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Samantha Mathis speaks out about River's death

May 1 2006 at 7:47 PM
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Rain  (Login OoxRa1nxoO)

I found this article and found it moving in a way. It's an older article that was done with a few years after River's death, but, I still think its a good one, considering that Samantha no longer talks of his death EVER.

Enjoy everyone!

---------------------------------------------------------
Why I Still Grieve For River
By Samantha Mathis

The Broken Arrow star talks for the first time about her feelings for River Phoenix, her lover at the time of his tragic death

Samantha Mathis followed her boyfriend River Phoenix as he staggered out of
a Hollywood nightclub and crouched on the cold pavement. She held his head
as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Actor River, just 23, never recovered. He died within an hour of being
taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles. Despite a supposedly
clean-living lifestyle, he died from a lethal drug overdose.

Since then, Samantha has remained silent about the harrowing events of that
fateful Halloween night of October 1993 and the effect it has had on her
life. She has simply got on with her acting career, with appearances in
films like Little Women, Jack and Sarah and The American President, while
keeping a low personal profile and steering clear of intterviews.

She is rarely seen out socialising and has never been back to The Viper
Rooms, the trendy nightclub owned by Johnny Depp on Sunset Boulevard where
River Phoenix was taken ill.

But at 25, as her film career takes another leap forward, with a major role
in Broken Arrow with John Travolta and Christian Slater, Samantha has at
last decided to talk about her memories of the night River died and the
emotions that rememberance provokes.

‘I certainly look back on the night he died as a nightmare,' she says
frankly. ‘It is a nightmare that will never end. He had gone to the club
simply to play his guitar and enjoy himself, but his life at the time
seemed under so much pressure.

‘He had a lot of work and it seemed to get to him. He took the problems of
the world on his shoulders and could not seem to shake off blacks moods of
depression.

‘But he never wanted to die. It was so far from his mind and, together, we
shared a loving, caring life. Sadly, there is a feeling among some people
in Hollywood that they are somehow invincible. Like them, River began to
think that nothing could touch him.

‘To a certain extent, his sudden illness and death that nigh will always be
surreal for me. I still can't believe it. I spent a year thinking about it
-- a terrible year, and the loss is one of those things which, even now, is
very hard to accept.'

Samantha sits, speaking calmly and clearly, in a suite at the Four Seasons
Hotel, Beverly Hills, just three miles from the site of that night's
dramatic events.

Her slight frame, with brown hair cut neatly to shoulder length, looks so
diffferent from her on-screen image in Broken Arrow. She plays action girl
Terry Carmichael, who befriends stealth bomber pilot Riley Hale (Christian
Slater) in his attemps to expose rogue pilot Vic Deakins (John Travolta).
We see her character shooting, fighting and scheming to beat Deakins, who
has stolen nuclear weapons in an attempt to blackmail the American
governement.

But Samantha's fighting in the last two years has been of an altogether
different kind. ‘River's death was a life changing experience for me,' she
says. ‘We all know that when anyone dies, it makes us look at life
diffferently. Seeing someone so young and loving and full of life crumble
and dies changed all my priorities. You know, it made me see what is really
important and what isn't. Ultimately, I have really had to learn to laugh
at life, too. Otherwise, it can all become too much.'

Samantha, who co-starred with River in The Thing Called Love in 1993, knew
that his performances in films like Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho
had set him up to earn recognition as ‘the new James Dean'. Dean died in
1955 in a car crash after starring in just three films and is still
remembered as a tragic genius whose promise was never fulfilled. But of
River, who was set to star alongside Tom Cruise in Interview with the
Vampire, Samantha has more pragmatic memories.

‘He had time for every problem and every possibility,' she says, ‘but I
have learned to be much more selfish in my outlook. I am selfish about my
time and who I spend it with. I am also selfish about my work and which
films I choose to work on.

‘And if I don't want to do something, I never criticise myself for not
doing it. I take care of myself and my needs, because life is too short. I
do not do anything because I have to.'

Since River's death, Samantha has spent time backpacking with her friend,
actress Sandra Bullock -- who is now one of Hollywood's hottest actresses,
earning $5 million for her latest film, A Time to Kill -- and she has been
very cautious about starting a new romance.

‘Working as I do makes things complicated. I can leave town for four months
at a time, and it is impossible to keep a male friendship moving forward
with such long gaps. So I have decided to leave things alone.

‘I have recently started seeing someone a little, though,' Samantha admits,
showing signs that she is gradually getting over losing River. ‘He is from
New York. It is really very new and it's not anywhere near a relationship
yet. But it's a start.'

It's obvious that, although the words flow surprisingly freely for someone
who has chosen not to say anything on the subject until now, Samantha is
still bruised and fragile over River's sudden death.

‘I think of him every day,' she says simply. ‘It's strange to see him
through his films, still living and breathing. I put on the television at
the weekend and I Love You to Death was on, and there he was. I'm grateful
to be able to see him like that, but at the same time it is very odd and
I'm never quite sure how to explain my emotions.'

