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As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

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As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (74 valutazioni)
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334 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 14, 2014
ISBN:
9781476764030
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes the New York Times bestselling account of the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 14, 2014
ISBN:
9781476764030
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Cary Elwes is a celebrated English actor who starred in The Princess Bride before moving on to roles in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Glory, Days of Thunder, Twister, and Saw, among many other acclaimed performances. He will always be indebted to The Princess Bride, he says, for changing his life and giving him a career that has spanned decades. He lives in Hollywood, California, with his family. Find out more about Cary Elwes on Twitter @Cary_Elwes.


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  • In the last few days before the start of principal photography, Bob and Peter explained that we had only skimmed the surface. The training would go on every day during the shoot. Unlike the other actors, we would not have the luxury of any downtime.

  • And the first time I saw it I just thought, What a cool move. You know? Those are the kinds of things you remember. When I watch it today, all I can think about is Cary having a sore toe, not anything about the scene.

  • So instead, they would stand behind the camera and wait like hawks. As soon as a new setup was called for—which opened a ten-minute window in the schedule—Peter would appear out of nowhere, rapiers in hand.

  • It’s kind of funny to look at the film now—the way it’s so obviously not André pulling himself up, but rather Peter Diamond wearing a bulky suit and a rubber Fezzik mask strapped to a harness.

  • That particular take was the one that ended up in the film. So when you see Westley fall to the ground and pass out, that’s not acting. That’s an overzealous actor actually losing consciousness.

Anteprima del libro

As You Wish - Cary Elwes

Reiner

INTRODUCTION

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 2, 2012

Standing onstage at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, surrounded by cast members and some of the crew, many of whom I’ve not seen in years, I feel an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude and nostalgia. We have gathered here at the New York Film Festival to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Princess Bride, a movie whose popularity and resonance now span generations.

That fact alone boggles the mind—how such a quirky and modestly conceived film could achieve such a lofty position in the pantheon of popular culture. What really strikes me, though, as I look down the row at the faces of my fellow actors, is how quickly the time has passed. Has it really been twenty-five years? A quarter century? The passing of time is most critically noted by those who are missing, the great Peter Falk and that gentle mountain of a man, André the Giant. But to counter that sadness is the camaraderie of being back with those who are here tonight and who stood alongside me so many years ago: Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Wallace Shawn, Chris Sarandon, and Mandy Patinkin, not to mention Robin Wright, looking as lovely as she did the day I first laid eyes on her so many years ago. Then again, she has always set a rather ridiculously high standard for beauty, and that seems not to have changed. The only ones who couldn’t make it were Christopher Guest and Fred Savage, who unfortunately were busy working on other projects.

This is a night of red carpets and remembrance, of interviews and a screening filled with laughter and joy. It is also only the third time that I have seen the film in its entirety with an audience since its initial screening in 1987 at the Toronto Film Festival. That previous event, while successful, did not exactly produce the sort of response one would expect of a film destined to become a classic.

Is it fair to call The Princess Bride a classic? The storybook story about pirates and princesses, giants and wizards, Cliffs of Insanity and Rodents of Unusual Size? It’s certainly one of the most often quoted films in cinema history, with lines like:

 Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

 Inconceivable!

 Anybody want a peanut?

 Have fun storming the castle.

 Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

 Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

 Rest well, and dream of large women.

 I hate for people to die embarrassed.

 Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.

 This is true love. You think this happens every day?

 Get used to disappointment.

 I’m not a witch. I’m your wife.

 Mawidge. That bwessed awangement!

 You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you . . . "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die."

 Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.

 Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

 There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours.

And of course . . .

As you wish.

Classic: a small word that carries enormous weight, although sometimes it’s tossed around a bit too casually; a reputation earned over the course of time, and given only to those rare films that stand up to repeated viewings. That being said, The Princess Bride has aged remarkably well. I think this is in part because of the quality of the writing, the directing, and the wonderful ensemble of actors I had the sheer pleasure of working with.

Even though it is the fans who have truly kept the memory of the movie alive, each of us in the cast has remembrances of making the film, things that have stayed with us over the years. All of us have stories about encounters or moments, like being approached and asked to recite a favorite Princess Bride line. Mandy swears that barely a day goes by that he isn’t asked by someone, somewhere, to recite Inigo Montoya’s most famous words, in which he vows vengeance on behalf of his father.

And I never let them down, he says.

