Wil Wheaton had his first big acting job with Bill Cosby in a Jell-O Pudding Pops commericial. When shooting Stand by Me, the actors stayed in Castle Rock, Oregon, where Wheaton figured out how to get the video game machines in the hotel lobby to play for free. Wheaton later went on to star in TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, when he was just 15.
As an adult, Wheaton has continued acting, appearing on such shows as The Big Bang Theory. He’s also written several books, including Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise. He is now married with two kids from wife Anne’s previous marriage. They live in Arcadia, California.
Feldman has continued to remain in the limelight and starred in the reality show The Two Coreys with longtime friend and fellow actor Corey Haim. Haim sadly passed away in 2010 from drug-induced pneumonia. Feldman is now a father, musician and animal rights activist. In his autobiography Coreyography, Feldman discussed the sexual abuse both he and Haim suffered as a child.
Just like his character Chris, River Phoenix also came of age that summer while filming Stand by Me. He claimed that he lost his virginity, telling director Rob Reiner, “It finally happened,” after showing up on set with a huge smile on his face.
Phoenix tragically died of an accidental drug overdose in 1993. He was leaving Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room with his girlfriend, actress Samantha Mathis, when he collapsed on the sidewalk. He was only 23 years old.
Phoenix still had 11 days of shooting left on the film Dark Blood when he passed away. Also starring Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce, the film was finally completed in 2014.
Like many of his castmates, Jerry O’Connell started his career in TV commercials like this one for Duncan Hines cookies. Only 11 while making Stand by Me, his favorite memory of the shoot came when he and the other boys lit a car load of fireworks. “It was the happiest moment of my adolescence,” said O’Connell to The Wrap, adding, “We loaded up a car with them and went to River’s house and lit those up all night long.”
O’Connell has gone on to have a successful TV career, even recently co-hosting Live! with Kelly. He’s now married to actress Rebecca Romijn, and the couple has twin daughters together. It seems his kids haven’t quite developed a love for his early films, however.
“[Stand by Me] was on television a few months ago, and I was with my children… My kids are 7 now, and I’d say about 20 minutes in, they said, ‘This is boring,’ and they walked away. I stayed and watched the rest of it. I have to say, it was really emotional for me. When River disappears at the end, it’s really sad for me.”
Kiefer Sutherland, who was 20 when he shot Stand by Me, apparently got a kick out of his younger castmates accidentally getting high on marijuana cookies. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he said, “We were shooting in Eugene, Oregon, and they were having a hippie fair, and I think [Jerry O’Connell] only saw ‘fair’ and ‘carnival’ and thought there would be rides.” Sutherland went on to say that O’Connell was later found crying in the park and that the 13-year-old actor was so high, “We had to shut down for two days.”
Of course we all know Sutherland as Jack Bauer on the hit show 24, but he will be reprising his role as Nelson in the sequel to the 1990 film Flatliners.
In addition to acting, Sutherland is also a musician and just released his country music album Down a Hole. He told People that, “Music was something that I became really seriously attached to as a really young person because I had an older brother who I idolized, and he was the biggest music fan in the world… I just wanted to be exactly like him. I made the joke that I was probably the only third-grader that was listening to Aerosmith, so country music was not the music that I certainly grew up on.”
John Cusack has had an incredibly successful acting career, including starring in such films as Say Anything, Being John Malkovich andChi-Raq. According to IMDb, he’s been romantically linked with actresses Alison Eastwood, Neve Campbell and Claire Forlani.
Richard Dreyfuss was not the first choice to play The Writer in Stand by Me. Both David Dukes and Michael McKean gave it a shot, but director Rob Reiner finally cast Dreyfuss, whom he had known since he was 15.
Seen here on the red carpet with his wife, Svetlana Dreyfuss, the actor recently played Ponzi scheme scam artist Bernie Madoff in the TV miniseries Madoff. The actor claims his mother was his best friend, telling The Guardian, “We talked about everything. I learned a lot about women and sex from her. She once said to me: “Richard, to put your mind at rest, there’s nothing you don’t do in the bedroom.”
Stand by Me is based on the Stephen King short story The Body, which was part of a 1982 collection of stories called Different Seasons that included Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which later became the film The Shawshank Redemption in 1994.
Notoriously difficult to please, Stephen King was said to be incredibly moved after director Rob Reiner showed him the film for the first time. According to Mental Floss, “King even applauded Reiner for changing [the story] so that Gordie picks up the gun instead of Chris, wishing he had thought of that in the first place.”