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Ethan Hawke as Ben Crandall in Explorers
and 10 years later as Jesse in Before Sunrise in 1995.
The effects of River's unusual childhood quickly became apparent on the set. There were times when reference would be made to things such as singers, actors and historical events that River knew nothing about or didn't understand. "He was a very bright kid," said Joe Dante. "He just didn't have a lot of facts at his command."
This was the first movie for both Ethan Hawke and River and much of the dialogue in this film was apparently adlibbed in an attempt by Dante to make the film as realistic as possible. All three child-actors became very close and a lasting friendship grew. At the close of filming River was broken-hearted and cried as Ethan left to go home.
Friends for life.