Joaquin Phoenix and family shoot down rumors of a ''Dark Blood'' release near 20 years after the young actor's tragic death

By Sara Vilkomerson
Updated October 28, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Internet has been abuzz after reports that director George Sluizer (best known for 1988’s Spoorloos/The Vanishing) was finally going to complete Dark Blood, River Phoenix‘s final, never-released film. The 23-year-old star, who died on Halloween in 1993 of an apparent drug overdose, was still in the midst of shooting the film — a thriller about a couple in a desert costarring Judy Davis — at the time. It was reported that Sluizer planned to approach River’s brother, Joaquin Phoenix, to provide a voice-over. Not so fast, says the Phoenix family, who released the following statement to EW: ”Joaquin Phoenix and his family have not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.” Reached in France, Sluizer says that he had not been in touch with the family.