Out of all the classic films produced during the 1980s, Stand by Me (Rob Reiner’s amazing adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, The Body) continues to stand out as one of the most endearing. It is the story of four young boys living in 1959 in the fictitious town of Castle Rock, Oregon, who set out to find a dead body. But the movie is less focused on their destination than it is on their journey along the way.
As Stand by Me turns 30 this week, it’s hard to believe that we now find ourselves even further removed from the time in which the movie was made than the film itself is removed from the period in which it is set!
But again, you can’t tell the story of where we are without filling in the blanks of how we arrived here. With that in mind, what is the cast of one of our favorite 1980s movies up to in 2016?
Gordie Lachance, age 12 (Wil Wheaton)
What’s new with Wil? One of Hollywood’s most unashamed nerds has proven himself versatile in recent times: blogging, writing comic books, recording audio books, doing voiceover work in video games and animated features, indie film projects, and hosting a short-lived weekly talk show on SyFy called The Wil Wheaton Project.
Best known for: Aside from Stand by Me, Wheaton will always be known best for his role as Wesley Crusher on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, on which he was a main cast member for first four seasons before returning a few more times as a guest star. Modern audiences may recognize him best for his recurring guest role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory.
Quote: “Going to see a dead kid… Maybe it shouldn’t be a party.”
Chris Chambers (River Phoenix)
Even today, it’s still pretty much unavoidable to mention actor River Phoenix without his tragic death from a drug overdose in 1993 at age 23 being part of the conversation. But the suddenness of his passing should not be the final word on his career, merely a reminder of the unrealized potential that he left behind.
Best known for: After making quite an impression with his work in Stand by Me, and earning an Oscar nomination for his work in 1988’s Running on Empty, Phoenix’s most widely recognized role just might be that of the young Indiana Jones in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Quote: “You’re gonna be a great writer someday, Gordie. You might even write about us guys if you ever get hard-up for material.”
Teddy DuChamp (Corey Feldman)
What’s new with Corey? A more bankable star in his youth, Feldman has nevertheless remained busy, starring mostly in independent projects. Together with his late friend, Corey Haim, Feldman featured in the A&E reality TV series The Two Coreys from 2007 to 2008. Most recently, Feldman appeared in SyFy’s Sharknado 3: Oh, Hell No! in 2015.
Best known for: It’s a little difficult to pick out just one thing which could be considered Feldman’s most recognizable film. Besides Teddy DuChamp in Stand by Me, Feldman is well-known for his roles in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Gremlins, The Goonies, and The Lost Boys (a role which he has since reprised in two direct-to-video sequels), just to name a few.
Quote: “My father stormed the beach at Normandy!”
Verne Tessio (Jerry O’Connell)
What’s new with Jerry? After bursting onto the scene in Stand by Me, O’Connell has enjoyed a long and steady career in both film and television. In the late 1990s, he starred in the science-fiction TV series Sliders. His film roles have been mainly comedic in nature, although he has crossed over into other genres such as horror, as in the cases of Scream 2 and Piranha 3-D. O’Connell also wrote the screenplay for the 2004 film First Daughter, starring Michael Keaton and Katie Holmes. Most recently, O’Connell lent his voice to the 2016 animated feature Finding Dory.
Best known for: Without a doubt, O’Connell’s most famous role to this day is still that of Verne Tessio in Stand by Me.
Quote: “What am I supposed to do, think of everything? I brought the comb!”
Ace Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland)
What’s new with Kiefer? What isn’t new with Kiefer? After he featured as the slimy Ace Merrill in Stand by Me, Kiefer followed that up with memorable roles in The Lost Boys, Young Guns, Young Guns II, Flatliners, A Few Good Men, Phone Booth, and one of my personal favorite sci-fi films, Dark City. Currently, Sutherland is filming a sequel to Flatliners, due out in 2017.
Best known for: As lengthy a career that Sutherland has had in film, it may be his role as Jack Bauer on TV’s 24 with which he is most synonymous.
Quote: “What are you gonna do, shoot us all?”
Gordie Lachance, adult (Richard Dreyfuss)
What’s new with Richard? Although mostly out of the limelight these days, Richard Dreyfuss still occasionally gets the opportunity to remind everyone why he’s one of the best actors of his generation. In film, the Oscar-winning actor was nominated a second time for 1995’s Mr. Holland’s Opus. In 2008, Dreyfuss stole the show as Vice President Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone’s W. More recently, Dreyfuss won praise for his lead role in the TV mini-series, Madoff.
Best known for: Unlike his younger co-stars, Dreyfuss is best known for roles which preceded Stand by Me. In addition to The Goodbye Girl (his Oscar-winning role) and American Graffiti, Dreyfuss created his most memorable characters in the Steven Spielberg-directed films Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Quote: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?“
(Source: IMDb and Wikipedia)
Lover of all genres of film, current and classic, with a particular nod to horror