It's a well-documented slice of Hollywood history where River Phoenix went the night of his untimely death, but what's lesser known about is the halted production that the young actor was shooting at the time. Dutch director George Sluizer was ten days from wrapping on his film with Phoenix, “Dark Blood,” when he received news of his lead actor's death, and from then on the film was never released or spoken of again. However, since we last received news that Sluizer was forging on ahead, re-assembling the film as a tribute for completion and release, now there's an update and trailer to further hint at what remains of Phoenix's final role.
After apparently finding a logical way to patch narrative gaps in the film, Sluizer now faces the long journey of post-production, and is taking to the Dutch crowd-funding site CineCrowd to raise money for those costs. He's also added two videos — a trailer for the film showing off hints of story, and a slightly melancholy confessional from Sluizer himself, telling of a personal event that pushed him to attempt finishing the film. “[The] fact is, I suddenly became ill about 4 years ago — an aneurysm — and was told my years could be limited,” Sluizer said. “So I wanted to finish the movie now. It came as an urgency to me, but I also knew there was still good film material.”
Given Sluizer's previous films, including the suspense classic “The Vanishing,” there's little doubt that “Dark Blood” contains some fantastic footage, but for now the focus still remains on its editing stages. From the CineCrowd website, Sluizer hopes the film “will have its world premiere at the Dutch Film Festival later this year, provided the post-production budget gets fully funded.” As is also the requirement these days for crowd-funded projects, Sluizer has a tier-based reward system set up, with the lowest getting a personal thank you card, and the highest receiving a producer credit on the finished film.
Since the Phoenix family is apparently none too happy about Sluizer's attempts, it's unfortunately down to the director and his team to see that the finished film gets released. Hopefully though, with a little help from the public, “Dark Blood” can be finished to as close a perfect version as possible, and will see its first showing in September as planned. Until then, check out the trailer and interview below. [Movies.com]