I read somewhere recently that a passenger on a plane was asked to leave the flight as his Montoya T-shirt bearing that infamous line frightened one of the passengers who had never seen the movie. After it was explained to them, apparently the T-shirted passenger was allowed to stay on the aircraft.

Mandy, himself, has a long and impressive résumé. The man has won a Tony, an Emmy, and countless other honors. But, like most of us at Lincoln Center tonight, he knows that someday his obituary will feature, more prominently than anything else, his affiliation with The Princess Bride.

And that’s just fine with him, as it is with all of us.

There might be a shortage of perfect breasts in the world, but there is no shortage of actors who achieve a degree of recognition or fame due to the popularity (or, in some cases, the ignominy, which is an entirely different story) of a specific movie and their role within that movie. It can become a blessing or a curse; sometimes a little of both, depending on the circumstances. Over the past three decades I’ve appeared in nearly a hundred movies and television shows. I’ve been a leading man and a supporting actor and worked in almost every genre. But whatever else I’ve done or whatever else I might do, The Princess Bride will always be the work with which I am most closely associated; and Westley, with his wisp of a mustache and ponytail, the character with whom I will be forever linked.

Not Glory, which earned higher critical praise upon release and won more awards; not Days of Thunder or Twister, both of which were summer blockbusters. Not even Saw, which was shot in eighteen days on a budget smaller than most movies spend on catering, and earned more than $100 million; and that’s just fine by me.

When I started The Princess Bride I was very young and fairly new to the world of film. I was cast in a movie that frankly could have been interpreted as preposterous, were it not for the fact that it was so well written, so well directed, and populated with such a ridiculously talented cast. As I look around the stage at Rob Reiner, the director, and William Goldman, the writer, who so deftly and lovingly adapted the screenplay from his equally imaginative novel, I think how incredibly fortunate I was to have been part of this project. To have been plucked from relative obscurity and dropped onto a set with these two insanely talented men and this extraordinary cast.

I’d be lying if I told you we had even the slightest inkling that our movie, made on a modest budget over a period of less than four months, and shot in and around London and the magnificent Peak District of Derbyshire, was destined to become a classic. But I think it withstands the rigors of time because it seems to be a timeless story—a tale of love and romance. Of heroes and villains. And, although it is a film from the 1980s, there is nothing on the screen that betrays its birth date (notwithstanding perhaps the Rodents of Unusual Size).

Instead of a bouncy techno-pop sound track, you have the elegant slide guitar of Mark Knopfler; instead of big hair and shoulder pads, you have the period style of a swashbuckler and a princess. Perhaps the only thing that serves as a time stamp is Fred Savage’s video game at the very start of the movie (which, by the way, is where the film gets its first laugh). It is, of course, a movie within a movie. A story within a story, much like the book itself. Even in the scenes between Peter Falk and Fred Savage, a grandfather reading to his bedridden sick grandson, there is a timeless grace and elegance to the filmmaking. And then there is the dialogue:

They’re kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?

What preteen boy hasn’t said that or thought that? Or at least something like that? It’s the kind of dialogue that holds up. It endures. In fact, like a good wine without iocane powder, it seems to get better with time.

The movie, believe it or not, opened to mostly positive, if occasionally befuddled, critical response. Even those who praised the movie weren’t quite sure what to think. Was it a comedy? A romance? An adventure story? A fantasy? The fact is, it was all of those things and more. But Hollywood abhors that which is not easily categorized, and so the film didn’t quite gain the kind of traction it might have deserved, grossing a respectable, though hardly overwhelming, $30.8 million in its first run ($60 million when adjusted for inflation). This meant it made almost twice the budget, but still only a tenth of what that year’s top-grossing movie, Fatal Attraction, made only the week before.

Within a few months of finishing the movie, we all moved on with our lives, putting The Princess Bride in our respective rearview mirrors. There were other projects, other films, families to raise, careers to nurture. And then—though I can’t pinpoint the time when it actually occurred—a strange thing began to happen: The Princess Bride came back to life. Much of this can be attributed to timing—in particular to the newly developing video market. The Princess Bride came to be enormously popular in the VHS format. And it was via this relatively new medium that the film began to gain traction, and not simply as a rental. After careful scrutiny by those who do these things, it became clear that fans were not only recommending it to friends and family members, they also began purchasing a copy for their own home libraries. It became that rare kind of movie that was viewed and enjoyed, and ultimately beloved by entire families. Copies of it were being passed down from generation to generation in much the same manner that children were introduced to the magic of The Wizard of Oz by nostalgic parents who wanted to share one of their favorite movies. So, too, was The Princess Bride uniquely family entertainment. Parents with their children, and even their grandchildren, could watch the movie together, and each enjoy it for what it was. There was nothing condescending or embarrassing about it. Nothing offensive. It seemed to be as smart and funny on the tenth viewing as it was on the first.

