"no paparazzi...i want anonymity"--The Last Words of River Jude Phoenix--
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River Phoenix
"I'm just a normal guy doing a job!"
"After Stand By Me came out people were telling me, 'You're so good,' 'You're going to be a star,' and things like that. You can't think about it. If you take it the wrong way, you can really get high on yourself. People get so lost when that happens to them. They may think they have everything under control, but everything is really out of control. Their lives are totally in pieces."
"We were constantly moving to different countries and adjusting to new things. It was such a free feeling. I'm glad I didn't have a traditional upbringing."
"I'm really normal. I play football, go to the beach, drive. We have dogs. I can imagine people calling me a character, but I'm Joe Straight."
"Commercials were too phony for me. I just didn't like selling  a product I didn't believe in."
"I've been wanting to go into music ever since I can remember. I mean even before I became an actor. I just thought it would be a tough feild to break into, so I became an actor instead."
"Music is my main goal, but I'm not going to rush a record out. There are so many actors who have come out with albums these days. I don't want to do it because it's the thing to do. I want to wait until the time is right."
"Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on."
"I did my best work in The Mosquito Coast. I know it wasn't such a big hit, but for me it was more meaningful than anything else I'd ever done."
"I like girls who are natural because I am natural in everything I do. If I meet a girl who is snobby and wants special treatment, she's not going to get it from me because she hasn't earned it. But I've been basically lucky because I've met mostly nice girls--and that's what attracts me."
"People wonder if I'll always be a part of this family and the answer is yes. My family has a lot of good energy going in one direction and because of it, we get a lot of things done. That's why I'll always spend a lot of time at Camp Phoenix."
"I'd like to play every type of character, but only once. I like to expierence things."
"I would never, never do anything unless I believed in it."
"Vegitarianism is a link to perfection and peace"
"I can't on my own change the regime in South Africa or teach the Palestinians to learn to live with the Israelies, but I can start with me."
"We all have our distinct things. Leaf was the family clown - very witty, very smart. Mom had to work a lot, so Rainbow was the mother and the older sister and trendsetter. Liberty was always the most physical, like an acrobat, very nimble and strong, a really beautiful girl. And Summer was the youngest, the baby of the family with big brown eyes and blond hair, more American-looking."
"Biggest problem was I was terrible for commercials - I couldn't smile on cue."
"I remember we'd roll into gas stations in our beat-up van and I'd tell the attendant, 'I'm going to be an actor!'."
"I told them I was tired of being in the magazines, and how they made it sound like I love them and want girls so badly to buy them. I'm also doing a photo shoot in a couple of weeks - good honest pictures. They're going to print these pictures anyway, so they might as well be pictures of what I'm really like."
"When I was old enough to realize all meat was killed, I saw it as an irrational way of using our power, to take a weaker thing and mutilate it. It was like the way bullies would take control of younger kids in the schoolyard."
"When I was in first grade, everyone made fun of my name, of course. I think it's kind of a big name to hold up when you're nine years old. It seemed goofy. I used to tell people I wanted to change the world and they used to think, 'This kid's really weird'."
"Rich kids gave us their old clothes. They were the best clothes we ever had. We were these very pure, naïve, poor children. The rich kids called us a lot of names but it never bothered us because we didn't know what the words meant."
"I have twenty personalities on top of the ten I already have. So now I have thirty people in my head!"
"Music is a hobby, because I'm not making any money out of it, but I put just as much conviction into that as I do into my acting."
"Music is a whole oasis in my head. The creation process is so personal and fulfilling."
"It's a great feeling to think that I can be a friend to so many people through my movies."
"I don't want to die in a car accident. When I die it'll be a glorious day. It'll probably be a waterfall."
"Once you get into that street groove, the other side-the straight side-looks really scary."
"I have a lot of chameleon qualities, I get very absorbed in my surroundings."
"Achieving success gets complicated. You find yourself hanging around with a different crowd. I probably would have shied away from it, but after a while you can't help but get sucked in ... all those parties and premieres and limos picking you up. And after a while, if you hang in with this little group, you lose your sense of reality completely."
"I sometimes lie, especially about personal things, because what does it matter? I am a kind of minute commodity, my name is no longer my own."
