David’s #9 – As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride By Cary Elwes

Several months ago my friend Teri sent me an e-mail asking if I liked, “The Princess Bride.” Duh, who doesn’t?!?!? This book showed up in my mailbox shortly thereafter. I love you Teri!!!

If you’re a child of the 80s, you probably recognize that, “The Princess Bride” is one of the best movies ever made. It has everything, comedy, sword fighting, torture, giants, revenge, rodents of unusual size, and wuv, twu wuv. It’s inconceivable that you would not want to know every single behind the scenes detail.

This charming, witty memoir, by Cary Elwes, or as many of us know him, Wesley, allows the reader to get to know this great story and their favorite characters even better. Elwes shares a variety of personal stories, but the book is filled with commentary by the rest of the cast and crew, allowing each of them to weigh in on the tales recounted.

Just to name a few: Despite a brilliant performance, Wallace Shawn(Vizzini) was sure that he would be fired at any moment. Despite working for years to get the project made, William Goldman, writer of the original book, often refused to be on set out of sheer anxiety of what would result of a film version of his favorite work. Billy Crystal spent ten hours a day improvising Miracle Max and never uttered the same line twice. The R.O.U.S. (the little man inside the suit) ending up in jail, rather than on set.   Andre the Giant’s (Fezzik) drink of choice, “The American,” consisted of a random concoction of hard alcohol, which he drank from a pitcher, with very little effect on his sobriety. Of course the book would not be complete without a detailed account of the hours that Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes, neither of whom were fencers, spent learning to duel, with both hands of course, to film the “greatest sword fight in modern times.” The book is filled with many more amusing anecdotes that connect the reader to all of their favorite and familiar scenes throughout the film.

No, Elwes is not as smooth in print as he is with a blade; but this small detail is easily overshadowed by the giddy joy and enthusiasm evident in his reliving of this wonderful filming experience. You might not think it possible, but this book will make you love the movie even more. So go watch the movie to refresh your memory, grab a copy of this book, and, “have fun storming the castle.”

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