The actor was only 23 years old when he died suddenly in 1993. But almost 20 years later, his final film will be released.
Back in October, director George Sluizer announced he would be releasing his new film. Well, his sort-of-new film.
Dark Blood was shot in 1993 and halted abruptly when its 23-year-old star died suddenly.
When River Phoenix died on Halloween night of that year, he was one of Hollywood’s biggest young stars.
“After Phoenix’s death, Sluizer confiscated the Dark Blood footage and took it back to the Netherlands,” said the Hollywood Reporter. “He kept it hidden, fearing, he said, that it otherwise might have been destroyed.”
Sluizer has announced the film will premiere at 2012 Netherlands Film Festival in September, almost 19 years after Phoenix died.
“In the film, Phoenix plays Boy, a young widower living on a nuclear testing site in the desert,” said the Hollywood Reporter. “While he waits for the end of the world, Boy carves Kachina dolls that supposedly contain magical powers.”
A “Hollywood jet-set couple” break down and become stranded in the desert and Phoenix’s character takes them prisoner. The film also stars Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce and Karen Black.
Phoenix was out at the Viper Room in Hollywood on Halloween night 1993 when he suddenly collapsed. His cause of death was later determined to be a heart attack caused by a drug overdose of cocaine and heroin.
Phoenix was out with his siblings, Joaquin and Rain. Actors Samantha Mathis and Christina Applegate were also at the Viper Room that night.
Before his death, Phoenix had already gained an Oscar nomination for the 1988 film Running on Empty. He had also previously starred in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho.
His brother Joaquin has gone on to gain two Oscar nominations for Gladiator and Walk the Line.
“In addition to the Dark Blood premiere, the 2012 Netherlands Film Festival also will screen a retrospective of Sluizer’s work and will publish a book on the director’s life,” said the Hollywood Reporter.
Watch the movie trailer here.