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Finding the flow and the continuity within a band, it was a challenge.I think he just wasn’t at a place where he could do it full-time and figure out what River Phoenix—the musician, the artist, the songwriter—wanted to be.”While shot in Los Angeles, River stayed at Flea’s house.A hugely classy ensemble—but the studio wanted to make sure that there was also some youth appeal and pushed for River.On the set, River quickly bonded with Aykroyd (another actor who really just wanted to rock).It’s the most visually arresting seven seconds in the movie.The shoot stretched over five months, but River had plenty of downtime, both because he had a supporting role in a large ensemble and because breaks were built into the schedule; Redford insisted on 10 days off at Christmas time so he could go on his annual skiing vacation.
I just want to make it for my friends and the people I play with.”“In hindsight, I’m not sure that River having a band was necessarily the best decision,” Buie said; she thought he might have done better as a solo acoustic performer. And his acting career was always competing for his time.
“He makes very quirky choices that really come alive on film,” the director said.
The quirkiest choice of all comes during a montage at a party, where most of the cast takes turns dancing with Mary Mc Donnell while Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” plays.
Soon after that incident, River’s former tutor Dirk Drake came to visit and was extremely concerned by the heroin situation.
He told River that he was “furious about the glamour those friends attached to scag.”To which River replied, “Don’t worry, I have the fear of God.”That infuriated Drake, who suggested that River should change careers from actor to Baptist preacher.