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Keifer Sutherland Shuts Down Rumors He Bullied His Stand by Me Costars Between Takes

Keifer Sutherland Shuts Down Rumors He Bullied His Stand by Me Costars Between Takes


  • Kiefer Sutherland denies he remained in character and bullied co-stars on the set of
    Stand by Me.
  • Despite a more intense process at 17, Sutherland reveals frustration at being alwyas asked about his co-stars in
    Stand by Me.
  • Jerry O’Connell admits being scared of Sutherland on set, but clarifies there was no bullying involved during filming.

Kiefer Sutherland has shut down claims that he “bullied” his co-stars on the set of the classic Stephen King movie Stand by Me. Recently, social media articles have suggested that the actor, who played Ace Merrill in the film, used to remain in character in between takes and made the time on set uncomfortable for Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell.

Sutherland, who went on to star in several iconic movies such as The Lost Boys and TV shows including 24 and Designated Survivor, recently appeared on The Talk, and when asked by cohost Natalie Morales about the rumors of his method acting approach to making the 1986 movie, the actor completely refuted the idea. He said:

“Absolutely not true. First of all, I’m not that kind of actor and I wouldn’t want to be that kind of person. I spent a lot of time with River Phoenix because we both played guitar, and so that was kind of an in to him. Even though I was seven years older, we were both beginning, right. And so there was a lot of discussion about ‘How do you develop a character’, ‘What is your process.’

stand by me

Stand By Me

Release Date
August 8, 1986


For some, it’s the last real taste of innocence, and the first real taste of life.

Sutherland continued to explain how despite being young when he made the movie, he already had a way of working that was more “in-depth” than in his more recent roles. However, he also revealed what bothers him about the movie after all these years. He added:

“Actually, it’s very funny, that at the age of 17, which I was in Stand By Me, I had probably a more in-depth process than I even do now. But we didn’t get to work together. I think one of things that’s been frustrating for me when I think about Stand By Me, is they always ask me what everybody else was like…we really only had the one big scene at the end, where Wil Wheaton pulls the gun and I had to run away like a girl.”

Kiefer Sutherland Did Still Scare One of His Costars on Stand by Me

Stand By Me Will Wheaton as Gordon, River Phoenix as Chris, Jerry O'Connell as Vern, and Corey Feldman as Teddy
Columbia Pictures

Although Sutherland did not go out of his way to push around his costars on Stand by Me, Jerry O’Connell revealed during the same interview that he was still really scared by the actor – noting that he always saw Sutherland as being much older than his 17 years. He said:

“You were 17 when you did Stand by Me? I felt like you were like 40…I just thought you were the most grown-up person…Now, I will say that Kiefer did not bully us, there was no bullying. But Kiefer, I was so scared of you.”

Stand by Me is regarded as one of Stephen King’s best movie adaptations, sitting just fractionally behind Carrie with Rotten Tomatoes critics, but besting it from an audience point of view. The coming of age tale, like the phenomenal The Shawshank Redemption, is not a horror story, but showcases the one thing common in all of King’s work; humanity. Regardless of what boogeymen and demonic beings may appear in King’s work, there is always a human story at the heart of it, and that is something that is on show in abundance in Stand by Me.

Stand by Me
is currently streaming on Hulu.

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