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River Phoenix's Last Film Finally Getting Released

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Nearly two decades after his death, River Phoenix's final film, "Dark Blood," will finally see the light of day.

The actor, who died outside Hollywood club the Viper Room on Halloween night in 1993 after reportedly ingesting a lethal combination of drugs, had filmed 15 movies in his short career, including notable roles in "Running on Empty" and "Stand By Me."

"Dark Blood" director George Sluizer, who kept the movie under wraps for the past 18 years due to concerns over what might happen to the footage, is gearing up to release his final edit of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the movie, co-starring Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis, Phoenix plays a desert-dwelling hermit whose plans for the impending apocalypse are derailed when he meets a young couple who become stranded near his campsite.

Sluizer has made a few changes to the film since it was filmed, most notably enlisting the late actor's brother, Joaquin, to complete voice-over work as River's character, Boy. The director, perhaps best known to American audiences for 1992's "The Vanishing," a remake of his Dutch-language film "Spoorloos," says that he has remained in contact with the Phoenix family since River's death and would like to cast the younger Phoenix due to the vocal similarities between him and his brother.

Sluizer is working with production company Eyeworks to complete "Dark Blood," and while legal concerns may necessitate a change in title, the director is hoping to release the film as soon as next year.

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