What do you get when an ensemble of talented adolescent actors meets? An extraordinary film and lots of trouble. Young blood, after all. Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, and Corey Feldman were friends. The hotel they were staying in during filming was their playground.
The boys’ adventures involved throwing furniture into the pool or tampering with video games in the lobby so they could play games for free. Phoenix (goaded by the others) covered a car in mud, without knowing it was Kiefer Sutherland’s car. One doesn’t need to imagine how that ended.
The Annual "Stand by Me" Day
Need a reason for a festival? The town of Brownsville in Oregon has found a great one. A blip on the map otherwise, Brownsville’s claim to fame comes from being one of the filming locations for “Stand by Me”.
In 2013, July 23rd became the town’s official “Stand by Me” Day. Fans and the cast have returned each year to celebrate the classic film. Events involve outdoor screening and discussions. One of the highlights, of course, is a pie-eating contest. Fans can even look for a penny hidden in the street — just like in the film.
The Terror That Was Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland plays Ace Merrill in the movie. The world remembers him as the bully who freely terrorizes others, making the lives of our four boys miserable. Jerry O’Connell was particularly terrified — probably since Sutherland made it a point to stay in character long after the cameras stopped rolling.
He would bully the boys off-set as well. What was real or fake – O’Connell could no longer tell the difference. He remained legitimately scared throughout filming. The other three boys were more seasoned actors and largely unaffected by Sutherland’s shenanigans.
There’s Something About Hurtling Trains and Enduring Cinema
From the world’s first movie to other cinema greats – if there’s a memorable scene, you can bet a train’s involved. Remember the scene where Vern and Gordie run with the train right behind them? The two dash straight towards the camera as if they would come flying out of the screen any minute.
The heart-stopping scene was a trick of the camera – a 600mm long-focus lens. In reality, the train and the two actors were on opposite ends. The lens compressed the image to make the train seem like it was right behind them! Talk about movie magic!
The Symbolism Behind the Pie Eating Scene
The film has plenty of beautiful moments displaying Reiner’s directorial talent and attention to detail. Surprisingly, the pie-eating scene proved the most challenging for him. The challenge wasn’t production-related as much as it was thematic. The director couldn’t visualize the kind of writer Gordie would become.
Eventually, an image formed – that of Stephen King, the writer. The supernatural world and horror are synonymous with King’s writing. So, Reiner decided to make the scene outlandish to reflect how a young boy’s mind might perceive things.