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"Finding new and preferably disgusting ways to degrade a friend's mother was always held in high regard."
Co-star and accomplished actor Wil Wheaton also recalls his time on Stand By Me. "When you saw the four of us being comrades, that was real life, not acting," he said. But River himself would also remember when the group of four did not always see eye-to-eye. "Just like in the movie we had big fights," he admitted. "Stupid stuff - boys and their egos, like who got to walk down the railroad tracks first. Always, towards the end of a movie, you get sick of each other."
Just as the film portrayed four boys passing through adolescence, so it was with the cast members. With sex being just about the only topic of conversation the boys talked to each other about, River became enamoured with an eighteen-year-old family friend who offered to 'initiate him'. No only did his parents give their blessing, but they made the occasion a celebration and pitched a tent in their back garden ready for the event.
Next day of course, River arrived on the set with a huge grin from ear to ear, telling not only his three fellow cast members about his adventure but anyone else who happened to be around! River also wrote to Joe Dante, the director of his previous film and now a close friend, a letter that read simply:
"This may be the greatest story of lost virginity I've ever heard," said Rob Reiner. "A very strange experience" was River's description of the event. "She was very patient with me and told me what to do."
Unfortunately, River's insatiable curiosity was not limited just to sex. It was during the making of this movie that marked the first time he smoked marijuana. Corey Feldman went into River's room one day to find him getting high. "I had been doing it too," said Feldman, "but it was one of those things where we really didn't want to let each other know what we were doing."
Later in his career River was to say, "Stand By Me was a weird time for me as a person. I was going through a lot of doubt, a lot of insecurity. A lot of things like that you go through at fourteen. I was going through puberty and I was hurting real bad."