Broken Arrow offered her a valuable chance to forget the past. ‘I needed to
do an action film, where I could put my emotions to one side,' she
confesses. I enjoyed learning how to shoot a gun, and it was very
confidence-building to be able to pull off a few stunts. There was an
element of fear and exhilaration.

It also gave her an opportunity to work with 26-year-old Christian Slater
again, who was her co-star six years ago in Pump up the Volume and,
ironically, the man who replaced River on Interview with the Vampire.

‘It is hard to remember where I was at 19,' she says, rather sadly. ‘I have
had a ton of experience since then and gained more confidence -- at a
terrible price, of course.

‘I am pretty much at peace about River now. But it is still strange. I have
a feeling it always will be.'

 
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AuthorReply
Colleen
(Login Riverfanalways)

Re: Samantha Mathis speaks out about River's death

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May 7 2006, 1:26 PM 

WOW! I do remember reading about how she said it was a nightmare.. well i am sure of that!

She is so pretty. A natural beauty.

I feel awful for what happened that night to her!

OH in the movie the thing called love there is a scene where they are in the hospital and the dialog is very eerie! see it!


I do wish her all the best.

 
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tonya
(Login smaritonii)

excerpts that was not included ..

Score 2.0 (1 person)
April 22 2015, 10:51 AM 

Samantha Mathis remembers....

When River Phoenix died on October 31, 1993, he left behind
a throng of dazed and devastated fans, but first and foremost,
he left behind a group of family and loved ones. These people
have not said much, but it is obvious that their grief is
overwhelmingly sharp and omnipresent in their lives.

Below is an excerpt on some comments that Samantha Mathis
made about her late boyfriend. To read her words, is to feel
her pain....

Why I Still Grieve For River
By Samantha Mathis

The Broken Arrow star talks for the first time about her
feelings for River Phoenix, her lover at the time of his
tragic death.

Samantha Mathis followed her boyfriend River Phoenix
as he staggered out of a Hollywood nightclub
and crouched on the cold pavement. She held his head
as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Actor River, just 23, never recovered.
He died within an hour of being taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital,
Los Angeles. Despite a supposedly clean-living lifestyle,
he died from a lethal drug overdose.

Since then, Samantha has remained silent about the harrowing
events of that fateful Halloween night of October 1993
and the effect it has had on her life.
She has simply got on with her acting career,
with appearances in films like Little Women, Jack and Sarah,
and The American President, while
keeping a low personal profile and steering clear of intterviews.

She is rarely seen out socializing and has never been back
to The Viper Room, the trendy nightclub owned by Johnny Depp
on Sunset Boulevard where River Phoenix was taken ill.

But at 25, as her film career takes another leap forward,
with a major role in Broken Arrow with John Travolta
and Christian Slater, Samantha has atlast decided to talk
about her memories of the night River died and the
emotions that rememberance provokes.

'I certainly look back on the night he died as a nightmare,'
she says frankly. 'It is a nightmare that will never end.
He had gone to the club simply to play his guitar
and enjoy himself, but his life at the time seemed under
so much pressure.

'He had a lot of work and it seemed to get to him.
He took the problems of the world on his shoulders,
and could not seem to shake off blacks moods of
depression.

'But he never wanted to die. It was so far from his mind and,
together, we shared a loving, caring life.
Sadly, there is a feeling among some people in Hollywood that
they are somehow invincible. Like them, River began to
think that nothing could touch him.

'To a certain extent, his sudden illness and death
that night will always be surreal for me.
I still can't believe it. I spent a year thinking about it
-- a terrible year, and the loss is one of those things which,
even now, is very hard to accept.'

Samantha sits, speaking calmly and clearly,
in a suite at the Four Seasons
Hotel, Beverly Hills, just three miles from the site of
that night's dramatic events.


But Samantha's fighting in the last to years
has been of an altogether different kind. 'River's
death was a life changing experience for me,' she
says. 'We all know that when anyone dies, it makes us
look at life diffferently. Seeing someone so young
and loving, and full of life crumble
and die changed all my priorities.
You know, it made me see what is really
important and what isn't. Ultimately, I have really
had to learn to laugh at life, too.
Otherwise, it can all become too much.'

Samantha, who co-starred with River
in The Thing Called Love in 1993, knew
that his performances in films like Stand by Me
and My Own Private Idaho had set him up to earn
recognition as 'the new James Dean'. Dean died in
1955 in a car crash after starring in just three
films and is still remembered as a tragic genius
whose promise was never fulfilled. But of
River, who was set to star alongside Tom Cruise
in Interview with the Vampire,
Samantha has more pragmatic memories.

'He had time for every problem and every possibility,'
she says, 'but I have learned to be much more
selfish in my outlook. I am selfish about my time
and who I spend it with. I am also selfish
about my work and which films I choose to work on.

'And if I don't want to do something,
I never criticize myself for not doing it.
I take care of myself and my needs,
because life is too short. I do not do anything
because I have to.'



It's obvious that, although the words flow surprisingly
freely for someone who has chosen not to say anything
on the subject until now, Samantha is
still bruised and fragile over River's sudden death.

