Chris Messina plays an expecting parent who gets entangled in a murder investigation on Peacock's new show Based on a True Story, but he recently revealed that he had his own experience with a dark crime as a kid.
"I grew up in Northport, Long Island," Messina told Variety at the comedy-thriller series' premiere in Los Angeles this past week. "I grew up on Makamah Road, about a block from the Long Island Sound. A buddy and I walked to the Sound and — it was very Stand by Me — we found a hand that washed up on the beach."
The young pals called the police. "We had to report it," Messina recalled. "I was pretending to be River Phoenix in Stand by Me."
Directed by Rob Reiner, the 1986 coming-of-age film starred Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell as a group of adolescents who go in search of the body of a missing boy in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Ore., in 1959. The drama is based Stephen King's 1982 novella The Body.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection Chris Messina; River Phoenix in 'Stand by Me'
Messina recently told EW that Stand by Me "was a huge movie" for him growing up. "I wanted to be River Phoenix," he said while discussing his role in the horror film The Boogeyman, also an adaptation of a King story. In it, he plays a therapist who, while grieving the loss of his wife, finds himself haunted by a supernatural entity after he takes on a new client.
The actor said of the movie's director, Rob Savage, "He knows the genre so well. I just followed his lead, because he knows how to build the tension very specifically. He knows how to create the jump scares. Rob said early on to me, 'You can't have any of these jump scares unless you care about the people,' and that was a goal of all of ours: to try to bring as much humanity to it as possible."
The Boogeyman is in theaters now. Based on a True Story premieres June 8 on Peacock.
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