River Phoenix the last 24 hrs – Documentary

River Phoenix last 24 hrs – Documentary

Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews, this DVD details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the events that led to his tragic death in
the city of Los Angeles.

This compelling documentary series unlocks the psychological flaws and events that result in the tragic deaths of famed notorious and the iconic. Every episode maps out the final 24 hours of a different famous person’s life. The series weaves the star’s back-story with events from their last day, which lays bare the threads of fate that led inextricably from childhood to the moment of death. These are no ordinary biographies. They’re psychological detective stories attempting to uncover the mystery of why the celebrity died.

Academy-award nominee for Best Supporting Actor, River Phoenix’s work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho. He appeared in diverse roles, making his first notable appearance in the 1986 film Stand by Me, a hugely popular coming-of-age film based on a novella by Stephen King.

Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Empty (1988), playing the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination, and My Own Private Idaho (1991), playing a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother. For his performance in the latter, Phoenix garnered enormous praise and won a Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, along with Best Actor from the National Society of Film Critics. He was listed by John Willis as one of twelve promising new actors of 1986.

Although Phoenix’s movie career was generating most of the income for his family, it has been stated by close friends and relatives that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, song writer and an accomplished guitarist. He had begun teaching himself guitar at the age of five and had stated in an interview for E! in 1988 that his family’s move to L.A. when he was nine was made so that he and his sister “… could become recording artists. I fell into commercials for financial reasons and acting became an attractive concept …”

Prior to securing an acting agent, Phoenix and his siblings had attempted to forge a career in music by playing cover songs on the streets of the Westwood district of LA. Phoenix disliked the idea of being a solo artist and relished collaboration; therefore he focused on putting together a band. Aleka’s Attic were formed in 1987 and the line up included his sister Rain. Phoenix was committed to gaining credibility by his own merit and so he maintained that the band would not use his name when securing performances that were not benefits for charitable organizations. Phoenix’s first release was “Across the Way”, co-written with band mate Josh McKay, which was released in 1989 on a benefit album for PETA titled Tame Yourself.

In 1991 River wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called “Curi Curi” for Milton Nascimento’s album TXAI. Also in 1991 the Aleka’s Attic track “Too Many Colors” was lent to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho a film which included Phoenix in a starring role. In 1996 the Aleka’s Attic track “Note to a Friend” was released on the 1996 benefit album In Defense of Animals; Volume II and featured Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass.

Phoenix had collaborated with friend John Frusciante after his first departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the songs “Height Down” and “Well I’ve Been” were released on Frusciante’s second solo album Smile from the Streets You Hold in 1997. The title track may also be an ode to Phoenix. Phoenix was an investor in the original House of Blues (founded by his good friend and Sneakers co-star Dan Aykroyd) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.

Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA and won their Humanitarian award in 1992 for his fund-raising efforts. Also in 1990, for Earth Day, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay targeted at his young fan base, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. He financially aided a slew of environmental and humanitarian organizations and bought 800 acres (320 ha) of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.

At war with his own dark demons, on October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room. He was 23 yrs-old at the time of his death. Prior to his death, Phoenix had been in the middle of filming the currently unreleased Dark Blood (1993).

In 24 hours his darkness consumed him and he was dead. Using archive footage, dramatic reenactment and interviews with his closest friends, companions, this documentary details the last hours of River Phoenix’s life and the gripping events that led to his tragic death in L.A.

R.I.P. Sweet Soul

Related post: Actor & Musician River Phoenix’s Final Film ‘Dark Blood’ Gets September Premiere

Actor & Musician River Phoenix’s Final Film ‘Dark Blood’ Gets September Premiere

River Phoenix.
Pictures: DCI | Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images

On Sept. 27, Dutch director George Sluizer will unveil a finished version of Dark Blood, the film River Phoenix was working on when he died in 1993, at a Dutch film festival (it’s unclear whether it will ever get a theatrical or DVD release). Here’s an excerpt from our story about the movie’s tangled history.

