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In Columbia Pictures' "Stand By Me," outstanding young actor Wil Wheaton is featured in the pivotal role of Gordie Lachance, a fledgling writer. Directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans and based on the novella, "The Body," by celebrated author Stephen King, "Stand By Me" is the story of four boys who set out on a two-day adventure with dreams of becoming town heroes and find themselves tested in ways they had never imagined. The film, which also stars River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland and Richard Dreyfuss, was produced by Andrew Scheinman with Evans and Gideon.
Twelve-year-old Gordie is sensitive and creative, a natural-born writer whose budding talent takes the form of stories he makes up for his friends. The boy is haunted by the accidental death of his brother, Denny (John Cusack). With a father who never understood him and who doesn't believe he'll ever fill Denny's all-American, high school-hero legacy, Gordie feels hopelessly inadequate.
For several days, Gordie and his friends 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. Gordie and his chums set out to find the body. For the youth, the trip becomes an odyssey of self-discovery, charting a pathway that will lead to his becoming a highly successful popular writer.
Says director Rob Reiner about the casting of Wheaton, "Wil had just the right quality that I was looking for in Gordie--he reminded me of me when I was 12 years old, and I think that's what probably drew me to Wil. He has this very sweet, soft face, and these kind of doe eyes, and there's an intelligence that he projects, which hopefully comes off of the screen."
Born in Burbank, California, young Wil was given his open-heart specialist-father's middle name and his successful commercial actress-mother's interest in show business. The oldest of three children, Wil began his acting career at the age of 7 when he was selected to appear opposite Bill Cosby in a Jello "Pudding Pops" commercial. Before the year was out, he had landed his first acting role opposite Timothy Hutton in "A Long Way Home," a telefeature for NBC-TV.
"The Shooting," a CBS-TV Schoolbreak Special, followed, which led to his feature film debut opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon in "The Buddy System" for director Glenn Jordan. Shortly afterwards, he was picked by director Sandy Howard for "Hambone and Hillie" and director Nick Castle for "The Last Starfighter."
In addition to film and television, Wheaton distinguished himself on stage in a Company of Angels production of "All My Sons," directed by Ernest Martin.
Wheaton, who had guest-starring roles in the ABC-TV pilot, "A Long Time Gone," and the CBS-TV pilot, "13 13th Avenue," recently had a featured role in the television remake of "The Defiant Ones," starring Robert Urich and Carl Weathers. He also had a guest spot on the popular television series, "Highway to Heaven." Most recently, Wheaton guest-starred in the television pilot, "The Man Who Fell to Earth."
Besides working on his self-taught talents on the piano and harmonica, Wil hopes to be able to play more comedy, a genre he touched as a special guest on NBC-TV's "Billy Crystal Comedy Hour."
The handsome, dark-haired young actor lives with his family in a rustic part of Sunland, California, and often goes horseback riding in the Big Tujunga Canyon area behind his home.
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.