Today The Princess Bride is acknowledged and recognized as one of the more popular and successful films in Hollywood history. It is ranked among the 100 Greatest Film Love Stories by the American Film Institute, is on Bravo’s list of the 100 Funniest Movies, and Goldman’s script is ranked by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays ever produced.

All of these things, and a whole lot more, were running through my head that night at Lincoln Center. At some point during the evening, we all were asked what the movie meant to us. There wasn’t time for me to adequately put into words exactly how I felt, so that’s what I’m trying to do now with this book. The film really gave me a career in the arts and the life that I have today, a life I feel privileged to enjoy. That’s not an overstatement. Other movies have surely helped, but this was the one that put me on the map and allowed me to stay there.

I still get fan mail today from children all over the world, sending me drawings and sketches of pirates dueling, or of princesses kissing them. I even have to be careful not to walk down the wrong aisle at Toys R Us, lest I find myself suddenly under siege by little tykes with plastic swords and shields.

Everyone associated with the film has heard stories by now of Princess Bride weddings, where the bride and groom are dressed as Buttercup and Westley and the pastor even recites Peter Cook’s dialogue from the movie. Or the late-night dress-up interactive screenings, not unlike the ones they do for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where things like peanuts are thrown at the screen after Fezzik’s now famous line. The Princess Bride nights at the Alamo Drafthouse cinemas, a national restaurant/movie house, have become so popular that they now produce their own licensed Princess Bride wine.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I consider it a blessing. Clearly The Princess Bride has become a truly remarkable phenomenon. The film has literally millions of devotees. They know every line, every character, every scene. And, if they’d like to know a little bit more about how their favorite film was made, as seen through the eyes of a young actor who got much more than he bargained for, then all I can say is . . . As you wish.

1

MEETING ROB

BERLIN, JUNE 29, 1986

The note simply read: IMPORTANT.

It was a message from my agent, Harriet Robinson, that had been slipped under my door by a bellhop at the Hotel Kempinski, where I was staying.

I immediately picked up the phone and dialed her number. This would be the call that actually changed my life. After I reached Harriet on the line she began to tell me that she had arranged an important meeting for me. That the director of This Is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner, and his producing partner, Andy Scheinman, were planning on coming to Berlin to see me.

Really?

Yes.

What for?

She said they were hamstrung by a tight preproduction schedule and were still looking for an actor to play the pivotal role of Westley in a film version of The Princess Bride.

"Not The Princess Bride by William Goldman?"

I think so, yes, came the response.

I couldn’t believe it. This was a book I had read when I was just thirteen. And here I was being considered for one of the leads by the director and the producer. Fortunately, for me, they did not change their plans.

A little backstory on where I was at that time. I was a neophyte, just twenty-three, with only a handful of films to my credit. But I already knew what I wanted out of life. I knew I wanted to be an actor. I was born and raised in London and briefly attended the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, one of the world’s most prestigious training grounds for serious stage actors. I enjoyed studying but my ultimate goal back then was simply to be a working actor, preferably in film. Besides, I had already done plenty of studying when I moved to New York to attend the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. After leaving LAMDA, I picked up an agent, Harriet, and started going out on auditions.

I’d already been a production assistant on a handful of movies, including the James Bond feature Octopussy, where I had the unique experience of being asked to drive Bond himself, Roger Moore, to work a couple of times. I was a nervous wreck, I can tell you. All that kept going through my mind was, What if I killed Bond on the way to work in a traffic accident? How’d that be? It would certainly put a halt to my burgeoning career in the film industry. I could already see the headlines: Lowly Production Assistant Kills Bond! During one of our early-morning drives, Mr. Moore actually looked up from his newspaper and said, in that very calm and collected manner of his, You can speed up a little if you want to.

By the mid-1980s, I had a résumé that was short but not unimpressive. My first movie, released in 1984, was Another Country, a historical drama based on a popular West End play by Julian Mitchell, with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth. I had costarred with Helena Bonham Carter in Lady Jane, director Trevor Nunn’s period drama about Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen of England whose brief reign followed the death of King Edward VI. Apparently this was the film that Rob had been able to see, and the one that convinced him to take a chance on me.

