Phoenix rising

Dark Blood to feature dead actor's final performance.

by Jennie Kermode

If you are a film fan of a certain age, you may remember where you were on Halloween 1993 when news first emerged of the death of River Phoenix. Though he was only 23 years old, the star of films like Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho had been hailed as one of the greatest talents of his generation. Now his final film, Dark Blood, is finally complete and could be heading to a screen near you.

Phoenix's death from a drug overdose shocked his fans partly because he was known as a clean living vegan. In Dark Blood he plays a young widower who lives alone and aims to lead a self sufficient existence, but the arrival of two strangers leads to complications. Director George Sluizer took 20 years to complete the film after his star's death, spurred on more recently after his own health took a turn for the worse. Now he has turned to crowdfunding to finance the final stages of post production, and has secured a place for the film at the forthcoming Netherlands Film Festival.

Phoenix's relatives are understood to have had no involvement with the film, with his brother Joaquin turning down an invitation to voice some of his lines.

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