Joaquin Phoenix named his son River, like his dead brother

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The “Joker” actor and actress Rooney Mara were first-time parents. And they honored the one who died in 1993.

Although Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara established themselves as one of the most reserved couples in Hollywood, they could not prevent the news from becoming known that they became parents for the first time. They had a boy, whom they named River, in honor of the dead brother of the protagonist of Joker.

The news reached the media in an unconventional way. It was not the protagonists or spokesmen of the stars who were in charge of confirming it. It was revealed by director Victor Kossakovsky at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival after the black and white documentary Gunda was screened, of which Joaquin Phoenix participated as executive producer.

When asked about Phoenix’s absence from the event, Kossakovsky said: “By the way, she just had a baby … A beautiful son named River.”

The name chosen by the couple is a tribute to River Phoenix, brother of the actor and star of films such as Count on me Y My private world. In 1993, when he was 23 years old, he died of an overdose during Halloween festivities at the Viper Room bowling alley, owned by Johnny Depp, in Los Angeles.

Joaquin, who was also part of the party and was 19 years old, was the one who called the emergency room while they tried to revive him. The actor died within hours in a hospital. Different autopsies revealed that he had used up to four types of substances.

In a recent interview with journalist Anderson Cooper on the show 60 minutes, Phoenix reflected on the bond with his brother, who also defended animal rights and did not eat meat, and how the media attention affected his family at that sad time.

“River was a really big actor and movie star, and we didn’t know it,” he said. “So during that time when you are most vulnerable, there are helicopters flying overhead. There are people trying to sneak into your land. Certainly, to me, I felt like it was impeding the grieving process.”

The loss made Joaquin decide to withdraw from the world of entertainment for a time, since he could not bear the media part that caused the death of River. Years later, he resumed his professional career, in which he achieved unthinkable success.

The actor remembered his brother when he received his last Oscar: “I have been a bit naughty throughout my life, but many of those here have given me a second chance. And that is the best when we support each other and educate ourselves and reach redemption. It is the best of humanity. My brother, when he was 17 years old, wrote this letter: ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will come later.’

Phoenix and Mara met on the set of the movie Herby Spike Jonze, where they struck up a great friendship. They started dating some time later when they met again on the set of Maria Magdalena by Garth Davis.

The couple, who declined to give details about the arrival of their first child, confirmed their relationship at the closing ceremony of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. They came together for Phoenix to receive the best actor award for his role in You will never be safe.



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