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Trivia / Stand by Me

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  • Actor-Shared Background: Corey Feldman has stated in several interviews that of all the characters he's played, the character of Teddy was actually the closest to his personality and personal life at the time.
  • Banned in China: Not completely banned, but the film was given a 15 rating in the cinema in the UK because of swearing and violence, which prevented the lower end of its target audience from seeing it. The resulting complaints contributed to the creation of the 12 rating.
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: River Phoenix had auditioned for the part of Gordie Lachance, but Rob Reiner thought that he would be better cast as Chris Chambers.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: Stephen King was shaking when he watched the film, saying it was the best adaptation of his work that he'd ever seen.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Rob Reiner considers this the best film he has ever made.
  • The Danza: Mr. Quidacioluo is played by Bruce Kirby, whose real last name is Quidacioluo.
  • Dawson Casting: Averted. All the boys are the same age as their characters or at least very close, except River Phoenix, who was fifteen. None of the older boys were under 20, Ace's gang, Gordie's brother, and Lardass.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • Wil Wheaton has written several times on his experiences making the movie. In one scene that involved the boys running from a train, Wheaton and Jerry O'Connell didn't look scared enough, so Rob Reiner started screaming at them to make them cry. Afterwards, he felt terrible about it and comforted both of them.
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    • To ensure that the child actors really looked intimidated by his character, Kiefer Sutherland supposedly bullied them in real life (although Wheaton doesn't recall it happening to him).
    • The scene with the leeches in Wheaton's hand and...other places, however, was not real.
      • The pond wasn't even real. It was dug and decorated by the crew and lined with a hidden tarp. However, the "pond" was then left unattended in the woods in the middle of summer for half the shoot until it was time to film the scene, by which time it was slimy, stagnant, and arguably more disgusting than a natural pond would be. The actors didn't know this until they plunged in for the first time...meaning that the fact it looks like they're having such a great time is the opposite of this trope.
    • Reiner also asked River Phoenix to think about the biggest moment an adult had let him down when he had to cry during the campfire scene. He got very emotional and Reiner comforted him for long afterwards, but it paid off: the take was by far the best and the one used in the final film.
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    • None of the four boys were allowed to see the body until it was unveiled on camera - to get the most genuine reactions out of them.
  • Life Imitates Art: Much like Gordy, Wil Wheaton authored several books himself.
  • The Other Marty: David Dukes was originally cast as The Writer. After those scenes were shot, Richard Dreyfuss was cast in the role and the scenes were re-shot with him. However, the opening long shot of a grown up Lachance sitting in the car is of David Dukes.
  • Real-Life Relative: For the scene where Chris jumps off the back of a truck and thanks the couple driving, River Phoenix's mother is the woman in the passenger seat.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Stephen King witnessed one of his friends being killed by a train as a kid. He also had a friend who was, like Chris, accused or suspected of being a petty criminal no matter what he did. The leeches on the testicles were also real.
    • Gordie's "Well Done, Son!" Guy issues with his father stem from Rob Reiner 's insecurities about his relationship with his dad.
    • Word of God in interviews and the documentary "Walking the Tracks" states that all the young cast members were cast because their personalities were close to the characters'. Corey Feldman's history of abuse and River Phoenix's unusual upbringing contributed to their ability to play their roles, which is quite heartbreaking in hindsight, given their ages.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The titular song "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King.
  • Throw It In!: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix and Cory Feldman came up with the scene where Verne can't remember the secret knock to get into the clubhouse - as a way of making Verne look even more pathetic.
  • What Might Have Been:
    • The audition process took "forever" and included David Dukes and Michael McKean as the narrator. Many young actors read, including Sean Astin and Ethan Hawke. Wil Wheaton, uncomfortable with the crying, almost quit.
    • Corey Haim turned down the role of Chris in order to star in Lucas.
    • Michael Jackson was asked to do a cover of Ben E. King's song, "Stand by Me," for the movie; Rob Reiner, in the end, thought the original version better suited the movie.
  • Word of Dante:
    • While filming the scene in which Ace Merrill takes Gordie's brother's Yankees cap, Kiefer Sutherland's first instinct was to put it on, rather than hand it to Eyeball Chambers. Rob Reiner told Sutherland not to put the hat on as a way of showing that Ace was stealing it just to be cruel to Gordie and not because the hat itself was at all important to Ace. Sutherland and Wil Wheaton both confirm in the DVD's behind the scenes documentary that the reason that Gordie never gets the hat back from Ace is that Ace threw it away immediately after stealing it from Gordie.
    • Although it is assumed that the other kids are the same age as Gordie, River Phoenix figured that Chris Chambers might have been a year older and had once flunked a grade. Early reviews of the film suggest his age to be 13, accordingly.
  • Write What You Know: Stephen King based the novella on his own childhood experiences.

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