Suggesting that Hollywood still loves remakes, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara have hit everyone squarely in the feels.
In a January interview with Anderson Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix spoke of his career, stating that “…in virtually every movie that I made, there was a connection to River in some way”. This morning, that connection has shifted from celluloid to blood and bone, as the actor has decided to name his latest release (his son) after his long-departed brother, River.
The story is as grim as it is famous, with the original River’s 1993 drug overdose was witnessed firsthand, with Joaquin dialling 911 from the fêted Viper Room.
The mythical legacy of River flows on, as 2019 saw Leonardo DiCaprio wax lyrical about not meeting him, whilst promoting Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
“I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand….and one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in Vertigo, because I saw there was something in his face, and I’d never met him—always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him—and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze.
“The crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone. I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’ And he was . . . on his way to the Viper Room. It was almost as if—I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends,” he said.
The news was dropped at a screening at the Zurich Film Festival (because, what?) by Victori Kossakovsky, the Director of Gunda, a film executive produced by Joaquin, announcing that the actor and his partner, Rooney Mara, have welcomed “a beautiful son called River”, and goddamn it, I thought 2020 killed off positivity.
🚨 Viktor Kossakovsky 📽️, Gunda: He just had a baby Boy who’s Called River. ( about Joaquin) pic.twitter.com/WuUISnuTsZ
— Max California’s Lover (@Paula_FlorV) September 27, 2020
The couple met and started dating after working together on the 2013 film, Her.
Per JustJared, “Rooney and Joaquin went on to star in three other movies together in 2018: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Dominion and Mary Magdalene. Rooney first sparked pregnancy rumours in May of this year, and has been spotted out several times after that, hiding her growing baby bump with the use of oversized clothing“.
Accepting his Academy Award for Joker, Joaquin referenced the verbiage of River at the end of his speech, saying that “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow”.
At the risk of editorialising, while we can all inhale the dopamine this announcement enables, I wonder if the original River would be down with today’s news. Perhaps he didn’t ask to be reborn.