Pearl Jam: The Tragic Story of The Kid In The Jeremy Video

Pearl Jam: The Tragic Story of the Kid in The Jeremy Video

Grunge would dominate the music scene in the early 90’s and one of the band’s who was a frequent presence on MTV and on rock radio was Pearl Jam. Perhaps no video is more popular for Pearl Jam than Jeremy from their debut album Ten. Despite the song’s dark subject matter and controversial video, it received heavy rotation on MTV, is still frequently played on rock radio where I live and is the band’s most viewed video on YouTube. But whatever happened to the kid who starred in the video, well fame proved to be difficult to deal with and he would find a different path in life, His life would be cut short due to a tragic accident. That’s whjat were going to explore in today’s video To celebrate the video’s 25th anniversary, Billboard Magazine would write a very indepth article on Trevor Wilson, the young actor who portray’s Jeremy in the music video. The publication would interview Mark Pellington who directed the video for Pearl Jam and Wilson’s parents who discuss a man who felt the same way about fame as the members of Pearl Jam did. The video lyrics for Jeremy would be inspired by a real life event that happened at a Dallas school in 1991 when a boy who was bullied by his kids at school ended his life in front of his classmates. Director Mark Pellington would tell Billboard that Wilson was sick when he sent in his audition tape, but despite this he clinched the audition the second he walked in recalling “He was sick on his tape, and he didn’t play it like, ‘Oh, I’m all angsty,'”. ”

 

He was sitting there and I was looking at [his audition tape], and he was kind of dazed and numb and f–ked up. I found out later that he was sick. But he was so expressive, in a non-histrionic way.” WIlson’s mother Diane would point to the fact that her son suffered from Asthma, something that may have influenced how he acted and looked the day of the audition. she would tell billboard that had she been at the audition chances are she wouldn’t have let her son go because she wasn’t a fan of firearms. Ironically MTV rejected the first cut of the video because they didn’t want any firearms shown in the video, much to the shagrin of the video’s director and the band. Wilson’s mother Diane worked with people in show business while living in new york. His mother was a chef to well known celebrities including director Ridley Scott, talk show host phil donahue and actress michelle pfeifffer. Wilson would attend the Rudolf Steiner Waldorf School in Manhattan while spending his weekends at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. It would be the 1986 film Stand By Me that got Wilson interested in acting and one of Diane’s clients who saw potential in her son and suggested he try acting classes. Wilson’s father accompanied his son to the audition after reading about it in the backpages of Billboard magazine. His son had already done a few auditions for other projects, but that was it. While he was waiting for his son to be called he overheard someone say and i quote “He has to have a good scream,” so he pinched his son’s leg until he let out a big scream and went over the lyrics of the song with him to help him better understand the character. Wilson got the audition beating out 200 other applicants. The original plan was not to feature Pearl Jam at all in the video, but Pellington decided against that after spending several days shooting the band in London. After the video shoot wrapped up Wilson and his family went on vacation and relocated from New York to Los Angeles. By the time Wilson’s family was now living in Los Angeles Jeremy’s video had premiereed on MTV and feeling something seismic happen, they started to sense something big was happening with his Father recalling to Billboard . “Once we moved there, he started getting all this fan mail, and he went on this radio talk show [with Dr. Drew Pinsky] — and women were calling in and saying they’d like to take him to bed… just boxes and boxes of fan mail,” Wilson soon became recognizable to a lot of places he went with his father adding “After a few months of that attention, he kind of turned away.” w

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