"Usually, I write the detailed biography of the character. For me it’s the only possible way. To play a sad scene, many will only for example think of their mother’s death. I consider it’s a mistake for an actor to cross the boundary that separates him from his character. Because then you impose him your own references. That’s why I need to have landmarks that only belong to my character. For example, for “My Own Private Idaho” I wrote a lot. And once the movie was done, I burned it all."
River Phoenix (Final interview with French Magazine Première published December 1993)