Who would have thought a story about four teen boys wandering along a train track to look at a dead body could be so moving? This weekend in 1986 saw the worldwide release of Rob Reiner’s classic coming-of-age film, Stand By Me. Adapted from a Stephen King novella (The Body) the film is a nostalgic look back on childhood friendship and the fears of growing up and moving on, and is somewhat biographical for King. Extremely popular on release, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay as well as the admiration of King himself who has stated that it is probably his favourite adaptation of his work.
Did you know…
1) The movie was almost scrapped before it even began. When writing partners Raynold Gideon and Bruce Evans first approached Stephen King’s agent about an adaptation of his book, they came back with an outrageous offer: $100,000 for the screen rights plus 10 percent of the gross. The money wasn’t the problem, but the high share in profits made it difficult to get a studio on board, so Gideon and Evans got director Adrian Lyne involved. He ultimately helped sell the project to Embassy Pictures (later sold to Columbia Pictures), who agreed on $50,000 and a smaller share of gross profits. Lyne later withdrew from directing the project due to scheduling conflicts.
2) Rob Reiner cast the film’s fearless foursome based on the actors’ real-life personalities. Wil Wheaton said he himself was awkward, nerdy and shy, Jerry O’Connell was a jokester and Corey Feldman had an underlying anger issue and a bad relationship with his parents, while River Phoenix was cool, smart and a bit of a father figure to the rest of the boys. “Rob really wanted us to understand our characters. He interviewed our characters,” so O’Connell.
3) The film was shot in Brownsville, Oregon, embodying the city of Castle Rock. Brownsville has gone on to declare the 23rd July as “Stand By Me Day”. Every year they celebrate the film’s release with a day of events, such as screenings and the sale of merchandise.