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River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland, Wil Wheaton and Bradley Gregg in "STAND BY ME."
River Phoenix portrays Chris Chambers in Columbia Pictures' "Stand By Me," a story of four boys who set out on a two-day adventure with dreams of becoming town heroes but before it is over they are tested in ways they had never imagined. The film also stars Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Richard Dreyfuss as The Writer and was directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans, based on the novella, "The Body," by Stephen King. Andrew Scheinman with Evans and Gideon served as producers.
Chris is older than his three other buddies (portrayed by Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell). With a wisdom that belies his age, Chris takes on the role of group peacekeeper and protector. Because of his juvenile-delinquent brother and an alcoholic father, Chris worries about the future, convinced that their hometown of Castle Rock will never let him rise above his family's reputation, despite his own intelligence and ability.
For several days, Chris and the others have been following news reports about a 12-year-old boy who went hunting for blueberries in the woods and hasn't been seen since. One of the group has overheard his brother reveal that he and a friend have discovered the boy's body in the deep woods, alongside railroad tracks. Since the gruesome discovery was made while the youths were out joyriding in a stolen car, they have pacted to keep their find a secret. Chris and his chums set out to find the body.
River Phoenix was born in Madras, Oregon, a rural community not far from many of the locations where "Stand By Me" was filmed. However, he and his spirited '60s-generation parents spent most of his childhood traveling throughout Central and South America. For several years, they lived in a Venezuelan village before returning to live in Los Angeles when River was 7.
At the age of 10, the musically inclined Phoenix wanted to record a solo rock album to showcase his ability on keyboards, bass and lead guitar, but finding that an immediate impossibility, he decided it would be better to break into show business in front of a camera. After signing with an agent, he was promptly selected for a TV commercial.
River got his real break into television performance with a spot playing guitar and singing with his younger sister, Rainbow, on an NBC-TV daytime series, "Fantasy." He soon landed featured roles in the NBC-TV mini-series, "Celebrity," the ABC-TV Afterschool Special, "Backwards--The Riddle of Dyslexia," and the CBS-TV mini-series, "Robert Kennedy and His Times," in which he portrayed Kennedy as a boy.
In other television appearances, he co-starred in the ABC-TV television movie, "Surviving," and the NBC-TV pilot, "It's Your Move." He also appeared as a series regular for 22 episodes of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" before he made his feature film debut starring as Wolfgang in the Joe Dante-directed adventure, "Explorers."
Nominated twice for Youth in Film's "Best Actor in a TV Series" award, the rugged, blond-haired young actor recently moved with his family to Rancho Santa Fe, California. When he's not busy acting, he continues to explore his musical talents. He is also an accomplished jazz and tap dancer.
Comments "Stand By Me" director Rob Reiner, "River Phoenix is an incredibly talented actor. When he came and read Chris, it just knocked us off our chairs."
Most recently, Phoenix spent several months on location on Belize in the role of Harrison Ford's son in "The Mosquito Coast" for director Peter Weir.
Columbia Pictures presents an Act III Production of a Rob Reiner Film, "Stand By Me," starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland, and also starring Richard Dreyfuss as The Writer. Directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Reynold Gideon & Bruce A. Evans, based upon the novella, "The Body," by Stephen King, the film was produced by Andrew Scheinman, Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon. Music is by Jack Nitzsche.