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River Phoenix movie: Joaquin Phoenix and family not involved

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River Phoenix
Warner Bros./Getty Images

River Phoenix
Warner Bros./Getty Images

Reports surfaced yesterday that River Phoenix’s last unfinished film, Dark Blood, was to be completed after 18 years. The late actor was still in the midst of shooting the movie — a thriller about a couple in a desert, co-starring Judy Davis — with director George Sluizer (best known for 1988’s Spoorloos/The Vanishing) when he passed away in 1993 at the age of 23. Sluizer reportedly said he was still in touch with the Phoenix family, and that he planned to ask River’s brother, actor Joaquin Phoenix, to provide the voiceover for River’s character.

This was apparently news to Joaquin Phoenix and family, as the actor’s rep has released the following statement to EW: “Despite George Sluizer’s claim that he has been communicating with River Phoenix’s family in regard to releasing River’s last film, Joaquin Phoenix and his family have not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.”

Sluizer couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Today marks what would have been River Pheonix’s 41st birthday: A sad reminder of a lost talent