River Phoenix continued his on screen presence 20 years after his death this week when his last film, Dark Blood, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. British actor Jonathan Pryce – who worked with Phoenix on the film – has been telling Reuters about the young star.
"I found him a remarkable young man," Pryce told reporters after a press screening in Berlin. "I can't believe now looking back that he was only 23 at the time, a kind of old head on young shoulders. He was absolutely delightful and wonderful to work with. Pheonix, brother of Joaquin, was considered to be one of the brightest stars of his generation before his untimely and tragic death due to a drug overdose. This happened just 10 days before filming was due to finish for Dark Blood. "In all the weeks we were together in Utah ... at no time did I experience him using drugs or abusing drugs in any way, shape or form. I'm not a drug user myself but I'd have known. It was a time in his life when he was very committed to not using drugs. I loved him a lot and I love his memory."
The film’s journey has been a miraculous one. Director, George Sluizer, found out back in 1999 that the footage was to be destroyed, so he flew over and rescued the reels just in time. 2007 saw serious illness hit for the Dutch filmmaker, so he decided to finish what he started. Even after all this, though, he might find the indifferent business of Hollywood a tough place to negotiate. "They are very tough," he said. "They are billionaires, money market people apparently who by mistake I would say have in their stock ... a film, and they don't care about movies and they don't care about culture, they care about money."