AS Hollywood comebacks go, this will take some beating. River Phoenix, who died almost 20 years ago, aged 23, will be appearing on screen in September - in his final film.
The actor was three weeks from completing Dark Blood when he collapsed and died outside Johnny Depp's infamous Hollywood club, The Viper Room, after taking a cocaine and heroin speedball.
For nearly two decades, George Sluizer, the Academy Award-nominated director, hid the raw film footage, fearing it would be destroyed by the insurance company, who believed the unfinished work was unusable.
But this weekend, the director said he now wishes to release the movie, set to premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in the autumn, as a tribute to the actor.
"I suddenly became ill about four years ago - an aneurism - and was told my years could be limited," Sluizer said.
"So I wanted to finish the movie now. It came as an urgency to me, but I also knew there was still good film material."
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