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Explorers Magazine
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

Explorers Magazine

First Published in 1985.

(Magazine, 68 Pages)

Not an actual book as such, but rather an official magazine commissioned for the movie Explorers. Inside, the reader is presented with a colorful, behind-the-scenes look at the movie, along with candid interviews with the cast and crew. Four pages of which detail the character of Wolfgang Müller and the very young River who brought him to life.

"I think that this movie is really unique," says River Phoenix, one of the young Explorers. "I like it a lot, and I think that people should go out and see it for their enjoyment 'cause they will like it, too."

Born in Madras, Oregon, and raised in Shadow Hills, California, River Phoenix spent a good part of his early childhood in South America, where his parents served as missionaries for several years. He has four brothers and sisters, poetically christened Rainbow, Leaf, Liberty and Summer, who also work in the entertainment industry.

"I really wanted to be a rock star," the young actor explains, "because I play guitar and I sing with my sister. But as it went along, I started getting into commercials and acting. I got a part in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers just by auditioning, and I liked it a lot. I really like acting because you can create a character. You can make someone who has never existed before. I think that's neat."

Not only is every aspect of Explorers examined, but even Starkiller is discussed as well. In this spoof-movie Robert Picardo, later to star in the television shows The Wonder Years and Star Trek: Voyager, was allowed out of his "Wak" costume to play a 1950's-type super-hero.

A few weeks earlier, Dante completed filming the movie-within-the-movie sequence for Explorers, a sci-fi thriller seen on the drive-in screen. Instead of using some camp classic like Plan 9 from Outer Space or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Dante decided to make his own "bad" SF flick. Of course, since this part of the production was so much fun, a bit more time and effort was put into it than what's really necessary to make a "bad" movie. As a result, it's much better and much more fun than the real thing.

"It's great!" Dante beams. "It's called Starkiller and stars Bob Picardo. We tried to make an Italian-German space movie - zooms, cheap props. We have a little robot, that's made out of a Kleen-O-Vac. It's a real vacuum cleaner; it says 'vacuum' on it. It's on wires, and it rolls down and sparks go off and the camera shakes. Starkiller is great - sort of like a New World trailer."

Most copies of this flimsy magazine from 1985 have long since fallen apart and been thrown out. The few surviving copies represent a tiny snapshot of movie-making history - a time when River was thoroughly enjoying his new-found acting career. A period of time that would not last forever.

River Phoenix is equally thoughtful and candid about himself. "I'm a normal person," he says. "Just because I'm acting in a movie, that's no different than running the paper to people's houses. Every summer, I mow lawns down the street and make my money working hard. But I think acting is really fun."

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