Sunday, April 5, 2015

Have Fun Storming the Castle: As You Wish

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Touchstone, 2014

I'm pretty sure I was in junior high the first time I ever saw The Princess Bride. Flipping through the channels, I came across this movie that was so wildly unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Sword fighting pirates. A miracle wizard. An actual giant. A princess who can't catch a break. A prince who is a huge jerk. And True Love. I wasn't quite sure of what to make of it, but with its wonderful satire and incredible quotability, how could I not fall in love?

Such were the thoughts of so many others who have come to find this film over the years. The movie's star Cary Elwes (Westley the Farm Boy) takes readers behind the scenes of this beloved movie, one he and so many others in the production are still proud to have been a part of over 25 years later. But while making this movie was the job of a lifetime, it wasn't always smooth sailing. Elwes had a few injuries over the course of the production. The sword fighting training was grueling. And then there was the pesky English weather to contend with. But as anyone who has seen this movie can attest to, the results on the screen were pure magic.

The biggest problem, the reason this film was initially considered a bit of a flop was because the marketing department at Fox had the same reaction I had the first time I saw it: what kind of story is it exactly? As a result, the movie did very modestly at the box office, but it turns out it was only "mostly dead" - thanks to the rise of the VCR, the movie grew to become a beloved classic.

For fans of the movies and people who enjoy DVD extras, this book is a must-read. Elwes does a great job of including the thoughts of others who worked on the film and covers everything from his audition to the cast's reunion for the movie's 25th anniversary. This book was also a remarkable insight into Andre the Giant who unfortunately passed away in the early 90s but was an incredibly thoughtful and kind man who was often misunderstood due to his size. I read this whole book over the course of a gray winter day - the type of day usually perfect for a Princess Bride viewing. I wanted to know more about this wonderful movie, and Elwes was more than happy to oblige.

As Westley would say, "As you wish."

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Website for the book
Cary Elwes on Twitter

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