Here's everything you never knew about "Stand By Me"
It’s been 30 years since Stand By Me was released (well, technically, it’ll be 30 years on August 8) and it still holds a special place in all of our hearts. The adventure film appeals to numerous generations and really hits home about growing up and what friendship truly means. This movie is SO good that we had to honor it on this momentous occasion
In fact, here is everything you never knew about the 1986 movie, according to Moviefone…you’re welcome!
Rob Reiner wasn’t the original director slated to work on the film. In fact, Adrian Lyne, who did Flashdance and Fatal Attraction, originally signed on for the project, but later, he was too busy to actually direct it. Luckily, Reiner was available, and he nailed it!
Leaders of the pack
When Reiner was first looking for the four leads, he wanted to find boys whose personalities actually matched their on-screen personas. “I was awkward and nerdy and shy and uncomfortable in my own skin and really, really sensitive,” Wheaton told Moviefone in 2011 about his role.
“River was cool and really smart and passionate and — even at that age — kind of like a father figure to some of us,” he explained. “Jerry was one of the funniest people I had ever seen in my life, either before or since, and Corey was unbelievably angry and in an incredible amount of pain and had an absolutely terrible relationship with his parents.”
Remember that famous train scene, where the boys are almost run over on the train tracks? If you’ve been worried about their safety while filming that scene, no need to panic — they were never actually in any danger.
In order to film that important moment, they used stunt doubles for a portion of it — and the stunt doubles were actually girls with short hair. The studio also opted for extra-long telephoto lenses to make it seem like the train was really close when it was actually still far away. Pretty tricky, right?
The movie almost didn’t make it to theaters!
Stand By Me was originally funded by the independent studio, Embassy, which was sold to Coca-Cola. After the sale, the new management that decided the film wasn’t commercial enough, so they cut it. However, Reiner managed to convince Norman Lear, who had previously owned the studio, to donate $8 million of his own money to complete the film.
The leeches were real!
Yep, you read that right. When the leech scene, which featured a swamp, was filmed, they used a man-made pond that the crew filled with water. By the time they actually shot the scene, there was real moss growing, and they had real leeches to match!
In the film, Wheaton’s character Gordie Lachance is the narrator, but the actual voice used was an adult’s, since the story is being told from his grown-up perspective. The original voice actor was David Dukes, but according to reports, Reiner wasn’t feeling his performance, so he replaced him with Michael McKean, before finally deciding on his high school friend Richard Dreyfuss as the iconic narrator.
The name game
Stand By Me definitely has a nice ring to it, but it wasn’t always the film’s title. The movie was originally called The Body, after the Stephen King story it was based on. Due to the fact that it sounded like a horror film or even a porno, the name was changed to Stand By Me, based on the Ben E. King song that Reiner chose to play out over the end of the film.
Boys will be boys
The leading boys got into plenty of trouble on their own while working on the film. According to reports, Wheaton would rig arcade games at the hotel so they didn’t have to pay, while Feldman reportedly smoked pot with Phoenix. Reiner also revealed that Phoenix lost his virginity during a night away from the hotel (!)
Kiefer Sutherland, who played Ace (the bully) in the film, claims that even O’Connell got in on the mischief. He revealed that O’Connell tied his babysitter to a bannister in order to escape to a Renaissance festival nearby, and then accidentally ate cookies that were laced with pot. The story goes that he found him later in a parking lot, woozy and crying.
Stephen King approved
The screenplay for Stand By Me was written by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans, who earned an Academy Award nomination for it. In addition to praise from the Academy, King said it was the “first filmed version of one of his stories that got it right,” which is high praise coming from such a well-known author.
What’s your favorite scene from Stand By Me? Do you still recite iconic lines and eat cherry Pez with your BFFs?