“River doesn’t have a false bone in his body,” says the director Sidney Lumet of Phoenix’s performance in Running On Empty, soon to be released over here. “He can’t utter a false line. He stopped in the middle of one scene while we were shooting and said, ‘This feels fake to me.’ I listened again. He was right. I cut the scene. So long as River follows his instincts, takes stuff he believes in, there’ll be no stopping him. I first saw him in Stand By Me and there was such an extraordinary purity about him.’’
- Sidney Lumet about River for The Face, July 1989.