Interview with ‘Stand By Me’ Actor Bradley Gregg
Bradley Gregg played Eyeball Chambers, the trouble-making older brother of Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), in the coming of age classic Stand By Me. He is also recognizable for significant roles from Explorers, Fire In The Sky, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Nightmare on Elm Street 3, among many others. Sadly, after a very significant run in Hollywood, he took a long hiatus away from the film business for personal reasons. I recently ran into Bradley at The Days of the Dead convention in Los Angeles, which was one of his first appearances in the industry in years. He was ever so gracious and agreed to sit down with me for a few words about his experience filming Stand By Me.
Ronnie Angel: I recently went down to the town where it [Stand By Me] was filmed, Brownsville, Oregon. What do you remember most of filming there? It’s a nice little town.
Bradley Gregg: I would say that the first word that comes to my mind is authentic. The authenticity of that whole summer, everywhere we filmed on location just felt very real. The people were kind. They were thrilled to have a movie being filmed there. It just seemed really real and like we were the guys. We were the guys that summer and it felt good. I still am a little bit.
Have you been back since?
I went back years later to do Fire In The Sky in Roseburg. It brought back that whole vibe from Stand By Me. It was a different town and different set, but a similar feel. I would love to go back some day. I would love to see Eugene and Brownsville again.
I remember the place I really liked there was the bar that you guys had the run in with the kids in front of. I was wondering if they used the interior of the bar too. They couldn’t answer that for me.
I just remember that they had a table set up somewhere for the scene when Kiefer and Casey are playing that game. (we talked about shuffleboard for a minute) They filmed that in there.
What did you guys do in your off time around there?
Oh, a lot. It wasn’t like in the 50’s. I remember there was this famous Oregon Country Fair nearby. We all did that one weekend. We would rent bikes and rode around the town. I remember I was really into eating healthy at the time. Me and Casey found this really cool healthy place to eat at and we rode our bikes there. We would go to the little country mart or the farmer’s markets. It was a lot of fun.
Did you guys, your “gang,” try to separate yourselves from the kids on set like Corey and them, to get more into the roles?
Yeah, a little bit. We mostly hung out together and they mostly hung out together. I remember Wil Wheaton was quite young. I had done a film before with River and he and I had become really close. Still, during that time of filming Stand By Me, there was that bit of separation.
What was it like working with Kiefer? Were you guys close?
As close as you can be. Yeah, like I said, we were the guys. We hung out a bit. I love Keifer. He’s a really great guy. We kind of took that on, where we were looked up to Keifer on the set. I remember he had just finished doing At Close Range with Sean Penn and I thought that was pretty cool. I remember asking him questions about that. He had a car that they rented for him and we would hang out and drive around in that. So yeah, he’s a great guy. When you bond on a film like that, you become like a family. When everyone goes their separate ways, you keep in touch as best as you can. There’s certain actors that you bond with where you can long periods of time without seeing each other, but when you do, you reconnect and it’s still there. I haven’t seen him in a long time, but I imagine if I ran into him, we would hit it off again like back then. I would love to catch up with him sometime and I’m happy for his success.
I remember hearing a story of Jerry O’Connell picking up a brownie during filming and it had weed in it which made him freak out and they had to shut down production. Do you remember that?
Actually, it might have been from that fair. The Oregon Country Fair is famous for that kind of world. I wasn’t there for what happened so I don’t recall it. I do remember that towards the end of filming, Jerry got bit by a dog. I think it bit him on his lip. It was a problem because they still had more to film. I do remember that one.
Since we’re on the subject, I know that a lot of people were shocked to see what he grew up to look like, coming from being “that fat kid in Stand By Me”. Were you kind of the same way, like “holy shit, that’s the same guy?
I suppose a little bit. That was around a time when I actually stepped out of the industry for a little while. I still kind of kept tabs on everyone though, so I knew that before.
What is your favorite overall memory of filming Stand By Me, the thing that sticks out the most?
The whole thing. The whole entire experience. It was definitely one of the best projects I have ever been involved with. It was something that came out so well because I think nobody really expected it to turn out like it did. We were just living it, having a good time. There was no pressure. All of the people involved were just incredible. Just sitting in beautiful summer weather in Oregon, living the dream. I know it’s a cliché term, but it’s true. It’s like you’ve always wanted to do it and now you’re doing it. It was amazing. To have it become such an iconic thing is an amazing thing. I still see my picture from it all over and have people come up to me saying, “See you later girls.” I really miss River too. He was probably the coolest thing about it with the friendship that we developed over the years. We were like brothers. I actually want to say “hi” to that guy over there again [points to Feldman]. It’s been years since I’ve seen him.
(Note: He did say hi while I was talking with Feldman later in the day. Corey instantly recognized him and had a huge smile on his face recalling working with Gregg.)
I thanked him for his time and agreeing to do this interview. Bradley went on to state that after almost twenty years, he is back in Hollywood, taking on new projects and ready to make his comeback into the world of acting. I’m sure we can expect a lot from him in the near future, so keep an eye out for him.
For more information on Bradley and his upcoming projects, please visit bradleygregg.com.