10 Things You Didn’t Know About “The Princess Bride”
I know, I know, I know, you think you must know EVERYTHING about “The Princess Bride” because you watched it on the regular growing up. But there’s actually a whole ton of things you probably DON’T know about the movie.
“Inconceivable!” you say.
“I do not think that means what you think it means,” I reply, on cue, like a G.
Cary Elwes (our sweet Westley!) co-wrote a book about a making of the movie that just hit bookstores called “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of ‘The Princess Bride.’”
1.)The Film Was Not An Instant Hit
“Wait, they weren’t LINED UP around the block to see TPB like it was a Harry Potter midnight release?” you ask. No, the film actually only did modest business at the box office, grossing $30 million at the B.O. off of a $16 million budget. A film has to make twice its budget to be considered successful (Hollywood math is the weirdest) so “The Princess Bride” JUST missed the mark. It wasn’t until the film came out on VHS that it blew up like whoa.
2.) Bill Clinton Has Probably Seen Princess Bride More Times Than You Have
When Clinton met Elwes (during his presidency), he said, AND I QUOTE “Chelsea and I are big fans of The Princess Bride. We’ve seen it over 100 times. I know every line. I love that movie.”
3.) They Shot The Swordfighting Scenes Last
According to Elwes, the actors worked on their swordfighting every day of the shoot and “never had a chance to sit down.” Elwes reports that fight choreographer Bob Anderson told him at the start of shooting that “We’ve deliberately asked the producers to move the schedule of the sword fight sequence to the end of the movie because we need every day we can get with you just to teach you to do right-handed sword[fighting] — forget the left hand. That’s gonna be a whole other thing.”
4.) Have You Ever Bruised A Rib Laughing? Mandy Patinkin Has.
The set of “Princess Bride” was quite the laugh riot, according to Elwes. Apparently Mandy Patinkin (of “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” fame) tried so hard to hold in his laughter when Billy Crystal did his medieval Yiddish stand-up that he actually BRUISED A RIB, I didn’t even know that was a medical ailment laughter could cause. Cary Elwes and Rob Reiner could NOT hold their laughter in, and so they were banished from set.
5.) Patinkin Wasn’t The Only One To Suffer A Super-Silly Injury On Set
According to Elwes, “Andre the Giant could only get around on the Derbyshire Moors set on an all-terrain vehicle. One day, he convinced me that I should try it out. Foolishly, I did, and within minutes I drove over a rock and broke my left toe. It was three weeks before we were due to film the sword fight scene. And so I hadn’t fully healed by the time they shot that.”
6.) In The Poison-Drinking Scene, What Was Actually In The Cup?
Grape juice, Elwes reports.
7.) Andre The Giant Could Drink You (And Everyone On Planet Earth) Under The Table
According to Elwes, Andre the Giant (who plays Inigo’s giant companion Fezzik) could pound them back. “Andre could drink more than anyone I’ve ever met. And the reason he drank so much was because he was in a lot of pain from back injuries. But he never complained. He always had a smile on his face. And so went drinking with him one night in NY, and all I did all night was sip a beer, and he thought it was quite amusing. He could drink 103 beers in one sitting. One sitting. And not pass out or anything, or even tipsy!”
8.) Don’t Feel Too Badly For The Dude In The ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size) Costume.
Yes, Elwes punches the living daylights out of him in the movie (and as we all know, a movie scene requires multiple takes, so that’s A LOT of punches) but according to Elwes: “He had pounds of latex over him so he couldn’t feel it.”
9.) There Was A Little Bit Of Improv Afoot In “The Princess Bride”
Elwes reports that he “. . . improvised all of the ‘being mostly dead’ physical behavior.” For most of the characters, “the dialogue in the film was pretty much set.” The big exception to that rule was Billy Crystal as Miracle Max who, Elwes vouches, improvised his dialogue. Yeah, we can tell, but in a GOOD WAY, promise.
10.) Does Cary Elwes Say “As You Wish” to his wife?
“Of course.” AWWWWWWWWWWWW times forever.
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