As You Wish

 

by Cary Elwes with Joe Laden

 

Touchstone

 

Reader Appeal: Adults

 

Genre: Memoir

 

PopFam Rating: A

 

All right men, here’s the book you should get your wife for Christmas, or your next wedding anniversary or for mother’s day or any other holiday—or even just for no reason at all.

 

Cary Elwes’ As You Wish is such a happy memoir that it stands out simply because of that. The fact that it’s all about the making of the now-classic fantasy movie, The Princess Bride, makes it even better.

 

If you don’t know that movie—and believe me, your wife knows it—then you’re missing out. Filled with comedy, romance, fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles, and more, The Princess Bride was actor Elwes’ first leading role (he was only 23 at the time). It was only a modest hit when it released in 1987, but has since become one of the most popular, and quotable, films of all time. In fact, the American Film Institute ranks The Princess Bride as one of the top 100 “Greatest Love Stories,” and the Writer’s Guild of America lists it as one of the top 100 Screenplays of all time. Not bad for an under-the-radar, off –the-wall romantic-fantasy comedy.

 

The Princess Bride was directed by Rob Reiner and written by William Goldman (aka S. Morgenstern), and it starred some of the best comedic actors of the last generation. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane ad-libbed the characters to greatness. The late, great wrestling hero, Andre the Giant filled the screen with his gentle, wry, and imposing presence. Mandy Patinkin has gone on to more serious work, but he’ll always be remembered as the guy who first delivered the line, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

 

But I digress.

 

The point here is that, in Elwes’ delightful book As You Wish, we get to relive the joy that went into making that unforgettable movie. Elwes gives us insider, on-the-set stories and photographs that are both comically funny and heartwarming as well. Elwes played the dashing hero, Westley, and we get to learn about the film from the moment of his being cast all the way to the sold-out 25th anniversary screening in 2012. The book even includes interviews with several of Elwes cast-mates, such as Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, Carol Kane, Christopher Sarandon, Fred Savage, and yes, Billy Crystal.

 

We discover that Billy Crystal, as Miracle Max, nearly ruined the movie by being too funny—Rob Reiner kept laughing so hard at Crystal’s ad-libs that they had to reshoot and reshoot so as to edit out his laughter. (Apparently, Crystal ad-libbed for three days straight, without ever repeating a line.) Reiner finally had to leave the set just so they could get through the scene. We learn that Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) pulled off the terrifying Cliffs of Insanity scene even though he suffers from intense fear of heights. We learn about the two full months Elwes and Patinkin spent learning how to fence in preparation for The Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times. We even find out that Rodents of Unusual Size have problems of their own—the actor playing that Rodent had a run-in with police on the very day he was supposed to film his scene in the movie.

 

And there is, of course, much much more.

 

So all you happy husbands out there, like I was saying earlier, As You Wish is going to be a great gift for the lady you love who also loves The Princess Bride. Plus, if you give her this book, maybe she’ll let you borrow it when she’s done. Enjoy!

 

--MN

 

Tags: Princess Bride,Cary Elwes,Rob Reiner,Billy Crystal,William Goldman,Westley,Buttercup,Miracle Max,Inigo Montoya,As You Wish

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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