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Kiefer Sutherland Confirms The Stand By Me Rumor You Heard Is Completely False

An early and notable role of Kiefer Sutherland's was as the terrifying knife-wielding delinquent Ace Merrill in one of the best Stephen King movies ever made, "Stand By Me." Ace is a vicious young man with a bone to pick with the main characters. He's also so much bigger and stronger than the film's 12-year-old protagonists that he can hurt them badly, and he's more than evil enough to do precisely that. 

Perhaps because of Ace's ruthless nature, a rumor has started to spread that Sutherland, the actor, also had a habit of picking on his younger co-stars in the movie: River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, and Jerry O'Connell. In an interview with Deadline's "The Talk," the actor took some time to debunk these allegations. "Absolutely not true," Sutherland said. "First of all, I'm not that kind of actor and I wouldn't want to be that kind of person." 

Sutherland went on to explain that he actually bonded with some of the younger actors quite a bit, naming the late Phoenix in particular. "I spent a lot of time with River Phoenix because we both played guitar, and so that was kind of an in to him," he said. "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.'"

Jerry O'Connell confirms Sutherland is no bully

Kiefer Sutherland isn't alone in saying that he kept his conduct professional and didn't bully anyone while filming "Stand by Me." Jerry O'Connell, who played Vern Tessio, was also involved in the Deadline interview. While he admitted to being intimidated by his older co-star on set, it wasn't because Sutherland was bullying him or anyone else, but because the older actor seemed so mature. "You were 17 when you did 'Stand By Me?'" O'Connell said. "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."

And that, in all likelihood, is that. There are many little-known facts about Kiefer Sutherland and all sorts of obscure "Stand by Me" trivia out there, but if the two stars of the movie are to be believed, at no point did Sutherland become anything like an on-set incarnation of Ace Merrill during filming. Perhaps the bullying rumors are part of the same phenomenon that makes some people assume that the actor is the same guy as his torture-happy "24" protagonist, Jack Bauer. Basically, it seems that Sutherland is simply so convincing in his roles that it's easy to think he's playing a version of himself.