Wednesday, March 25, 2015

As You Wish by Cary Elwes, with Joe Layden

If you recognize the phrase "As You Wish", you've probably seen The Princess Bride at least once, and maybe multiple times. Cary Elwes, who starred in the movie as Westley, farmhand turned pirate, co-authored the New York Times bestseller, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. And, Elwes' account proves to be as charming as the movie itself.

Although Elwes wrote the book just last year, he relates his feelings as a young, twenty-three-year-old actor, in awe of the team put together in 1986 to film William Goldman's beloved story. Here was a young man, directed by Rob Reiner, who met the author of the book and the script, worked with Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon. He was in awe of all of the others, a little in love with Robin, who starred as Buttercup, the princess. And, Elwes gathers his memories, and the comments from many of the others who worked on the film with him, including Rob Reiner and William Goldman.

This is truly a book for lovers of The Princess Bride. Elwes takes readers through the entire filming of the movie, from the time he first heard about it through its failure to be marketed well by a studio that didn't know what to do with it. And, he ends with the triumphant twenty-fifth reunion and showing at Lincoln Center. But, it's all those details, including how Elwes and Patinkin had to learn to fight for "The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times", that brings the filming of the movie to life. And, it's Elwes' joy, shared by the others involved in the film, that sparks the book. Cary Elwes takes readers back to the filming of a beloved movie. The stories, the photos from the filming of the movie, reward the fan.

Rob Reiner, in his Foreword, sums up the film. "Was it a fairy tale? Was it a swashbuckling adventure? Was it a love story? Or was it just a nutty satire? The fact is it was, and is, all of the above." And, Cary Elwes and Joe Layden tell all of those stories in As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from The Making of The Princess Bride.

Here's a note for lovers of books, and The Princess Bride. Remove the cover, and look inside the cover itself. Shepard Fairey's artwork INSIDE the cover is gorgeous.

Anecdote: Last year, I met Cary Elwes at Book Expo America, where he was promoting this book. He was as gracious as you would expect, telling me he liked the spelling of my name. (Had I known his wife's name was Lisa Marie, I would have told him my middle name is Marie as well.) But, the funniest comment of the day caused him to laugh, too, when Kathy Reichs, who followed him on the panel, said fifteen women in the room got up and left after he was done speaking.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden. Touchstone. 2014. ISBN 9781476764023 (hardcover), 259p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of the book.


Kay said...

I loved this book. And I listened to it so didn't get to see the artwork, but I did get to hear Cary Elwes narrate it. Westley speaking in my head. Lovely.

Plus other people involved narrated their comments as well - Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, and more. It was delightful. I think being a mega-fan of the movie helped. I love the comment about 15 women getting up and leaving the room. LOL

And, getting to meet Cary Elwes. Even more lovely. :-)

Libby Dodd said...

This is a delightful book for anyone who knows the movie.
All of them show such excitement after all these years. What a special movie.
And Robin Wright? Now she's known for The House of Cards. Quite a different character!

Lesa said...

You're right, Kay. I may have to check and see if we have the audiobook someplace in the system to listen as well. Cary Elwes was very nice, and still lovely!

Lesa said...

You're so right, Libby. Not at all the same character for Robin Wright. It's so nice to know they all still love what they did in The Princess Bride.

Mrs. Mac said...

It's inconceivable! that I've not heard of this book before today. I must read this book, even if I have to actually spend money to purchase it. ha ha

Lesa said...

That's what I did, Mrs. Mac - spent my own money to purchase it. I know what you mean. It's inconceivable that I even had to do that. (smile)

Grandma Cootie said...

I read this book a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Made me go back and watch the movie to catch all the little things. I laughed as much as I did the first (how many??) times I watched it.

Lesa said...

I want to go back and watch the movie, too, Grandma. I just don't have time this week or next. But, I do need to watch it again.