River Phoenix spent a good deal of time working on his performance as the demented, love-crazed Talbot, who won’t leave the dead body of his half-breed wife.  He loved working with Shepard.  “The first time I met Sam, I felt like we were an uncle and nephew out doing their chores on the farm,” he told the unit publicist.  “Without a word spoken, I felt warm and secure and there was an instant trust.  I knew it would be a pure experience.”  Phoenix hung around with the Kiowa Indians, wore burnt cork on his face, and rumpled his hair with his fists.  Every so often he would throw himself to the ground and writhe in the dirt.

                             Excerpt from the book Sam Shepard by Don Shewey









Many thanks to Shirl for allowing me to use a couple of the photos from her collection on this photo page!  S


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