inktober52: river (part 1)

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River Phoenix died of an accidental drug overdose on Halloween evening 1993… as his career was on a meteoric rise. His untimely death paused a number of projects in development in Hollywood.

  • River was about to start filming his next picture in early November 1993. He had been cast to play “Daniel Molloy” in Interview with the Vampire. The role was recast with Christian Slater.
  • River would have followed that role by playing Susan Sarandon’s son in Safe Passage. That role was eventually played by Sean Astin.
  • He was signed to play the lead in John Boorman’s Broken Dreams. River’s death put the film on hold. It was resurrected in 2012, with Caleb Landry Jones taking over River’s role, but the film has yet to be made.
  • River was in talks to play “Cleve Jones” in the award-winning biopic Milk. The role was taken over by Emile Hirsch.
  • River was suggested to portray Andy Warhol in a proposed film about the late artist, but it never came to be.
  • River loved the book The Basketball Diaries and hoped to one day play author Jim Carroll in a big-screen adaptation. The film was made two years after River’s death with Leonardo DiCaprio as Jim Carroll.
  • River was interested in starring in Total Eclipse, in a role that subsequently went to Leonardo DiCaprio
  • River was James Cameron’s first choice to play “Jack Dawson” in his epic film Titanic. Again, the role went to Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • After his role as a young “Indiana Jones” in the prelude of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, plans were in the works to continue the film franchise with a series of prequel adventures with River in the lead role. His death put all development on hold until 2008 when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released.



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