Actor River Phoenix to make his 'comeback' in final film
AS Hollywood comebacks go, this will take some beating. River Phoenix, who died almost 20 years ago, aged 23, will be appearing on screen in September -- in his final film.
The actor was three weeks from completing 'Dark Blood' when he collapsed and died outside Johnny Depp's infamous Hollywood club, The Viper Rooms, after taking a cocaine-and-heroin speedball.
For nearly two decades, George Sluizer, the Academy Award-nominated director, hid the raw film footage, fearing it would be destroyed by the insurance company who believed the unfinished work was unusable.
But this weekend, the director said he now wishes to release the movie -- set to premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in the autumn -- as a tribute to the actor.
"I suddenly became ill about four years ago -- an aneurysm -- and was told my years could be limited," Mr Sluizer said. "So I wanted to finish the movie now."
Mr Sluizer has released a trailer of the film on the internet, appealing to the public to donate funds to help finance post-production. He and film editor Michiel Reichwein have been working on the footage since March.
'Dark Blood' -- co-starring Judy Davis, nominated for an Oscar for 'A Passage to India', and British actor Jonathan Pryce -- features 23-year-old Phoenix in the role of Boy, a young widower living at a nuclear test site in the desert, waiting for the end of the world.
The Phoenix family yesterday confirmed they had no involvement with the project.