River Phoenix, NATURE BOY by Dan Yakir (Sky Magazine, 1989)

On location in Tacoma, Washington, where he’s filming I Love You To Death with William Hurt, Kevin Kline and, oddly, Tracey Ullman. River Phoenix, at 18, is the perfect, quiet professional. An Oscar nomination for Running On Empty, in which he, coincidentally, plays the son of 60’s radicals, hasn’t made him any more impressed by Hollywood. In fact, he lives on the opposite side of the continent in Florida.

The veteran of The Mosquito Coast, in which he played Harrison Ford’s alternately confused and supportive son, and of the coming of age stories, Stand By Me and Jimmy Reardon. Phoenix was born by natural childbirth in Oregon and named after the river of life in Herman Hesse’s Siddartha. His parents were then missionaries for an organization called The Children of God and befitting the hippie legacy that inspired his upbringing (and that of his brother Leaf, and sisters Rainbow, Liberty and Summer), he is a vegetarian, an incurable romantic and something of an idealist.

You grew up under rather unique circumstances. Do you feel different, enclosed in your own little universe?
[Chuckles] “That’s something I’m afraid of. I don’t want to separate myself from the rest of the world. If the world’s not doing too good, I’m a part of it - I’ll be happy to take the blame. I’m along for the ride. But yeah. I feel different in a lot of ways because my beliefs aren’t very typical. In fact a lot of people I talk to disagree with me.”

What do they disagree about?
“About the nuclear arms race, prejudice in South Africa. A lot of people I hang out with agree, but it’s obviously not of universal appeal; otherwise things would change. But I don’t think things can change overnight; a slow evolution has to take place. One of my beliefs is about harmlessness to animals. I don’t believe in eating meat or using any animal by-products or contributing to suppressing animals - or people either”. 

“One thing I’d like to do when I have the money is to buy thousands of acres of Brazilian rainforest and make a national park, so no one can bulldoze it an put up a McDonald’s. I guess people find security in a Big Mac, but that’s our oxygen! In fact, McDonald’s claim they don’t use cattle reared on cleared rainforest land. And it’s a chicken shit approach - the mass slaughtering of animals.”

You sound like an idealist, but we’re living in a materialistic world.
“Yeah, I try to stay away from that. I don’t feel that I am attached to material things, though I have all the comforts that a lot of people don’t have. I have the modern conveniences of a blender, a toilet, a shower. A lot of people have to do their thing in the gutter.”

But you have much more than that at this point!
“At this point, yes I have an automobile, a nice guitar - actually, a few of them, but they are not really extravagant. But, you know, up to three years ago, we, this family, were worried about paying the rent. It was after Jimmy Reardon that we first had financial stability. That’s when we bought a car that wasn’t old or used. One of our biggest dreams is to own a ranch, to have a base camp, where the kids can grow up in a nice setting. But right now we don’t really have enough money to buy the place we want.

I’m not into the whole clothes thing: I live pretty simply. I feel there are different stages in one’s life, and I might at one point decide to devote myself to a more spiritual road, giving up all material possessions … Just moving out to the jungle some place and living like an ape man for a while. That’s something that fascinates me.”

You’ve done that, haven’t you?
“Not really, not out of choice. And it was more like a desperate situation. My parents did that, though. They dropped out in the late 60’s and lived by faith throughout the 70’s.”

How difficult was that period for you? Did you feel resigned to being there with them or did you rebel?
“No, no, no, we were always really tight and together in the beginning, you’re just born into that reality and you accept it. I’m very thankful for my early childhood and growing up in the situation that I did in South America living around people who were really humble with a lifestyle that called for a lot of faith, without money. You couldn’t be an asshole in that situation. You had to work with the people to survive. I learned a lot being very young, and I hope I don’t lose that. Obviously I’ve lost a lot of my innocence. I was very naive when I first came to the States, and when I first came to Hollywood. But I guess I could look back years from now and see myself as very naive. It’s all relative.”

It’s a strange coincidence that in your new movie, Running On Empty, you play a kid who has a deep conflict of interest with his parents. In Little Nikita, too, there’s an almost unbridgeable gap between your character and his parents.
“Yeah, a victim. That’s something I want to get away from. But the two movies are really different. Running On Empty is about ex-radicals who blew up a napalm lab during the Vietnam War, and since then they’ve been running from the law, not for selfish reasons, but because of the kids - they wanted to raise us themselves, not to have us grow up in foster homes or in an institution. The thing is that we’ve had to live completely underground, moving often, using different names - always having to lie, in order to live a whole life, they have to lie for Danny, my character, and he has to lie to himself, suppressing his true feelings.”

Keep reading


In the December, 1991 issue of Starlog, writer Lynn Stephens asked DeForest Kelley what the most difficult aspect of working on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was and the actor quickly responded: “The hours, the long hours. We haven’t worked these hours on a Star Trek before. About the first five weeks involved Bill Shatner and myself. We were working nights — we worked all night long. They built a big prison set in Bronson Canyon, up in the mountains of Hollywood. Many films have been shot in that area.“

Kelley described the Rura Penthe prison set as ”…open up above and all around, so it required night shooting. Some very interesting things happen in there, things that the people on the ship are rather disturbed about.“

He added that his co-star in those scenes "really had a lot of physical stuff to do. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Bill Shatner draggin’.”

However, the man who played James T. Kirk had a markedly different take just two months later in the same magazine, telling Dan Yakir: “I spent five years on a TV series* in which much of it was shot at night and most of the time I was running, so everything else seems vacation-like by  comparison. By working at night, I mean we would go to work at sundown and leave at sunrise. We did a lot of fights and stuff like that, but I didn’t find that exhausting.”

* Shatner is referring to TJ Hooker, in which he played the titular LAPD cop, a former detective who demoted himself in order to work the streets as a patrolman again.

Originally posted by The Israel Project on Facebook:

BREAKING: More shocking hate at the Rio Olympics.

Israel’s Ori Sasson beats Egyptian Islam El Shehaby in 1st round of their judo competition.
The Egyptian then refuses to shake the Israeli’s hand. The crowd boos. This is the Israel-Arab situation in miniature.

For 68 years Israel has stretched out its hand in peace. But each time, they are rejected.

By: Yakir Dahan

—-> Do something against rising anti-Israel hate. Add your name to PeaceNotHate.com