BEA 2014: Cary Elwes Panel “AS YOU WISH”

Hanna Lafferty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Book Editor

princess bride

Cary Elwes held a panel about his new memoir, AS YOU WISH: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. The book contains tales about the behind-the-scenes actions in the 1987 Princess Bride film and a foreword by the film’s director, Rob Reiner (Spinal Tap). At the panel, Elwes and the moderator, USA Today’s online Assistant Editor Carly Mallenbaum, showed clips from the movie and discussed some of Elwes’favorite memories about The Princess Brides cast.

Elwes co-wrote his memoir with Joe Layden (There and Back Again: An Actors Tale, Street Justice). He was very excited to accept the role of Westley, being a big fan of the book ever since he had read it at thirteen. When asked about the story behind the book’s title, Elwes felt “very lucky”to have “as you wish”as the line his fans would say to him on the street. To use it for the title was really “a no-brainer,”he said.

The memoir includes interviews with Robin Wright (Buttercup) and William Goldman, the novel’s author and the movie’s screenwriter. At the panel, Elwes discussed how he “sort of fell in love”with Wright; when Reiner introduced them, he turned “five shades of red”because he was “blown away by how beautiful she was, and how funny she was.”“André [Roussimouff] (Fezzik) was like her older brother,”he recalled. It was frigid in Derbyshire during the set of the Cliffs of Insanity. “He [André] would put his hand on top of her [Robin’s] head—and it would cover her whole head, down to her eyes—and it would be like a cap. She said it warmed her up immediately.”Elwes’anecdotes were filled with stories about André on set. “He was really, a true ‘gentle giant,’”Elwes said.

However, the fight scenes could be a little rough. The panel showed a clip of Westley and Fezzik wrestling, and Elwes added his own commentary. “That wasn’t acting,”he said, after Westley gives a pained “Umph!”from Fezzik slamming him into a rock. The film crew did place rubber on the rocks to cushion André’s blows, but “it was five-hundred pounds against me,”added Elwes. Elwes also mentioned he had to perform the fencing scene with Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya) while managing a broken toe after taking André’s all-terrain vehicle for a ride.

Overall, Elwes said his experience on The Princess Bride was a “very heartwarming, wonderful, life-changing experience.”

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