After I wrapped Lady Jane, Trevor Nunn offered me an opportunity to spend a year in residency with the Royal Shakespeare Company, of which he was the director. I was flattered almost to the point of distraction—most young actors would kill for such an opportunity. But by this time I was living in London, and I knew that spending a year with the RSC, as prestigious as it was, would be the equivalent of doing graduate work in theater: the compensation wouldn’t even cover my rent. Nevertheless, I seriously considered the offer, as it came from a talented director whom I admired and still admire a great deal. Might things have been different for me had I said yes? Who knows? I have very few regrets about the life I’ve been fortunate to lead. But this much seems certain: if I had taken up residency with the RSC, I would not have been free to accept the role of Westley. In fact, I might not have even been considered. You could say I was rather lucky, for as it turned out, I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

By the time Rob Reiner had started looking for someone to play his leading man, I had a body of work that was thin but perhaps worth investigating. Through fate or skilled representation or a combination of these I came under consideration for the role of the farmhand turned pirate, Westley—a character created in a renowned novel that had long been considered incapable of being adapted for the screen. And one that I had already read and enjoyed as a kid.

How did that come to be? Well, it turns out my stepfather had worked in the literary department of the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles and, after leaving to make movies, had produced William Goldman’s very first screenplay, adapted from the novel The Moving Target, by Ross Macdonald. The film version was released in 1966 under that same title in Britain but was renamed Harper for release in the United States, where it became a modest hit and helped further establish the stardom of its young lead, Paul Newman. And it wasn’t bad for Goldman, either, who won an Edgar Award for best screenplay and subsequently became one of the hottest writers in Hollywood.

Being a huge fan of Goldman’s, my stepfather naturally kept a copy of The Princess Bride in his library and one day gave it to me to read. Needless to say, I loved it. I remember reading the author’s own description of the good bits from S. Morgenstern’s fictitious novel:

Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautiful ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Pain. Death. Brave men. Cowardly men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.

Now if that didn’t sound exciting to a thirteen-year-old, nothing would.

When the call came from Harriet, I was in Berlin shooting a little indie film called Maschenka, based on a semiautobiographical novel by Vladimir Nabokov, the man who gave us one of the most controversial examples of twentieth-century literature, Lolita. The film was a British-Finnish-German coproduction and was being shot in both Germany and Finland.

This was the early summer of 1986, only a few months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which had caused quite a fear at the time. Harriet actually told me that Rob and Andy had seriously thought about canceling their trip because of the whole nuclear thing. My recollection is that it wasn’t of much concern to those of us working on our small European coproduction. I recall a crew meeting being called on a set in a place called Katajanokka, in Helsinki, only a week before and being told that there was nothing to fear because the winds were in our favor and that the fallout was likely to be blown in another direction. We were warned, however, that as a precaution we probably shouldn’t drink the local milk. At least not until it had been declared safe. Like a good many of the others on the crew, I went back to work, scratching my head, wondering if we shouldn’t be taking the whole thing more seriously. We were, after all, only eight hundred miles away from the accident. All I can say is that insurance policies for the film industry back then were not as sophisticated as they are now, so shutting down production wasn’t really an option.

Anyway, not exactly what you want to hear, but the show did indeed go on. And, as far as I know, no one got sick from the experience, thank God. The last few weeks of the shoot took place in Berlin at Studio Babelsberg, which is how I came to be staying at the Kempinski.

I pressed for more information from Harriet. She said all she knew was that Rob and Andy were trying to meet as many British actors who might be right for the part, and that they were obviously interested in me. I subsequently found out that Rob had gotten a call from the casting director, Jane Jenkins, suggesting that he watch Lady Jane, and if he liked it, fly out to meet me. It seemed reasonable to think that I was in good shape if they were traveling such a long way—and not only that but to a region that might be contaminated with radioactive material. I wasn’t accustomed to this level of interest, and (even though it happens quite often now) no director had ever come to visit me on location before.

Do I have to read for the part? I asked, dreading the answer.

It’s possible, since they’re coming all that way, Harriet replied.

As an actor you lose far more roles than you gain at readings. You learn pretty early on that most things are beyond your control, and that it is better to let go and let God and to get used to disappointment, as Goldman so eloquently had the Man in Black say in the movie. I kept trying to tell myself there would always be another film, another job on the horizon—that it didn’t matter. But deep down I knew I wasn’t kidding anyone, least of all myself. This was far from being just another job. This was two of my heroes, Bill Goldman and Rob Reiner, working together!

