We first heard about it around a year ago, but now it’s official: River Phoenix’s final film is complete. It’s been nineteen years since River’s tragic death, but director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) has announced that despite filming being unfinished when River died, he has been able to piece together a movie and will premiere it at the Netherlands Film Festival on September 27th.
A glance at the Wikipedia entry for Dark Blood provides the story:
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 [Jonathan] Pryce and [Judy] Davis) when their car breaks down as they are traveling through the desert.
The claim by Sluizer at the time of revealing he was going to finish it was that River’s brother Joaquin Phoenix would do some voicework, since the two have similar voices. This resulted in the Phoenix family releasing a statement countering this, saying there had been no “communicating with River Phoenix’s family in regard to releasing River’s last film” and that the Phoenix family had “not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.”
So, what Sluizer did to complete the film remains to be seen. In the meantime, you can watch a rather intriguing teaser trailer to hold you over. It looks bizarrely rad.