On your website you refer to yourself as a “washed-up, former child actor.” But with the amount of work you’re getting you don’t really believe that, right? I mean, look at poor Screech.
Well, that’s not how I see myself, at all. What I said was, “If you’ve come here looking for a washed-up, former child actor, I guess you could find that. But if you’re willing to look beyond the surface, and challenge your preconceptions, you will get to know me for who I am now: a very happy husband, step-father, and writer.” It’s all about what people expect, versus what they’re willing to see.

Speaking of Screech, he knocked the snot out of Ron “Horshack” Palillo on celebrity boxing. Are there any celebrities you’d like to beat severely on national TV?
Not really. I’d much rather load every reality television producer onto a bus, and shoot them into the heart of the sun. Then all those celebrities could get together, and share a mass high-five when it hit. Now that would be good for national television!

The making of “Stand By Me” must’ve been an amazing experience. What are the things that stand out to you now about working with Rob Reiner?
Even though I was just 12 years old, Rob made me feel like I was a peer, rather than a snot-faced kid. He always made me feel like I deserved to be there, and that he was happy to have me as part of his project. When we worked on “Stand By Me,” I don’t think any of us thought it would become the classic film that it ended up becoming, but I think we all knew we were part of something very special. Because of that knowledge, I really took my job as an actor seriously, and I listened to everything Rob told me. It’s seventeen years later, and I still use some of the skills he imparted to me on that picture: keeping it simple, remaining honest and truthful when building a character, and always betting on black.

Your old friend, and “Stand By Me” co-star, Corey Feldman just did a reality TV show. What do you think of him these days?
I think the whole bar for “post-celebrity shame” was set pretty low with “Celebrity Boxing,” but “The Surreal Life” took it to a whole new level. In 2002, I was asked to do an infomercial for this 3D computer gaming system. I checked it out, and when I saw that it was the real deal, I agreed to do it. Then I spent months thinking that I was a total loser, because I’d done an infomercial. It was like I’d admitted defeat, and hung them up as an actor. Then I watched “The Surreal Life,” and suddenly that infomercial felt like Citizen Freakin’ Kane.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
That I’m either 12 years old, or in outer space. People seem to REALLY want me to be gay, too. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

What’s your message for America’s youth?
I know exactly what you’re up to, and all your parents are going to get a call from me.

Go on and visit Wil at his website.

Posted on October 17, 2003 in Interviews by

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