If you randomly find yourself uttering things like “Anybody want a peanut?”, “Have fun storming the castle,” or “I’m not a witch. I’m your wife!” — then face it: You’re a hopeless Princess Bride fanatic… and you’ll probably enjoy As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Prince Bride very, very much.
Written by Cary Elwes (Westley!!!), the book is a nice jaunt back in time, telling tales from behind the scenes of the production, from his casting and the early days of filming all the way through the cast’s reunion for a 25th anniversary celebration of this amazing movie.
Surprisingly, The Princess Bride was not a huge success when it was first released — perhaps due to completely bungled marketing on the part of the studio. Audiences who saw the movie loved it; the problem was, not that many people actually saw it. But with the advent of VHS (remember those?), the popularity of the movie took off until it became the cult classic it is today.
In As You Wish, Cary (can I call him Cary? I feel like we’re connected…) tells about his early meetings with director Rob Reiner and with his co-stars, and how the movie was made, start to finish. His reminiscences about the late, great André the Giant are particularly sweet and heartfelt, and his obviously sincere praise for the rest of the cast is quite lovely and a lot of fun to read. Side notes from Reiner, Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, and other cast members help round out the story of the movie-making, sharing other perspectives and anecdotes related to events that Cary describes.
I especially enjoyed the little tidbits that I hadn’t known before. Did you know that Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all of their own sword fighting in the movie? They trained rigorously for months to pull off The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, which makes it extra fun to watch and rewatch, now that I know.
If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, this quick book is a fun way to spend an afternoon or two. It’s not especially earthshaking or surprising in any way, and there’s certainly no gossip or scandalous escapades here. As You Wish is a tribute to a movie that so many of us know and love, and it’s clear from reading this book that Cary Elwes and the rest of the cast and crew consider being a part of The Princess Bride a once-in-a-lifetime, extra special experience. Consider this a lovely little gift to the fans, straight from Cary Elwes’s heart… and enjoy.
Title: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride
Author: Cary Elwes (with Joe Layden)
Publication date: October, 2014
Length: 259 pages
Source: Purchased as a gift… then borrowed it back to read!