Phoenix and Cobain reborn in US novel

River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain, the two tragic heroes of Nineties teenagers, have appeared together as fictional characters in a novel by the cult film director Gus Van Sant.

Van Sant, who directed Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho, and was part of the Pacific North-west underground scene with Nirvana lead singer Cobain, has just published, Pink, a novel for the American "chemical generation".

Phoenix, who died outside a nightclub after taking heroin and cocaine in 1993, becomes the drug burn-out Felix Arroyo, the star of weird commercials made by a character called Spunky, who Van Sant has based on himself. Felix is Latin for "happy" and an arroyo is a temporary desert river.

A rock couple, Blackie and Blake, are based on Van Sant's real-life acquaintances, Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, the actress and singer. Cobain was a heroin addict who with Nirvana defined the grunge sound and look of the early Nineties. He committed suicide by shooting himself in a Seattle hotel room in 1995.

A chapter with the Internet-style title Pink.Alt.Universe deals with the flight by Blackie and Spunky from the Cloudy-Bright Rehab Center. "I'm interpreting parts of real-life experiences into this sort of more fanciful collage," says Van Sant of the book.

Van Sant was blamed by some of River Phoenix's fans for the actor's death because it was believed that Phoenix started taking drugs to get in character for the heroin addict he played in My Own Private Idaho. But now the The Los Angeles Times has described the novel as a "posthumous love letter to River Phoenix".

In Van Sant's book, pink is the colour film turns when it fades and decays, and then he says is "destroyed cruelly, like drowning a little puppy after you are tired of playing with it".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat