For anyone who fell in love with River Phoenix in “Stand by Me” and watched his talent blossom in films such as “My Own Private Idaho,” his death at age 23 came as a tragic blow. Now after almost two decades, fans may be able to see a completed “Dark Blood,” the film Phoenix was shooting when he died of a drug overdose in 1993.
“Dark Blood” director George Sluizer has created a campaign through the Web site CineCrowd to raise money for the film’s “post-production budget,” which includes editing and music composition. The Netherlands Film Fund will supply another part of the budget, according to the site.
While request for comment from the Fund regarding “Dark Blood” has not been returned, the organization has funded several of Sluizer’s other projects.
To sweeten the deal, Sluizer has released a trailer to promote the movie, in which Phoenix plays a hermit living on nuclear testing site.
According to the site, about $3,540 has been raised with 54 days left to go on the campaign. This is 18 percent of the goal, according to the site.
If completed, Sluizer claims on CineCrowd, the film would premiere at the Dutch Film Festival in September and would be released on DVD.
In October 2011, Sluizer told the Hollywood Reporter he planned to finish and release the film, which also stars Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis. The director said he planned to ask Phoenix’s brother, actor Joaquin Phoenix, to do a voice-over, noting, “The voices of both brothers are very much alike.”
The Phoenix family denied any involvement in a statement to Deadline: “Joaquin Phoenix and his family have not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.”
When contacted Thursday by Celebritology, Phoenix’s rep said via e-mail “nothing has changed” regarding the family’s position on “Dark Blood.” The rep did not respond when asked to comment on possible legal actions to block the film’s release.
Here’s the film’s synopsis, according to CineCrowd:
Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert at a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for the end of the world carving Katchina dolls that he believes have magical powers. While traveling on a "second" honeymoon across the Arizona desert, the car of the Hollywood jet-set couple (Pryce & Davis) breaks down. They are rescued by Boy, who holds them prisoners because he desires the woman and wants to create a better world with her.
Would you contribute money to see “Dark Blood” completed? Watch the trailer and tell us in the comments.