Stand By Me, based on The Body by Stephen King, isn’t a horror movie, but for horror freaks of a specific era, the coming-of-age saga was essential viewing. While it lacked the supernatural trappings that are normally King’s hallmark, the turbulent struggles of adolescence were a common theme for the master fear practitioner.
But the trials and anxieties of being a teen were more than just elements of the script, they were reality for the film’s cast, specifically for Wil Wheaton (who played Gordie Lachance). As Stand By Me approaches its 30th Anniversary, Wheaton opened old wounds in an interview with Variety, where he revealed bullying at the hands of co-star Corey Feldman (who played nihilistic hot-head Teddy Duchamp).
“All four of us [myself, Feldman, River Phoenix, and Jerry O’Connell] were very much like the characters that we were playing. I was a weird kid. I was shy, I was incredibly sensitive, and I was really awkward. It was really easy to make me cry. I was the one they picked on. Corey picked on me all the time to the point of it being like cruel. I remember River telling him to stop, and I remember Rob or one of the producers telling him to get off my back.”
While the two actors are not close as adults, Wheaton harbors no ill will towards Feldman.
“I don’t hold any bad feeling towards Corey at all. We’re not close, but I don’t dislike him or wish him ill. He had a really f—ed up childhood and he suffered a lot. As a 44-year old father I can see he was a young person who was in just an incredible amount of pain and didn’t have any way of dealing with it.”
Indeed, the struggles Feldman faced as a child actor in Hollywood have been well documented. The actor recently revealed he was sexually abused by adults he trusted, leading to battles with drugs and alcohol in his adult years. As for his recollections of on-set bullying, Feldman is somewhat dismissive:
“Wil was shielded by his parents. When River and I were running around the hotel and left to our own devices, Wil was locked away with his parents.”
You can read the entire interview with essential members of Stand By Me’s cast and crew, HERE.