Final River Phoenix Film To Premiere At Last

Final River Phoenix Film To Premiere At Last

The final film made by actor River Phoenix is to premiere at a Dutch film festival nearly 19 years after the rising star's death at the age of 23.

Dark Blood, by director George Sluizer, will be screened on September 27 at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht, according to the festival's website.

The Dutch director had finished four-fifths of the movie when Phoenix collapsed and died of a drug-induced heart-failure outside a Hollywood nightclub on October 31, 1993.

He was playing one of the three main roles in the film, which featured his younger brother Joaquin as the voice of River's character Boy.

Joaquin went on to establish his own Hollywood success achieving two Oscar nominations to date - for Best Actor as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and Best Supporting Actor in Gladiator.

The 86-minute Dark Blood was left unfinished until 80-year-old Sluizer's deteriorating health prompted him to restart post production two years ago.

His daughter Anouk Sluizer said it was eventually finished in January this year.

"My father is ill and he decided to resume the movie's post-production after almost 20 years," she said. "He had shot about 81% and there was enough material to make a suspenseful movie."

Dark Blood tells the story of Boy (played by River Phoenix), a young widower who retreats into the desert to live a reclusive life after his wife died as a result of nuclear testing.

He saves a stranded couple on their second honeymoon, only to keep them hostage as he fell in love with the female lead character (played by Judy Davis), according to the Netherlands Film Festival's website.

Because of Phoenix's death, Anouk said: "My father had to find a creative solution, about which I cannot say much as there is an element of surprise."

At the time of his death Phoenix was regarded as one of the most promising rising young actors of his generation together with his peers such as Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

He had already appeared in two dozen films including the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and the adult drama My Own Private Idaho, in which he co-starred with Keanu Reeves.

His death at the time was compared with that of silver screen legend James Dean, who was killed in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24.