"I try to lie as much as I can when I'm interviewed. It's reverse psychology. I figure if you lie, they'll print the truth."
"I don't want to get into the habit of thinking about my career because when it comes down to it, it's not that important. I could die tomorrow and the world would go on. I don't want to separate myself from the rest of the world. If the world is not going too good, I'm part of that. I'll be happy to take the blame. I'm along for the ride."
"It still strikes me as strange that anyone can have any moral objection to someone else's sexuality. It's like telling someone else how to clean their house."
"People are constantly trying to make an image for you. They'll dress you up and tell you to pose a certain way and take all these pictures...they want a certain image, so they create that. And unless you're spending a lot of time to create another image to counteract that image, their's will win. So right now, I'm kind of dealing with a lot of false ideas of what I'm about."
family & friends
"We all feel guilt, everyone who knew River. Not a day goes by when I don't think long and hard about River's death and ask myself why" --John Phoenix--
"When the wind blows, I see River. When the sun shines, I see River. When I look in someone's eyes and make a connection, I see River. To have death transformed into another way to look at life is his huge gift." --Heart Phoenix--
"When I first met River, he had very long hair and he struck me - as he came out of an elevator - as an angel, some kind of supernatural being. An angel could be Gabriel, but an angel could be Lucifer too. He could as readily delve in to the deep, dark recesses as he would fly up to the lofty illuminated [places]." --Bobby Burowski-- director of photography, Dogfight
"I did get the sense that he was searching and confused about things, and insecure. He didn't have a lot of technique - you just saw this kind of raw naturalism. You just turned the camera on, and he would tell the truth" --Rob Reiner-- director, Stand By Me
"I think River was like my late son. He was years ahead of his age. I think people like that are very vulnerable to...well, to other people. They are prey for the not-so-good." --Alan Bates-- co-star, Silent Tongue
"They came to me when they were little children, the whole family. I've had them since River was, like, nine. He was the most beautiful child you've ever seen, like a little Elvis" --Iris Burton-- River Phoenix's agent
"He often said he wished he could just be anonymous, but he never was. When he wasn't a movie star, he was missionary." --Arlyn Phoenix--
"He bought up acres and acres of forests. He did not invest in condos; he bought rainforests. He spent thousands and thousands of dollars, just they wouldn't be cut down. That's what he was doing with his money." --William Richert-- director, Jimmy Reardon
"I feel really bad, because I felt like he was there for everybody, and nobody was there for him. I knew maybe there were problems...but he was such a great actor that he would just totally calm my nerves. I mean, he would make you feel crazy for even asking him, "Is everything all right?"--Anthony Clark-- co-star, Dogfight, The Thing Called Love
"One time we were up in the mountains, and the clouds came right up to the top of the mountain. River grabbed [my] arm and said, "We're going to run and jump into these clouds and whole past lives will dissolve, and everything will be new from then on. Hold on." And we did that...it was incredible, and we landed on this soft iceberg kind of ground covering. But we jumped through clouds, literally." --William Richert-- director, Jimmy Reardon
"There was always an outsider quality to him. I think he must have felt that way somewhat, because his family was unusual and his name was unusual." --Joe Dante-- director, Explorers
"He sent a very sweet letter and a present after Larry [Olivier, her husband] died. It was a tuning fork, and the message said, "Tune into life."' --Joan Plowright-- co-star, I Love You To Death
"We talked the entire day. One of the reasons I opened up to him is that I felt he did understand and felt how I did - not the same way, but the pain." --Michael Parker-- inspiration for River's character in Idaho
"River Phoenix was a victim of the machine. The fame machine, the Hollywood machine, the selling machine, the money machine. And the machine is a liar."--Jim Barton-- screenwriter, Dark Blood
"I know one thing : River did not want to die. He had too much going on...But I guess that's part of what happens...it's a release. People find different ways of escaping. He had a lot of stress, not just on the set." --Sky Sworski-- friend and benefactor
"We did ten takes of the soliloquy, the last day we shot with him on Dark Blood. It was in the cave...all lit by candles. After the last take I didn't turn off the camera. When we saw the dailies, for ten seconds River was in front of the camera, just a silhouette lit by ambient light. It was...eerie. People were crying. We knew it was the last we would see of River." --Ed Lachman-- director of photography, Dark Blood