River Phoenix's death in 1993 at the age of 23 is considered one of the most shocking losses in film history. The talented and enigmatic actor -- who died on Halloween after a reported drug overdose -- was on the cusp of a distinguished career in Hollywood.
At the time of his death, Phoenix was shooting "Dark Blood" with Dutch director George Sluizer. The Oscar nominated actor died before the production wrapped and the film remained unfinished for almost two decades. Sluizer initially declined to release footage from the film because he feared it would be destroyed. Yet in 2011 he told the Hollywood Reporter that after some editing, the film would be released the following year.
Now the outlet has announced that "Dark Blood" will debut this September at the Netherlands Film Festival. The film will also compete for the Golden Calf award.
If the basic plot is any indication, the film sounds like it will be rather offbeat. Phoenix stars as a widower named Boy who's waiting for the world to end. Hiding out in a nuclear testing facility, his life of seclusion is disrupted when a glamorous couple seeks refuge in is lair.
This is not the first posthumous Phoenix film to be shown this year. "My Own Private River" a re-working of his film "My Own Private Idaho," was shown in New York back in February. The project was developed by James Franco, who cut together outtakes from 1991 film's shoot. Franco was inspired to do the film after "Private Idaho' director Gus Van Sant showed him unused footage featuring the late actor.
"My Own Private River" was initially a twelve hour art piece that played at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles as an instillation. Franco also released an additional cut of the film entitled "Idaho," which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011.
Phoenix had the unusual distinction of being both a respected actor and a teen heartthrob. After acclaimed performances in films like "Stand By Me," "I Love You to Death," and "Running On Empty," Phoenix seemed poised for a remarkable career. At the time of his death, the actor was set to star in the highly anticipated "Interview with a Vampire." The role of Daniel Malloy ultimately went to Christian Slater.
In the early morning hours of October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed outside Johnny Depp's L.A. club The Viper Room after allegedly snorting excessive amounts of cocaine and taking Valium. In an attempt to save his life, his brother, actor Joaquin Phoenix (then 19), made a frantic 911 call. Phoenix was pronounced dead just over a half hour later.