTiTurbo 2012),he is paying off all his court/prison bills and is a outstanding emplotee at both jobs and is a contibuting American citizen.
      My son will be celebrating 2 years clean time on Dec 2nd,2012. People with additions are truly sick, and need help. I beg of you to be more positive in thinking that ” not all drug addicts die” my son, for today,is a perfect example,and I love him and he is a wonderful,sweet,kind,loving human being.Please be compassionate for people with this potentially deadly desease,God Bless!

  • ritalinrick

    It’s a shame that River is dead, but Joaquin is still alive.

    • tuced4

      Praise the lord, live on great and powerful Joaquin.

    • Laurie

      What a terrible comment …. I slightly ashamed that it made me laugh.

  • Chloe

    River was a great actor. He doesn’t even compare to Joaquin. They are totally different.

    • Chloe

      * I meant to say Joaquin doesn’t compare to River. They are (were) both great actors.

  • Colleen

    I am very excited and sad at the time time. Riv worked hard on this film.

  • wendy hooley


  • http://riverphoenix cyndi harding

    Why does the site not give the facts about the movie. What is it about? DUH?

  • http://riverphoenix cyndi

    What is the movie “dark Blood” about?

  • Andrew Hopper

    SYPNOSIS FROM WIKIPEDIA: Phoenix played Boy, a youthful widower who lives as a hermit on a nuclear testing site, waiting for the end of the world while making dolls that he believes have magical powers. He comes to the aid of a couple (played by Pryce and Davis) when their car breaks down as they are traveling through the desert.

  • Dashing

    River was a combination of Depp, Dicaprio and Pitt. I imagine if he would be alive today, EVERY role ever given to any of those 3 would have went through River 1st. Easily THE A-lister, 1st refusal every time. What a tragic, tragic loss.

  • Dashing

    Here is the IMDB link for the movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293069/plotsummary

  • http://yahoo Linda

    We ALL miss River here in America. He was one of the best young actors of his time and I’m sure he would be right up there Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp if he were here today. So I hope this film makes it to the “American shores”, as he was a great loss to us, and is still dearly missed. Can’t wait to see the film :)