'I think of him every day,' she says simply.
'It's strange to see him through his films,
still living and breathing. I put on the television at
the weekend and I Love You to Death was on,
and there he was. I'm grateful to be able to see him
like that, but at the same time it is very odd and
I'm never quite sure how to explain my emotions.'


'I am pretty much at peace about River now.
But it is still strange. I have
a feeling it always will be.'

(ANOTHER EXCERPT)


What normally would have been a difficult period of
grieving was made worse by the often vicious press
coverage. "I was disgusted," she says.
"When River lay waiting in the funeral home for
friends to say goodbye, someone snuck in from
the National Enquirer to photograph him in his casket.
And they ran it. How do these people live
with themselves?"


The tragedy of River Phoenix's death is
obviously very near the surface for her.
"I think about it every single
day," she says, her eyes filling up quickly.
She first met Phoenix when she was 19.
As she and then-boyfriend Slater arrived
at a party, Phoenix was heading out the door.
"I saw him, and just knew," she recalls.
When they worked together on 1993's
The Thing Called Love (which also starred
Bullock), it was Phoenix who did the pursuing.
He told friends that his "head was going to
pop if he didn't get to hold her hand." Mathis was
equally smitten. "He was an ecstatic and happy person,"
she says.
Mathis admits she "knew enough" about Phoenix's
troubled lifestyle to know there was a problem.
"I tried my best to help him," she says. "And for a
while, I always had the thought,
What if I had done this instead of that?
Now I'm trying to get past that."
She prefers to remember Phoenix at his
best. "The nicest memory I have of him is
when we went down to his family's property
in Costa Rica, and we'd eat these mangoes
for breakfast. River had then dripping all over him.
When he ate, he ate with his hands. For me,
he'll always be that beautiful, drippy mess."

another excerpt:

At the memorial for River, held at Paramount Studios, it would be Samantha Mathis who would stand up and attempt to answer director John Boorman's question, "Is there anybody here who can tell us why River took all those drugs?"

"River was so sensitive," she said. "He had so much compassion for everyone and everything that he had a weight on his heart. He was obsessive. When he wanted to eat artichokes he would eat ten at a time. He did everything to that degree."

Source: OK weekly in June 1996


224 notes


On the first day of shooting - a night scene at a mall on location in Nashville - River gave costar Samantha Mathis a hard time, bringing her to tears. When River’s first call had come in to New York, I had been there talking to Samantha about doing the film. She was worried about the script’s readiness, but when River signed on, she jumped right in.

Now, in Nashville, she was pretty upset and said she didn’t have to “take his shit”; he was “just rude.” I asked her if he was on something. She said she knew only that he’d had a beer. The assistant director also told me River was acting erratically. I asked him if he thought our star was on drugs. The AD nodded.

I told Samantha I would have a talk with River later, but my hunch was he was perhaps a little too heavily into playing his role. “Well, I’m not going to put up with it,” Samantha said and went off, looking hurt but stoic. She and River hadn’t fallen for each other yet, but they would soon enough. It would be the last passionate love of the actor’s life.

I didn’t know just how much River was actually attracted to Sam until we were about to shoot River and Samantha’s first kiss in the film. It was a night scene. River was to drive up in his truck with Samantha beside him, stop at her hotel, kiss her good night, and, after she jumps out, drive off.

While the first shot was being lit, River and I were talking about what sort of kiss it should be. River started out by saying he hoped I had a lot of film in the camera because it was going to be a very long kiss. He was grinning mischievously. “Oh, yes!” he said, he had been waiting for this scene. And then he went on - in James’s sophisticated country-boy accent - to list what else he would like to do with Samantha. Mostly he kept to all the places he’d like to kiss her.

He was half James, half River as he said Samantha was driving him crazy. She had a boyfriend in New York (actor John Leguizamo), and though River felt Samantha liked him, she was always talking about John, and he didn’t feel right imposing himself on her. But he certainly was going to kiss her tonight!

I think we did about seven takes. I can’t remember for certain which kiss ended up in the picture, but I have a feeling it was the first or second take. There was intense heat on all seven. Samantha managed a pretty impassive, professional look between takes, while River just loudly asked for “another one–-we need another one, don’t you think, Peter?”

Samantha laughed.

River and Samantha became closer after that. Not much later, John Leguizamo came to visit but stayed only a day. Samantha ended their relationship, and she and River officially became an item. They were lovely together, and he treated her with utmost respect, tenderness, and humor - and without one fragment of competitiveness. Their closeness in life helped immeasurably to deepen their interactions in their long scenes together.”

He was crazy about her right away. He was anxious to have a lot of kissing scenes. He was saying, 'In the lovemaking scene, can we really do it? Can you just put us in there and close the door and let us go?' He was only half-kidding."

She would then accompany River, along with his assistant Abby Rude, to the Utah desert, the location of Dark Blood.

— Peter Bogdanovitch (director of A Thing Called Love), recalling Samantha and River’s relationship
desaparecidos



 
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