I vividly remember the first time I watched The Princess Bride – on a rented TV and VCR at an overnight with my high school Girl Scout troop. We watched it twice through that night, and then watched our favorite bits over and over again the following morning. It’s still one of my favorites, one of the most-quoted around my house. Even at work, people were quoting it at one of my recent library events. Which is a roundabout way of saying that of course I had to listen to this book when I heard it was coming out.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden. Read by Cary Elwes et al. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014.
Starring in The Princess Bride was a dream come true for Cary Elwes, then a relatively unknown actor. Following its 25th anniversary, he put together his memories of the movie and the people in it. From time to time, other members of the team put in their thoughts on people or events, as well, often read by them on the audio version as well. This is not a Rita Skeeter-like exposé of the event – Elwes is full of happy memories of his time on set (and training beforehand!) and looks with kindness and respect on everyone except occasionally himself. He is also digs a little deeper into the background of the original book and its long history of being batted around between studios and labelled as unfilmable before finally making it to the screen.
I could wish that the contributions from other people had been a little more extensive – I would particularly have liked to hear more about some of Robin Wright’s work in scenes where Elwes wasn’t present – but this isn’t a deal breaker by any means. I won’t spoil this for anyone who hasn’t read it yet by sharing the fun parts – but I came away full of warm fuzzies and secret knowledge of things to notice when re-watching the movie. If you are a fan, you should definitely read this – and I’d highly recommend getting the audiobook out of the library. Not only do you get to hear Elwes’s familiar accent, plus those of more people both familiar and not, but Elwes is a consummate actor and uses the appropriate voice for each person he’s talking about.