April 14, 2006, Newsletter Issue #57: Phoenix drug use was talked about

Tip of the Week

January 2001. Director Peter Bogdanovich recalls that there was much talk of River Phoenix´s suspected drug use on the set of "The Thing Called Love," the last film Phoenix completed before dying of an overdose outside Hollywood´s Viper Room on Halloween 1993. Bogdanovich writes in the January issue of Premiere magazine that the 23-year-old Phoenix had boundless talent, but a propensity for delving into - and almost becoming - the characters he played. The director approached Phoenix during filming when talk of the actor´s possible drug use began. "He himself didn´t have ´a problem with drugs,´ River told me lightly - he was just getting into the character," Bogdanovich said. Phoenix played a country singer trying to make it in Nashville in the 1993 film, which co-starred Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney and Sandra Bullock. "The irony was that the more brilliantly convincing River was in playing a self-involved, arrogant, drug-savvy, talented singer-songwriter, the more people believed that was River," Bogdanovich writes.

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