When a twenty-three year old River Phoenix died of a drug-induced heart attack on Halloween night in 1993, his last film, Dark Blood, was unfinished. At the time, the film’s director George Sluizer hid the footage, fearing that it might be destroyed. Eighteen years later, though, he wants to finally finish the film and get it released.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the Dutch director who stated that he has completed a nearly final cut of the film and that with just a few minor adjustments could have it ready for release sometime next year. He has enlisted the help of Dutch-based production house Eyeworks to complete the film and deal with any legal issues that may still surround the project.
One of those adjustments would be the addition of a voice over. Sluizer, who states that he has kept in contact with the Phoenix family over the years, hopes to ask River’s brother Joaquin to perform the voiceover telling the Reporter, “The voices of both brothers are very much alike.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter –
Phoenix plays a hermit living in the desert on a nuclear testing site as he waits for the end of the world. When a Hollywood jet-set couple (played by Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce) arrives to find shelter, he begins a troubled relationship with the wife.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a film would be released after an actor had died during its production. The Crow was able to finished thanks to the use of body doubles and some digital tricks after its star Brandon Lee died in an on-set accident. More recently, director Terry Gilliam had to restructure a portion of his fantasy film The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus and enlist the help of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law to complete the segments left undone with Heath Ledger’s passing.