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

caryelwes-asyouwishFirst Lines: 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.

Alright, y’all, I’m the first to confess that I have a massive crush on Cary Elwes, who is over twice my age but just as delightful and handsome now as he was 30 years ago.  I fell in love with him in this movie in high school, as well as his turn in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.  Then a few years later I discovered Lady Jane and came to appreciate his dramatic pieces as well.  But the list of lovable roles just goes on and on.  And it’s always awesome when I have no idea he’s in a movie and he takes me by surprise.  (I’m pretty sure I shrieked when I spotted him in Glory.)  So this book has been high on my to-read list for some time.

I’m copying the summary from Goodreads: From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at 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, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

Look, I know this isn’t YA, but I totally have to share this.  You guys, this book is amazeballs.  And I don’t use that word lightly.  There is so much in this book to love!  Cary spills all.

The behind-the-scenes stuff is amazing.  Cary nails the neuroses of many of the actors and crew, from William Goldman’s nerves of turning his beloved script into a movie to Wally Shawn’s nearly debilitating fear that he would be replaced by Danny Devito.  He completely paints Rob Reiner as a lovable, nurturing father figure who allowed each actor a bit of space to do what they wanted while remaining true to the tale.  And he certainly creates an interesting and vivid picture of Andre the Giant, who may have been the most interesting person on that set.  (And that’s not a statement I would have made prior to this book.)

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And of course, Cary has so many stories to share of mishaps and giggles on set.  I swear to you, there was one part where I was literally giggling madly to myself over something Andre did.  And I promise you, I am never going to look at that particular scene the same way ever again.  But between Andre’s quirks to Billy Crystal’s improv, there’s really not a dull moment in this book.  (The bits about Miracle Max are hysterical.  God, I wish someone would release the footage of that!)

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I fell so much in love with this story, just as I did with the movie.  You can tell through all of this that Cary is certainly humbled by his experiences and the reception this movie has gotten.  It’s a fabulous group of people that worked together to make this, and this book just highlights how amazing they all are.

Cary will crack you up, and you will absolutely remember why you love this movie so much.  I have a serious hankering to watch it again now.

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