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River Phoenix was a young talent whose star was rising, when his life was suddenly cut short in 1993 by a drug overdose at the age of 23. At the time, he was filming Dark Blood, directed by The Vanishing director George Sluizer. Sluizer has now said that he plans on finishing the film, 18 years after Phoenix’s death.
Sluizer told The Hollywood Reporter that he has kept in touch with Pheonix’s family. He has enlisted his brother, Walk The Line star Joaquin, to do voice-overs for Pheonix’s character.
The Huffington Post notes that Sluizer has kept the footage himself, fearing that it could be stolen or destroyed.
Eyeworks, a Dutch production house, is backing Sluizer’s plan, although a copyright dispute might force them to change the film’s title.
In Dark Blood, Pheonix plays a hermit living on a nuclear test site, just waiting until the world ends. A Hollywood couple arrives at the site and soon the wife, played by Barton Fink actress Judy Davis, begins a relationship with Pheonix’s character.
When Phoenix died, he left a huge body of acclaimed works. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty and had break out roles in Stand By Me and My Private Idaho. He also played the young Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade prologue.