- (Photo: Reuters)
River Phoenix died before the debut of his last film "Dark Blood," but the Miami Film Festival organizers have announced that it will be released next month.
The brother to "Walk the Line" star Joaquin Phoenix, River died on Oct. 31, 1993 of heart failure caused by an overdose of cocaine and heroin. The actor died at age 23.
His sudden death came right in the middle of filming the George Sluizer-directed "Dark Blood," causing production to immediately stop.
"We had shot 80 percent, but it is not continuous, is it so many little pieces here and there," Sluizer said in October, according to BBC.
After facing an illness and his own imminent death, Sluizer decided to finish the film.
"It was kind of urgency," the director explained in a statement, according to CBS News. "The director Michelangelo Antonioni once said, 'If I can't film I prefer to die.' I can find myself in these words. You are a craftsman and you want to complete your work. I am a perfectionist. I wanted to finish 'Dark Blood' and I also wanted to preserve the cast and crew's creative work."
"Dark Blood" also starred Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce. The film follows Boy, portrayed by Phoenix, as a young widower dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting and lethal effects.
The film received its world premiere in the Netherlands in September, but it will hit stateside at the Miami Film Festival, which takes place from March 1 to March 10 this year.
"'Dark Blood' is a film of legend, one of Hollywood's great mysteries," said Miami International Film Festival executive director Jaie Laplante in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
"The tragic loss of River Phoenix's outstanding talent is still profoundly felt 20 years later," the MIFF director continued. "We are proud that George Sluizer has honored Miami as the place to finally share his remarkable collaboration with Phoenix and the other great artists involved with 'Dark Blood.'"
After starting his career at the age of 10, Phoenix's first notable appearance was in 1986's "Stand By Me," a coming-of-age film based on Stephen King's novella.
The actor was also well known for his roles in films such as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "Running on Empty," "My Own Private Idaho," among others.
In 1993, Phoenix completed the last film before his death; "The Thing Called Love."
Meanwhile, Joaquin Phoenix, 38, recently received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in "The Master."