No film quite captures what it’s like to be 12 years old more than Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me. Based on the Stephen King novella The Body, Reiner’s film adaptation follows four boys who spend a weekend late in the summer of 1959 following some train tracks to find the body of a missing boy. Here’s a look at some fascinating facts to commemorate this bittersweet ode to childhood on its 30th anniversary.
The Source Material Was A Little Darker
While it wasn’t without its coming-of-age sensibility, Stephen King’s The Body had a more haunting tone to it, implying that finding the body of Ray Brower was a kind of dark turning point for the four boys. Like the movie, it ends describing the tragic murder of Chris Chambers, but goes on to detail the untimely deaths of Vern Tessio and Teddy DuChamp as well.
While adapting the novella for Stand By Me, director Rob Reiner softened the material, making the character of Gordie the focus of the story. He also adjusted the setting from 1960 to 1959 and shifted the town of Castle Rock from Maine to Oregon. After a private screening, Stephen King said it was the best adaptation of his material he’d ever seen, and even improved on his original story.
It Was Almost Directed By Adrian Lyne
British filmmaker Adrian Lyne, who’s best known for directing movies with an erotic sensibility, was initially attached to the direct Stand By Me. In the earliest stages of development, Lyne was busy finishing up his work on 9 1/2 Weeks and had promised himself a six-month vacation once that was done. That would’ve pushed production of Stand By Me back to early 1986 and producers didn’t want to wait that long. Once Lyne decided that he really wanted to take the time off, he surrendered the project, allowing Rob Reiner to take over.