What we learned at a 'Princess Bride' 25th anniversary screening
What, you didn’t learn enough about everyone’s favorite meta fairy tale from EW’s exhaustive Princess Bride oral history — and you’d like the skinny on the New York Film Festival’s 25th anniversary Bride screening? As you wish!
Last night, director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, cast members Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Carol Kane, and Wallace Shawn, and a thousand-odd lucky Princess Bride superfans gathered in Manhattan’s Alice Tully Hall for a special showing of the 1987 classic (now out on blu-ray). After hooting and applauding at their favorite iconic lines — the roar after “Have fun storming the castle!” was so loud that Crystal and Kane’s subsequent dialogue was totally drowned out — the crowd was treated to a panel discussion featuring Reiner and his stars. Here’s the best of what we learned during that discussion, the pre-screening red carpet event, and the movie itself:
1. Chris Sarandon wants to see a sequel called Humperdink’s Revenge
The man who played Buttercup’s wicked fiance didn’t share plot details of his imagined Princess Bride 2 with EW on the red carpet — but he did reveal that he proposed that title to William Goldman “years ago.” It didn’t take, though Goldman has been trying for years to pen a second Princess Bride book called Buttercup’s Baby. (More on that later.)
2. Mandy Patinkin is a Princess Bride quoting ninja
When they spy Patinkin in the wild, people are constantly quoting the Homeland star’s immortal words from the film: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And when prompted, Patinkin is happy to say the quote himself — provided it’s for the right audience.
“The most memorable [fan encounters] to me are always when a father or grandfather comes up to me with their little grandchild or son, and they say, ‘This is the guy,'” he told us on the red carpet. “And the little kid looks at me, trying to put it together — because I look like the guy but I don’t look like the guy, I’m older, I have a beard, I don’t have a beard. And I look at the kid, and I take the kid next to me” — and here Patinkin actually leaned close and began to whisper — “and I whisper the line in their ear. And their father, or my wife if she’s around, says that all of a sudden the kid’s face changes. So I never see it, but I try to give the kid a private moment.”
3. He’d also reprise his role in a heartbeat
So, if there were to be a Princess Bride remake, who would Patinkin like to see as Inigo? “Me,” he told EW with a laugh. “Please, call me.”
4. “Anybody want a peanut?” might be the movie’s secret MVP
During the screening, nearly every line got a big reaction from the audience — but Andre the Giant’s rhyming rejoinder to Wallace Shawn’s “No more rhymes now, I mean it!” got one of the loudest ovations.
5. François Truffaut, Norman Jewison, and Robert Redford all tried and failed to bring The Princess Bride to the screen
According to Rob Reiner, numerous big-name directors had been attempting to adapt Goldman’s original novel over the course of 14 or 15 years before he started working on his own version.
6. Cary Elwes impressed Reiner by doing a Bill Cosby impression
When the director met with Elwes about doing the movie, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the actor. “[Elwes] looked exactly right. I had no idea if he had a sense of humor or not,” Reiner explained. But during the meeting, Elwes started breaking out voices — including an impersonation of Cosby as Fat Albert — and Reiner was floored: “I thought, ‘Wow, this beautiful looking kid — he’s like Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and he’s doing schtick!’ And I thought, ‘Oh boy, he’s our guy.'”
And yes — at the end of the panel, Elwes indulged everyone by doing a brief but spot-on “hey hey HEY!”
7. Nobody could keep it together during the Miracle Max scene
Reiner’s guffaws ruined take after take. Patinkin says the only injury he received on set was a bruised rib from “holding in my laughter.” Elwes added that “half the crew” had to leave the set as well because Billy Crystal’s improvised lines were so funny. Crystal still remembers a few that didn’t make it into the final film: “Don’t rush me, sonny. I found my nephew with a sheep,” as well as one about a viking we couldn’t make out over the crowd’s howls.
8. Patinkin’s favorite line isn’t “You killed my father…”
… it’s this one, from the end of the movie: “I have been in the revenge business so long. Now that it’s over, I don’t know I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”
9. If you tell her she was your first crush, Robin Wright will give you a hug
An audience member tried this very tactic during the Q&A portion of the evening, and it worked. That means there might be hope for you too!
10. Don’t hold your breath for Buttercup’s Baby
William Goldman called his attempts at writing a second Princess Bride book “total failure.” Though he’d love to complete it — “more than anything else I’ve ever not written” — the story just hasn’t come to him: “It’s just one of those things when you go to your pit, and everything sucks there.”
11. These were the screenplay’s stage directions for the Inigo/Westley sword fight
“What you’re about to see is the second-greatest sword fight in movie history. The first greatest comes later.”
12. The ROUS scene hit a speed bump when one of the “rodents” got arrested
There were actually little people inside of those ROUS costumes. One of them, a guy named Anthony, was especially good at “scurrying,” according to Reiner. But when Anthony was supposed to shoot his big scene, Reiner discovered that he wasn’t on set because he had been taken to jail — “He was going through divorce proceedings, and they owned a kennel. And he burned the kennel down!” the director explained.
13. You can hire an actor to marry you using the “Mawwage” scene
Because according to Sarandon, it’s been done before.
14. Carol Kane, who played Valerie, thinks The Princess Bride is “a perfect movie”
And judging by the thunderous applause her comment inspired, so do a whole lot of other people.
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