"LaBruce: Were almost out of time. Tell us a River Phoenix story that would be good for BUTT. I was thinking of the campfire scene in My Own Private Idaho, and how you didnt really need to make Brokeback Mountain because you already did it.
Van Sant: Should I talk about how that scene was done?
Van Sant: Um, Id seen River in Stand By Me, and you know he had that great moment where he was talking about the teacher and he was crying about something unjust that had happened at school. And it kind of put him on the map. So when it came time to shoot the campfire scene in the desert, which was kind of a sex scene, or at least leading up to the possibility of sex, he wanted to put it off, because he hadnt got to that point yet emotionally with the character. He wanted to wait. So I said okay, even though it was sort of an unusual request. But sometimes I would baby the actors, rather than say, No, youve got to buck up and do the scene. But when he finally did it, even the crewmembers said, That was a great scene. And when the crewmembers say that, you know the actor got it right. The day before we shot that scene he came up to me and he had these napkins that were kind of pasted together with writing on them, and it was a complete mess, I couldnt read it. And he said they were ideas he had for the campfire scene, and he was showing them to me, and I was horrified, because he couldnt be rewriting Keanu Reeves lines. But he said Keanu was totally into it. So I said he didnt have to show me, wed just shoot it and if it wasnt working wed go back to the original scene, which was half as long. So the scene ended up slightly different. In the original script he doesnt tell Scott that he loves him, but he does ask him if he fools around with guys, and Scott says, Well I only sleep with guys for money. And River says, Yeah but were out in the desert and its boring. When I wrote the script he wasnt a gay character. He was a hustler character, but it wasnt really about love. But River decided to make the character gay and proclaim his love for Scott.
LaBruce: Do you think River ever had a gay experience?
Van Sant: Yeah, he had. Bobby Bukowski, the director of photography, said that he had sex with him before and after My Own Private Idaho. I think it said that in Rolling Stone.
LaBruce: And Bobby is completely gay, right. Wow, thats hot. Because Bobbys really cute too. I think River and also someone like Kurt Cobain they both had this longing to be gay because they both identified with, I dont know, the outsiderness of it.
Van Sant: Definitely. Well certainly Kurt. More so. Because River was coming into it really as a character, but he didnt have strong or even politically correct opinions about gay life. "
Much Love, Ola xx