On My Bookshelf

Look! I had time to read a book! And with jury duty starting tomorrow, I should have even more time to catch up on my to-read pile.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

From Amazon.com: 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 . . . . 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 and backstage stories.

It should be fairly obvious, but I’ll start out by saying you probably shouldn’t bother reading this book if you don’t like – or have never seen – The Princess Bride. This it not a memoir about Elwes’s career; it is about the beloved movie from cover to cover.

And I loved it. This book was just fun.

It is always a little iffy when you buy a book written by an actor (or other famous person) – you just never know if they will be able to tell a story in an interesting manner. Joe Layden, the co-author, has a lot of experience with celebrity memoirs, so I assumed this one would be up to snuff. Verdict: It is.

My favorite story: In the scene where Westley is speaking with Count Rugen after being captured leaving the fire swamp, he is knocked out by a blow to the head from the end of the Count’s sword. Apparently, Elwes and Guest were having problems getting the timing right and Elwes suggested Guest go ahead and touch the sword to his head so the reaction would be better. Unfortunatly, the pair underestimated the weight of the authentic metal sword. It knocked Elwes out cold. His next memory is of the hospital. And Westley getting knocked out? Absolutely realistic. It was not reshot.

By the way, if you get the audiobook you will be treated to narration by Cary Elwes, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Wallace Shawn, Robin Wright, and Billy Crystal. Had I realized that, I might have went with audio instead of purchasing the hardcover.


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