Although the novel was published in 1973 to immediate acclaim and passionate reader response, it was already thirteen years old by the time I was approached to play the role of Westley. Goldman’s screenplay, which he had adapted from his own book, had in fact become something of a legendary property in Hollywood circles, having been declared by those in power at the studios as an impossible film to make.

ANDY SCHEINMAN

We were trying to meet all the actors who might be capable of playing Westley, and I seem to remember Colin Firth was one of them. We get a call saying there’s this kid you should see, he’s in East Germany. So all I remember is it was right after Chernobyl. And I’m not crazy about going to East Germany. I’m looking at maps,

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  • (4/5)
    A good telling of the making of the classic movie 'The Princess Bride' by much of the cast. Cary and the other players in the tale tell some good anecdotes and give the listener quite an original seat to sit in and watch the story unfold in to what this movie has become. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Best for: Readers who like to learn about the behind-the-scenes world of film-making but aren’t looking for salacious gossip.In a nutshell: Sweet actor writes sweet book about sweet film.Line that sticks with me: “But there was no hiding for Andre. When you are that big, there is no possible disguise; no way to shrink into the background.”Why I chose it: I recall it getting good reviews in the cannonball read previously, and it happened to be on sale. Win win!Review: Long before my husband and I got engaged, we were out drinking with two of our friends. The husband in that couple joked that he’d be happy to officiate our eventual wedding, and that he’d just model it after the ceremony in The Princess Bride. Two years later, he stood before us and 80 of our friends and families and bellowed “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. And wove, twue wove,” followed by “oooh, sorry, wrong ceremony.” Pretty much everyone except my mother and a couple relatives in their 70s were laughing out loud. Given that the age range was 3-70+, I’d say it shows just how deeply this film has made it into our culture.I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as I haven’t seen the film in awhile. I wasn’t sure if I’d be missing out on nuances or not be able to place the actors Mr. Elwes discusses. Ha. Yeah right. It’s all perfectly clear in my mind even without the adorable pictures that he includes. The stories he shares are just lovely, and paint everyone in a very good light. I’d question whether he is providing an overly rose-colored view of things, but I found it all convincing. I think it was a group of kind, funny people who made a terrific movie.I chose a quote about Andre the Giant as the line that sticks with me because I found the stories about him to be the most enjoyable. He led a life that others might find challenging, but he seemed to make the decision that he was going to figure out how to live a life as a literal giant. He seemed to suck the marrow out of life (I hate that imagery but it fits so well) and also gave to so many others.The only real issues I had with the book are that the quotes from interviews with other actors on set are interspersed in little text boxes that aren’t at an easy stopping point in the main text. So I’d sometimes get lost in a story and then have to go back and find that the text box actually related to that story. And sometimes not so much.This was a quick read, and it made me want to go rewatch the film. (As of this writing, it seems to be available for rent on Amazon streaming, so off I go!)
  • (2/5)
    I think 2 stars is fair. It was okay. Because of an interest in the film, I basically enjoyed reading it ... but not as much as most other books about films I enjoyed (or didn't!)

    What prevented a higher score:
    a. bland, serviceable text
    b. Elwes' point-of-view predominated, but I got little sense of him as a person, and he's the main character
    c. not much insight into the directorial process, art direction, costume design, anything other than sword-fighting and how he got along with the other actors
    d. there were constant sidebars from other actors, all saying either "Cary was lovely" or "this was a dream project and filming was a joy" over and over.

    (Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!)
  • (5/5)
    Any fan of The Princess Bride needs to listen to this book. I guess you could read it, but listening lets you hear everything directly from most of the actors' mouths.
  • (4/5)
    The Princess Bride is my favorite movie. While not quite as magical as The Princess Bride movie, this book was everything I wanted. Behind the scenes stories. Funny anecdotes. Fencing training. Andre the giant. There's all sorts of details in the movie that I never caught, but now I just want to watch it over and over. So much love and fun went into that movie.

