TITLE: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
LENGTH: 242 pages
PUBLISHED IN: 2014
GENRE: non-fiction (film production, actors/actresses, movie)
REASON FOR READING: One of my family’s favorite movies since the early 1990s has been The Princess Bride, so I just had to read this
Storm the Castle Once More
Standing on the stage for the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Princess Bride, I felt an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude and nostalgia. It was a remarkable night and it brought back vivid memories of being part of what appears to have become a cult classic film about pirates and princesses, giants and jesters, cliffs of insanity, and of course rodents of unusual size.
It truly was as fun to make the movie as it is to watch it, from getting to work on William Goldman’s brilliant screenplay to being directed by the inimitable Rob Reiner. It is not an exaggeration to say that most days on set were exhilarating, from wrestling Andre the Giant, to the impossibility of playing mostly dead with Billy Crystal cracking jokes above me, to choreographing the Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times with Mandy Patinkin, to being part of the Kiss That Left All the Others Behind with Robin Wright.
In this book I’ve gathered many more behind-the-scenes stories and hopefully answers to many of the questions we’ve all received over the years from fans. Additionally, Robin, Billy, Rob, and Mandy, as well as Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Fred Savage, Chris Sarandon, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, and William Goldman graciously share their own memories and stories from making this treasured film.
If you’d like to know a little bit more about the making of The Princess Bride as seen through the eyes of a young actor who got much more than he bargained for, along with the rest of this brilliant cast, then all I can say is…as you wish.
MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book! I don’t remember a time in my life when I hadn’t seen and loved The Princess Bride. It was a VHS that my cousin had in the early 90s, so the only time we got to watch it was when we were down at my grandma’s house, which wasn’t more than a handful of times a year because she lives two hours away. Since that time, it has been a must-watch practically any time the family gets together. On vacation, we end up with 4-5 copies of this movie on DVD at the same place because we’re never sure if someone else will bring it, so we have to bring it ourselves, just in case. It’s become very popular again in the last couple of years–I hadn’t seen it mentioned on social media much until then, but now it’s something I see there or actually playing on TV once every week or two.
That being said, again, I loved this book! It was so funny in parts and, truth be told, I was a little sad when it ended because now there seems to be nothing new to learn about a beloved film–I’m all caught up, so to speak. I would love it if there was a gag reel on the DVD (hint hint, for the next time it’s released!), just to see some of these stories that Cary talks about. I laughed out loud at times while reading this, which you wouldn’t exactly think about happening since it’s a non-fiction book. A few of my favorite parts were:
- When Andre the Giant actually managed to drink so much that he passed out…in the hotel lobby where they left him because he was too big to move.
- When Cary broke his big toe while playing on Andre’s ATV (or the fact that the ATV was the only way Andre could get around some of the locations because he was too big for the vans).
- When Chris Guest knocked out Cary and he woke up in the hospital from the scene when Count Rugen knocks out Westley after the Fire Swamp with the butt of his sword.
- When they filmed the famous sword fight, for almost a week. And that Cary and Mandy were the actually swordsmen, not some doubles (except the acrobatic flip).
- And perhaps my ultimate favorite, when Cary described the scene when Count Rugen sucks a year of Westley’s life away and he talked about how hard it was for him to be serious with suction cups attached to his nipples with a comedian standing over him 🙂
I hope those didn’t spoil anything, and there were plenty of other funny parts. These are just the ones that stick out most in my mind, and the next time I watch the movie, I’ll think of these things and it’ll make the experience that much better.