When River Phoenix overdosed at the Viper Room in 1993, he was midway through filming the movie Dark Blood. At the time, Phoenix’s family sued to stop completion of the movie, and in 1999, when the case settled, the film’s insurance company decided to destroy the footage. However, in a plot twist straight out of a National Treasure straight-to-VOD sequel, it turns out that footage has been sitting in a London warehouse for 15 years. According to a Hollywood Reporter interview with the film’s director, George Sluizer,
Another decade lapsed before Sluizer tried to finish Dark Blood, also starring Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce. “The negatives were still good but part of the sound needed to be rebuilt and re-recorded,” he says. “And only 65 percent of the story was shot…so I had to rewrite the story.”
Sluizer finally finished his refurbishment of the film in 2011, and has been touring it around festivals since then. Finally, this week at Cannes, Lionsgate has bought the distribution rights and plans for a VOD release.
So… 20 years after a brilliant young actor died and his family spent 6 years shutting down production, the film is being remounted, despite major plot holes and having to ADR the sh*t out of it. It feels like there are only two possible reasons to go through this trouble.
#1. This is the greatest movie of the last 20 years, and it needed to be produced.
#2. A bunch of people are hoping to make a sh*t ton of money off the “River Phoenix’s last movie!” tagline.
I really, truly hope this is the new Citizen Kane.