    I went to a book signing with Cary Elwes and it was one of the best book signings. I started reading the book, but left it at home for Christmas break because it was too big, but I started the audio book instead and it was even better. I loved that all the actors and other involved persons shared their own memories. This book was surprisingly emotional, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    Tags: Nonfiction, Audiobook, Making of a Movie, The Princess Bride, 1980s Cinema, Cult ClassicOverview: This book is told by Cary Elwes who recounts the making of The Princess Bride in the 80s, from start to finish. Cary Elwes (the man in black) is the main narrator of his own book, but the audio also pulls in other actors and producers that were a part of the making of the film, such as Rob Reiner (producer), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max), Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup), Wally Shawn (Vizzini), and others.Highlights: I found myself laughing out loud at parts, they were so funny. This book brought back so many memories of my childhood, just reliving the movie through the eyes of the actors and actresses. I was at my parents’ house when I had finished the book and hadn’t returned it yet to the library, and I found myself telling my dad about a few chapters that had me practically rolling on the floor. Before I had any time to think, I had pulled up the audio and revisited the chapters to play it for him — we were both laughing by the end of it we had tears in our eyes.Pre-Requisites: If you haven’t seen the movie, this book isn’t any good to you. I’d also go so far as to add that you really should read the book, The Princess Bride, as well, just as a matter of principle. The book is incredible and written by William Goldman, who is mentioned multiple times throughout As You Wish (and another person who brought me pure delight).If you like: books made into movies, the making of a movie, The Princess Bride and other cult classics, reading about well known actors, producers, and the like
  • (5/5)
    I don't normally read autobiographies like this, but I've adored The Princess Bride since I was a kid... and I scored this signed-by-Cary Elwes hardcover for all of 50-cents at the VNSA sale in Phoenix. (Inconceivable!) This took about three hours to read, which I did in the course of a day, and I found it to be breezy and thoroughly enjoyable. It adds incredible depth to the film and the unusually deep friendships that the cast formed during its creation. In a way, the whole thing feels almost too positive to be true... but it totally lines up with what I have read elsewhere. The movie worked, in a large part, due to the chemistry of the cast.Much of the book is through Elwes' perspective, but there are anecdotes throughout by the rest of the surviving cast and crew. It's fascinating to read the same incident described from several viewpoints. I find it hard to choose a favorite bit, as everything is interesting, but I was delighted to read many stories about Andre the Giant and to find out that Elwes (when he was just a kid) had read the original Princess Bride book.If you love The Princess Bride, you'll be absolutely charmed by this book.
  • (5/5)
    The audiobook is the way to go with this gem. Cary Elwes, the Dread Pirate Roberts, is a pleasure to listen to and many others involved in the making of the Princess Bride also contribute their voices to this audiobook. The stories about Andre The Giant alone make this book worthwhile but their is so much more. If you love the Princess Bride then this book is a must.
  • (4/5)
    The actor who played Westley in the iconic film tells of his experiences making it. Elwes's writing is frankly amateurish, but he's so enthusiastic that it's actually kind of charming. Most of the stories I already knew, but it was still a lovely walk down memory lane. My favorite part was the sweet remembrances of Andre the Giant. I need to go watch the movie again.
  • (4/5)
    If you love the movie, you'll really like (at least) this book. There's nothing mind-blowing or shocking about it, but it is really nice to feel like you were there. I highly recommend doing this on audio, it's narrated by Cary Elwes and also many of the other people involved read their quotes on the different events. Cary also does many imitations of the other actors and he's good at it.I guess the most surprising thing is that the movie didn't do well at the box office. I think that If it came out today it would be an instant hit, considering how being geeky is cool now.
  • (5/5)
    An autobiography of a movie?
    This was a quick, sweet read. Anyone who enjoys The Princess Bride (and if you don't love this movie then WHAT ARE YOU?) will be pleased with this inside/behind-the-scenes look at the making of this iconic fairy tale.
    Not the *best* writing, but not the worst, and fine story telling.

    Note: I never realized TPB wasn't a theater success... I encountered it via VHS and now own it in various media. Our entire family quotes lines, we dress up a favorite characters for Halloween (or whenever) and never tire of this wholesome movie.
  • (5/5)
    I cannot say how much I loved listening to this. I was 14 when The Princess Bride came out, and it became one of the defining movies of my teen years. I've watched it I don't know how many times, quoted it endlessly with my friends then, and still do today. This movie touches people in a way no other can. It is so many things, a comedy, a fantasy adventure, and the ideal romance. It's the happy ending we all want. I've been itching to watch it again the whole time I've been listening.

    What I dearly love about this book is the sheer love and delight towards the movie of everyone involved in making it. That really shines through and makes me so happy that the people who made one of my favorite movies share that love with me. It wasn't just another project they worked on, it was something incredibly special.

