As you wish: Five things you didn't know about 'The Princess Bride' on its 30th anniversary
When it comes to casting the characters for an epic tale like The Princess Bride, you need some really big actors. REALLY big.
Director Rob Reiner reportedly considered several actors for the role of Fezzik, the lovable giant who eventually is coaxed into helping our hero Wesley rescue Princess Buttercup. Among the names: Arnold Schwarzenegger (too expensive), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (too busy with his NBA career) and even Liam Neeson (too short at “only” 6-foot-4).
And so it would be pro wrestling legend “Andre the Giant” - author William Goldman’s first pick all along - who would step into the role.
Released on Oct. 9, 1987, The Princess Bride is celebrating its 30th anniversary by returning to the big screen. Fathom Events is staging screenings of the movie on Sunday, Oct. 15, and Wednesday, Oct. 18. Click here to find a theater near you.
Here are five more things you probably didn’t know about The Princess Bride on its 30th anniversary.
1. The movie was adapted by Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name. Reiner first read the book shortly after it was published, while he was starring in TV’s All in the Family. Reiner would later get the funding to make the movie version with help of Norman Lear (who created All in the Family).
2. Christopher Reeve originally was sought to play the part of Wesley/The Dread Pirate Roberts before it fell to Cary Elwes, who had more of the Errol Flynn quality that Reiner wanted. Meanwhile Courteney Cox and Meg Ryan both auditioned for Princess Buttercup (though author Goldman pictured Carrie Fisher as the ideal choice).
3. Elwes and Mandy Patinkin performed the sword-fighting scenes themselves after spending all their free time training with professional fencers. Patinkin says his famous line - "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" - still gets quoted to him by strangers several times a day (much to his delight).
4. Billy Crystal’s ad-libbing performance as “Miracle Max” - “a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe" - caused the cast and crew to break into laughter so often that it actually caused production problems. Patinkin reportedly bruised his ribs from holding back his laughter, and director Reiner had to actually leave the room during the filming because he couldn’t keep quiet.
5. It turns out there was a real Dread Pirate Roberts - Bartholomew Roberts - who terrorized the Caribbean in the early 18th century. He would eventually capture more than 400 prizes during his career, with historians regarding him as the most successful pirate of his day - as he would have wished.