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October 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In an interview that would appear to raise as many questions as it answers, Dutch director George Sluizer has told the Hollywood Reporter that he plans to complete his 1993 drama Dark Blood, which River Phoenix was working on when he died outside a West Hollywood nightclub in 1993 of an apparent drug overdose at age 23. Sluizer told the publication that he has been keeping the original footage hidden away and that he now believes he can re-edit it, make “a few adjustments,” bring in Phoenix’s brother Joaquin in to provide some fill-in narration, and deliver a final cut that can be released next year. But the Reporter article does not explain why Sluizer has kept the footage hidden, except to indicate that he feared it would be destroyed. (He does not disclose who might want to destroy it.) There is no explanation of why he has waited 18 years to try to complete the film. While he says he believes that the voices of River and Joaquin Phoenix “are very much alike” and that he plans to ask Joaquin to provide the narration, he does not say why he has not approached him previously. THR also reported that the Dutch-based production house Eyeworks is helping Sluizer finish the film and that “copyright claims” might force it to change the title of the film. Since film titles can’t be copyrighted, that information seems odd as well.