    I could listen to Cary Elwes speak all day! Well, I sort of did or would have if I could have had that long uninterrupted! His delivery is perfect, joined by Rob Reiner and other cast members and combined with the stories from the making of the movie, fun facts, the actors real insecurities and downright fears, their personal struggles and camaraderie make this a book I will treasure. It adds an extra dimension to the story that makes it even more precious to me.
  • (5/5)
    I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a film buff or a fan of this movie in particular. There is a lot of great behind the scene information of how a movie goes from story to screen and the love that can happen while creating an enduring tale. Also, for anyone who follows Rob Reiner as a director, you will get to see him from an actors point of view, as well as, get interesting tidbits about his craft. Last, but not least, you will have a portrait of a young actor at the beginning of his carreer.
  • (2/5)
    I love the movie. One of my favorites for sure, but this book is boring unless you are a totally gobsmacked fanatic about moviemaking and in particular the Princess Bride.
  • (2/5)
    Read this only if you really really love The Princess Bride movie. It's just a capitalization on the film's latent success. There is so much praise and love in the anecdotes, it reads like a fairy tale itself. A few interesting behind the scenes stories, but nothing terribly profound or unexpected.
  • (4/5)
    Genuinely entertaining as Cary Elwes recalls the behind-the-scenes stories about filming the movie. What I really enjoyed were the blurbs inserted on the sides of the pages written by Elwes' cohorts where they recount their own stories or reactions. A fun and quick read.
  • (5/5)
    This book was just ridiculously fun. If you're a fan of The Princess Bride it's a must read. There are sweet stories about auditioning for parts and performing scenes. I loved being able to learn about the whole process of making the cult classic. I will say that the audio version is essential with this book. It's read by Cary Elwes with sections done by most of the other main characters. I just couldn't stop grinning while I was listening to it and obviously I watched the movie again as soon as I finished.
  • (4/5)
    If you loved The Princes Bride as my family and I did, you will enjoy this memoir delivered in audio form by "Wesley" himself. This book is heartwarming and humorous giving it's fans a backstage peek into the lives of the people who wrote and brought to life this marvelous movie. Cary, being a young man 23 with a bud of a career, expresses his gratitude and humility to have been chosen to be a part of this production. He has the ability to laugh at himself as he shares his experiences with Andre the Giant, (7 feet 4 inches), who actually was a "gentle giant", Rob Reiner the directer who encouraged the best out of his actors, and Bily Crystal who was only filming on the set for 3 days yet had an enormous impact on the movie with his humor as Miracle Max. This backstage account only helps you appreciate every scene even more than you already do. Wesley and Indigo did not use stunt doubles for the fencing scenes but only for the gymnastics. It took 8 hours a day of practice right up until the sword fight was filmed. I truly enjoyed listening to and learning more about one of my favorite movies. Waitresses take "Wesley's" order in a restaurant and then leave saying, "As you wish".
  • (5/5)
    "The Princess Bride" is a wonderful, charming movie based on the book by William Goldman. I never read the book, but I've seen and been delighted by the movie. If you're a fan of the movie, you need to read this charming, delightful behind-the-scenes memoir written by Cary Elwes, who starred as Westley. Elwes, with help from co-author Layden, has a nice, breezy narrative style, and his anecdotes are supplemented with commentary from director Rob Reiner as well as other actors from the movie. Now I want to see the movie again.
  • (5/5)
    A very enjoyable look back at the making of The Princess Bride!

    In my opinion, The Princess Bride is a very unrated movie...even with me personally. When naming my favorite movies, I would probably forgot to mention it, although it had a big impact on my imagination and sense of humor.

    When randomly browsing for books, how could the adventurous cover not catch your eye? My interest piqued, I asked for it for Christmas, being a film fan and Princess Bride fan in general.

    However, having read the book, I have a whole new level of appreciation for the movie. The struggle the project had, the extremely hard physical work it took to create the fight scenes, and all the fun amongst the cast, really cemented the film in my mind. I suddenly have the fervor to re-watch the movie (it's NOT on NETFLIX, WHY??), buy a copy for my collection and future generations, and try to re-read the novel. There's even a game app that I'll probably be addicted to later. Strangely enough, it's also really piqued my interest in fencing. If I didn't have a bum foot, I'd probably be running around right now telling people to "Prepare to die."

    Can you tell that I'm part of The Princess Bride cult now?