Around 3 a.m., the phone in director George Sluizer’s hotel room rang. It was River Phoenix’s agent, sharing the news of what would become one of the saddest, most shocking pop ­culture milestones of the ’90s. While ­hanging out at the Viper Room club in Los Angeles, Phoenix had ingested a ­dangerous combination of cocaine and heroin. He went into convulsions on the ­sidewalk outside the club. The 23-year-old actor was ­pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m.

Sluizer and Phoenix were in the middle of filming a movie called Dark Blood, and it was now up to the director to inform his movie’s cast and crew of the tragedy. “I was devastated,” says Sluizer, now 80. “It was a terrible sadness.” Sluizer and his crew had spent about seven weeks shooting in the Utah desert, and then decamped to L.A. to film interiors. There were roughly 11 days left on the schedule when ­Phoenix died. Now the movie was in limbo. After the initial shock wore off, Sluizer, the film’s producers, and the company that insured the production had to figure out what to do. Was there some way to salvage the movie? Or would all of their work — and Phoenix’s final onscreen performance — be lost forever?

Convinced that there was no cost-effective way to salvage Dark Blood, the insurance company made the call to abandon the project and pay out the claim to the original investors, at which point the insurers became the owners of the film. Dark Blood sat in storage until 1999, when Sluizer heard some disturbing news. The insurance company didn’t want to pay to warehouse his film anymore — and was planning to destroy it. “That’s when I said, ‘No, no, I’m going to save it from destruction,’ ” says ­Sluizer. So he did, although he won’t explain exactly how he got his hands on the footage. “I have good assistants, if I can put it this way, and some ­people who are clever in finding the right key,” he says with a laugh. “I am an enterprising person.”

On Christmas Day, 2007, Sluizer was on vacation in eastern France, riding ATVs around the foothills of the French Alps with his family, when he suddenly collapsed. Acting fast, his son called the fire brigade, who evacuated him to a local hospital. From there an ambulance drove him five hours to a cardiovascular hospital, where he underwent surgery that saved his life. It turned out he had suffered an acute ­aortic dissection. “Normally within five minutes you’re dead,” says the director. “I’m in that sense a miracle.”

Sluizer spent more than a year in physical therapy, relearning how to sit and then stand and walk. During that grueling period of recovery, he finally reached a ­decision: He needed to complete Dark Blood. “I had the feeling that I had to finish the creative work which hundreds of people had done together,” he says, “so that it would be there for anyone who wanted to see it.” Sluizer was still in very poor health, and his doctors told him he might not have long to live. “I said, I want to finish the film before whatever happens. At least I will finish my job as best as I could.”

In the film, Phoenix plays Boy, a young widower living on a nuclear testing site in the desert. While he waits for the end of the world, Boy carves Katchina dolls that supposedly contain magical powers. His life is disrupted when a Hollywood jet-set couple traveling across the desert become stranded after their car breaks down. Boy rescues the couple and then takes them prisoners because he desires the woman and wants to create a better world with her. Dark Blood also stars Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce and Karen Black.

River Phoenix

Phoenix was a dedicated animal-rights activist, an environmentalist and a die-hard vegan—he wore no leather and cared so much about the diminishing rain forest that he bought acres and acres of it in Costa Rica to save it from development.

Aleka’s Attic Band

But by the time Phoenix had co-starred in hits such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, he was changed. Moody and restless, he had all but abandoned acting, moved back to Florida to be near his family and, with his sister Rain, formed the rock band Aleka’s Attic. But through it all, he always insisted that he believed in clean living: “I don’t see any point or any good in drugs that are as disruptive as cocaine. I never tried heroin. I tried alcohol and most of the others when I was 15, and got it out of the way—finished with the stuff.”

Sluizer is best known for his 1988 thriller Spoorloos, remade as The Vanishing (1993), starring Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland. Phoenix received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty (1988), played the young Indy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and also starred in such films as Stand by Me (1986) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). He was the brother of two-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix.

In addition to the Dark Blood premiere, the 2012 Netherlands Film Festival also will screen a retrospective of Sluizer’s work and will publish a book on the director’s life.

Dark Blood Trailer

River Phoenix and the Aleka Band

This is a song by Patty Loveless performed by
River Phoenix in “The thing called love”.

Related post: River Phoenix: The Last 24 hrs – Documentary