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River Phoenix appears in a still from the 1993 film, Dark Blood. - Provided courtesy of Fine Line Features

River Phoenix's final film 'Dark Blood' to debut at Netherlands Film Festival

09/21/2012 by Olivia Allin

River Phoenix's last movie, "Dark Blood," will finally get its release, nineteen years after the actor's sudden death in 1993.

The highly-anticipated film will premiere for the first time at the 32nd Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht on Thursday, September 27, according to the festival's official website. A trailer for the film hit the web in May, thanks to the hard work of Dutch director George Sluizer, who re-cut parts of the film, which was 80% finished at the time of Phoenix's death.

Sluizer and editor Michiel Reichwein worked on the film together, with the help of CineCrowd, to gather donations for the post-production budget. Those who donate to the project can receive invites to the premiere, a pre-screening or a supporting producer credit on the film, depending on the amount. The Netherlands Film Fund supplied part of the budget and Sluizer himself also raised funds.

It was reported in November 2011, that Sluizer planned to get the help of the late actor's brother, Joaquin Phoenix, to do the voiceover as River's character Boy. Joaquin Phoenix is named on the film's IMDB page as providing voiceover work.

"The voices of both brothers are very much alike." Sluizer told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Dark Blood" follows Phoenix's character Boy, is a hermit living on a nuclear testing site in the desert, waiting for the end of the world and carving Katchina dolls. His wait is interrupted by a Hollywood couple (Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce) seeking shelter and Boy holds them captive when he decides he could create a better world with the wife.

Phoenix died in 1993 at age 23 outside the Los Angeles nightclub the Viper Room, which was at the time partially owned by actor Johnny Depp. Phoenix's death was caused by an overdose of drugs such as cocaine and morphine, the local coroner's office had said.

Phoenix was about 16 when he played Chris in the 1986 film "Stand By Me." Three years later, he played the younger version of Indiana Jones in the hit film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

Phoenix later earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a teen pianist with a dark family secret in the 1988 movie "Running on Empty."

In the early 1990s, he starred alongside fellow 1980s heartthrob Keanu Reaves in the films "My Own Private Idaho" and "I Love You to Death." Reeves had appeared with Phoenix's brother Joaquin in the movie "Parenthood."

Phoenix also played a country singer in the 1993 film 'The Thing Called Love,' which starred his reported off-screen girlfriend, Samantha Mathis, as well as Sandra Bullock.

Phoenix's looks were often compared to actor Christian Slater's. Slater also dated Mathis and starred with her in the 1990 movie "Pump Up the Volume." He also took on a movie role that was originally supposed to be played by Phoenix - that of the interviewer in the 1994 film "Interview With the Vampire." Slater donated his entire $250,000 paycheck to Phoenix's favorite charities.

Watch a trailer for "Dark Blood" and an interview with director George Sluizer below.

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