    Again, a fun, enjoyable, heartfelt read!
  • (3/5)
    Adorable stories from the making of The Princess Bride. Fun for fans.
  • (4/5)
    Do you love The Princess Bride? Then you will love this tale of the making of the movie. Elwes gives insight into what it was like to film this remarkable love story.
  • (4/5)
    As You Wish by Cary Elwes is a memoir about his time making The Princess Bride. It gives insight into the film making process, how the movie almost didn't get made, the dedication it took to make the greatest sword fighting scene in history look effortless (all of which was performed by the actors, minus the one part on a high bar) and more. Cary's telling is absolutely charming. You really feel that he and the rest of the cast had a great time making a movie and are humbled by how long the movie has endured. If you've seen the movie and like behind the scenes stuff, this book is definitely worth your time.I listened to the audio book, which was narrated by the author. Cary's narration is great! He is funnier than I imagined, doing some impersonations of his fellow cast members in spots. Other cast and crew lend their voices to give their thoughts throughout. It was a nice touch. I'm going to have to rewatch the movie soon.
  • (3/5)
    I would have liked this book better in print. A narrator can make or break a book, and in this case, the narration did a bit of both. Listening, rather than reading, made it hard to gloss over those parts of the book that were weaker than others. What I didn't like:Cary Elwes was disappointing as a narrator: he wrote this book so it should have felt like he was living it, and instead it felt like he was just reading someone else's third hand narrative. I've seen the movie twice now and I get what all the love is about; it's a great movie that totally stands up to time. But Mr. Elwes went on and on about how special, how life-altering, how magical the filming of this movie was. Had I been reading this, it probably wouldn't have stood out as much as it did because I would have started skimming over it. The above applies as well to the importance of the sword fight. In audio, it was over-kill; by the time the filming of the actual scene came up in the book I was so honestly sick of hearing about how important it was, how much training they had to do, how important!!! The narrative sometimes felt a little ego-stroking; again, I think it wouldn't have come across this way in print, or even if Mr. Elwes read more naturally. What I really, really liked:Cary Elwes is pretty good at impersonations. When he was reciting dialogue between two people, his narration improved exponentially - even when he flubbed an impersonation (I'm betting Pope John Paul II's accent was Polish, not Italian) the narration become more lively and interesting. He nails Rob Reiner. I loved (and this surprised me) the parts involving Andre the Giant. I knew very little about Andre: he suffered gigantism and he was a wrestler. I don't think it's possible to care less about something than I do about wrestling, which is why I was surprised. He sounds like he was an incredible man, the kind you wish you could have met and gotten to know as a person, not a celebrity. Having the individual actors narrate their own contributions kept it lively and interesting. So, all-in-all, a solid 3 stars for me in audio format.
  • (5/5)
    I adored the audiobook of this memoir read by the author and littered with guest appearances by the people quoted in the book. If you are a fan of the film or want to become one, check this out. Both entertaining and informative on the movie-making experience and the love of the novel it's based upon.
  • (4/5)
    This was a nice little read. Several short, cute anecdotes from Cary Elwes (Westley/The Man In Black/The Dread Pirate Roberts) about the making of The Princess Bride. Several inserts throughout the book from the director and the other actors. Several photo pages in the middle. Signed copy too, which is a very nice touch. High literature this ain't, but if you love the movie, you'll enjoy this. I already can't wait to watch the movie again, with knowledge of all the behind the scenes tidbits that were going on.
  • (2/5)
    I love The Princess Bride (movie and book), but it turns out I don't love making-of stories, especially those that are primarily filled with actors gushing about how brilliant everyone on the movie is and what a blessing it was to work with such brilliant, hard-working people. Come to think of it, I think all of the making-of things I've watched or read do this same gushing. Not that I would want to read about a bunch of people complaining about everyone who worked on the movie and saying how amazed they are that the film turned out to be as popular and enduring as it was given that everyone hated making it. It's just that neither option would seem more pointless than the other.I did enjoy Wallace Shawn's perspective on the film and on his part in it, and Cary Elwes's impressions were fun, but aside from those, this audiobook didn't really do much for me. Well, except to remind me that there are essentially two women in the entire film, one of whom is a total damsel in distress, a fact that I try not to think about because it diminishes the pleasure I take watching an otherwise beloved movie. Thank you, Mr. Elwes, for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?
  • (5/5)
    A must for any fan of The Princess Bride - the book or the movie :D
  • (5/5)
    As a huge fan of the movie, this book provided a lot of fun insight into the making of it. I enjoyed the fun anecdotes and they hugely increased my appreciation for the film.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book immensely. My wife and I enjoyed the anecdotes so much.