When Cary Elwes’s book As You Wish came out last year, I quickly put it on my to-be-read list. But when I saw the audiobook on Audible this week, I had to have it.
Best. Audiobook. Ever.
This is the story of the making of The Princess Bride, one of my favorite films. When the film was made, Elwes was a relatively unknown 24-year-old. In the book, he discusses how the film was made and what great relationships the actors and crew had with one another.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.—product description
Elwes reads the book almost entirely himself, and if his own lovely voice weren’t enough, he often recites the dialogue with convincing imitations of his interlocutors. His impression of Rob Reiner is fantastic, and he even gets in Bill Clinton at the end. At one point, I drove around Orlando in circles just because I didn’t want to stop listening.
The behind-the-scenes stories alone are worth the price of the book. That many of the cast and crew are on the recording as well, sharing their own views, is a bonus. Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Wallace Shawn, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Andy Scheinman all add their views in their own voices. Another actor, Danny Burstien, reads the interviews given by William Goldman, Mandy Patinkin, and Fred Savage.
The best part is the inside view of the training and choreography that went into the famous duel between the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya, which Goldman’s script described as “The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times”—and it is. The fight was choreographed by Bob Anderson (who also worked on Star Wars, Highlander, and Lord of the Rings) and Peter Diamond (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Highlander TV series).
I laughed so hard at the antics of Andre the Giant, and cried so much at Elwes’ own “as you wish” moment with his grandfather, that I probably should not have been driving 70 miles an hour on Florida’s Turnpike while I was listening. And now, I’ve pulled out my old paperback and my VHS copy of the film, and I’m gonna crank up the VCR and see if it still works. Because after listening to this audiobook, I’m ready to read the book and watch the movie with new eyes.