the wonderful world of veena.

11 December 2014

[audio] book review: as you wish [cary elwes].

Even though I didn't grow up watching The Princess Bride for whatever reason, I have loved it from the first time I saw it in college. It was such a great movie, and I couldn't believe I had missed out on it for so many years.

There are so many things to love about the movie, from the characters to the plot to the fight scenes to the subtle humor. I know most of the movie by heart, and even as a 31-year-old, it remains a favourite movie I can return to whenever I need a good chuckle.

A few months ago, when perusing audiobook options on Audible and deciding how to spend my two credits, I came across a title that immediately snagged my attention: As You Wish. And then came the subtitle: "Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride". And then the best part: written and read by Cary Elwes, the actor who played the dashing Westley in the movie.

As you can imagine, I was hooked. Especially when I saw that the reading included guest appearances by many of the other actors as well as the producer, the director, and the author of the book and screenplay. How was I supposed to pass that up? The answer: I wasn't going to.

The book itself was such a fun listen. After the cast and crew reunited in 2012 for the film's 25th anniversary celebration, Elwes decided to put together a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most iconic movies of my lifetime. He discusses why the screenplay kept getting passed over by studios, how Reiner finally got the funding to make it, and how the actors came together to make such a great movie.

Elwes tells of training with Mandy Patinkin for the famous duel between The Man in Black and Inigo Montoya atop the Cliffs of Insanity. He talks about meeting Andre the Giant for the first time and marveling at the sheer size of him. And he discusses his own nerves of being in this production as a wide-eyed 23-year-old in his first major studio production.

Along the way Elwes is joined by other members of the cast and crew, so you can listen to their perspectives. Rob Reiner, William Goldman, Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Chris Sarandon, and Christopher Guest all lend their voices to the tale, and you also get to hear anecdotes from Mandy Patinkin and Fred Savage. For me, it was great to get to hear the stories told from everyone's point of view.

Since I had road trips to both Nashville and Baton Rouge within a few days of each other, I raced through this book pretty quickly. I hadn't seen the movie in such a long time, but hearing the stories brought it back to the forefront of my memory. And because Natasha is awesome, she had the DVD at her condo, so she, Natalie, and I watched it after dinner when I stayed with them. It was fun to watch it after having listened to part of the story, and in addition to quoting lines I was spouting off random information about the book and movie. I'm sure they loved that.

This is a fun, quick read, and I would highly recommend it for any fan of the movie. It was great to hear the stories as told by those who were part of the production, and I've heard there are all sorts of great photographs included with the physical book, so you really can't go wrong with the format with this one.

It's pretty much everything you wish it to be.

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