With his days as a child star and a rebellious teen well behind him, former Stand by Me kid Wil Wheaton is busy reinventing himself as a comic actor.
"I've always been told by people that I'm funny and that I have a good sense of humor and that I should take some of the passion I have for serious things and apply it to comedy," says Wheaton, 28, who's been popping up lately onstage at L.A. improv spots such as ACME Comedy Theatre and Theatresports. "I took some comedy classes and workshops, and I took to it very quickly. I found that it was something not only that I enjoyed doing but that I was good at."
Comedy isn't the only thing keeping Wheaton busy he's also raising two stepchildren, ages 9 and 11, with wife Anne. "It's always a really intense game to see who gets to play me in the Star Trek Monopoly game," jokes Wheaton, best remembered by TV audiences for his role as Cadet Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Family man Wheaton admits he has matured quite a bit since his Stand by Me days. "When I was a teenager, there were times I wish now I'd kept my mouth shut and listened a little more than talked," he admits. "But I'm very, very happy with the person I am now, and I wouldn't be well-rounded and at peace with myself and the world around me if I hadn't been brash when I was a teenager."
Wheaton, currently starring in the critically acclaimed independent flick The Girls' Room, says he has his friends to thank for helping to keep him grounded. "There was a time in my life when I believed my own publicity, but since then I've grown up a lot," he says. "I've made a strong effort not to surround myself with yes-men who are going to tell me how great I am. I think that's the downfall of a lot of actors."