Actor Cary Elwes did a Reddit AMA this week, timed with the Oct. 14 release of As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. During the AMA, he answered questions about many of the films he’s made, from Dracula to Saw and Liar Liar. But all most people wanted to know about was, naturally, his most beloved work, and the only one he wrote an entire book about: The Princess Bride. Below, behold 13 surprising facts and details Elwes revealed in his AMA.
1. Elwes had a broken toe while filming the infamous sword fight scene with Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) from riding an ATV, at André’s behest. “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,” Elwes explained. “And so I hadn’t fully healed by the time they shot that.”
2. André The Giant (who played Fezzik) was a big softie—and also just big. “It was like Bill Goldman [author of the original novel] said: It’s like the Pentagon. No matter how big people tell you it’s going to be, it’s always bigger when you’re in front of it. He was like the Eighth Wonder of the World. He was one of the sweetest people I’d ever met.”
3. And André The Giant could really hold his liquor. “Andre could drink more than anyone I’ve ever met… He could drink 103 beers in one sitting. One sitting. And not pass out or anything, or even tipsy!” Inconceivable.
4. In the scene where Westley challenges Vizzini to a battle of the wits, what was really in that cup of poison? “Grape juice. It was just regular grape juice.” So Elwes is not immune to iocane powder after all.
5. Elwes didn’t improvise many lines—but acting “mostly dead” was all him. He improvised all of the “being mostly dead” physical behavior, he said. “Doing the physical comedy was fun.”
6. Billy Crystal, however, did improvise a lot of material in his role as Miracle Max.
7. Crystal’s improv was so hilarious that it caused trouble on the set. “Billy Crystal’s medieval Yiddish standup caused Rob Reiner and myself to be banished from the set, and Mandy Patinkin to bruise a rib from laughing,” Elwes said.
8. Elwes was as thrilled with the ensemble cast as audiences were. “I was just thrilled to be working with such a tsunami of power, starting with William Golden [sic], Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Chris Guest, Wally Shawn, Carol Kane, Fred Savage, Mandy Patinkin, Robyn [sic] Wright, and of course Andre the Giant… But I was in awe of them all.”
9. Yes, R.O.U.S.s (Rodents of Unusual Size) are a real thing. “I could spot ’em from a mile away! There’s plenty in Hollywood.”
10. The Princess Bride fans (and their moms) are as crazy as you might imagine. “I met a fan once who had ‘As you wish’ tattooed on the back of her neck… she wanted me to autograph it so she could have my signature added too. Initially I hesitated but her mother insisted.”
11. The Princess Bride is coming to Broadway, and Elwes is excited about it. “I’m sure they will do a brilliant job on it. They don’t need any advice from me. Plenty of song titles to choose from, that’s for sure.”
12. Cary Elwes’ favorite Cary Elwes movie is The Princess Bride too. “Because it was the movie that changed my life. And gave me the career I have today. It was my first big Hollywood movie. And because… I laughed every day on set. People ask me, ‘Was it as much fun to make as it looks?’ and I say “It was more fun.” It was a fairytale come true.”
13. Does he ever say “as you wish” to his wife? “Of course.”