When actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993, the Fine Line Features film he was currently shooting, Dutch director George Sluizer’s “Dark Blood,” was seemingly put on permanent hold. Now, 19 years after he began the project, 80-year-old Sluizer has finished the film and it will premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht on September 27.
In “Dark Blood,” Phoenix plays a widower named Boy, who waits for the apocalypse to come from the nuclear testing site not far from his desert backyard, and ultimately takes a Hollywood couple (played by Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis) hostage when their car breaks down. The film also co-stars Karen Black in a small role.
After Phoenix’s death, Sluizer returned to the Netherlands and brought the unfinished film with him, fearful that the footage would be destroyed if not kept hidden. THR first broke the news in 2011 that Sluizer would be revisiting and completing “Dark Blood,” and that it would be financed by the Netherland Film Fund, as well as Cinecrowd (sort of a Dutch Kickstarter).
It remains to be seen if the film will be palatable for other festivals or North American distributors.