December 12, 2015

Book Review || As You Wish

As You Wish 
Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride 
Cary Elwes {with Joe Layden}

Published 14 Oct, 2014

Touchstone, Hardcover, 245p. (inc. b&w/col. photos, index)
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6402-3 

Standing on the stage for the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Princess Bride, I felt an almost overwhelming sense of gratitude and nostalgia.  It was a remarkable night and it brought back vivid memories of being part of what appears to have become a cult classic film about pirates and princesses, giants and jesters, cliffs of insanity, and of course rodents of unusual size.

It truly was as fun to make the movie as it is to watch, from getting to work on William Goldman's brilliant screenplay to being directed by the inimitable Rob Reiner.  It is not an exaggeration to say that most days on set were exhilarating, from wrestling Andre the Giant, to the impossibility of playing mostly dead with Billy Crystal cracking jokes above me, to choreographing the Greatest Sword Fight in Modern Times with Mandy Patinkin, to being part of the Kiss That Left All the Others Behind with Robin Wright.

In this book I've gathered many more behind-the-scenes stories and hopefully answers to many of the questions we've all received over the years from fans.  Additionally, Robin, Billy, Rob, and Mandy, as well as Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Fred Savage, Chris Sarandon, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, and William Goldman graciously share their own memories and stories from making this treasured film.

If you'd like to know a little bit more about the making of The Princess Bride as seen through the eyes of a young actor who got much more than he bargained for, along with the rest of this brilliant cast, then all I can say is . . . as you wish.


I had been eyeing off this memoir ever since I saw a book review by Jo ReadsBooks {WATCH HERE}.  I had no idea that this was even a thing, and since I've been watching the movie since the late 80's, this was a must have.  Then, way back in April, I found it!  Yes, I came across it by accident at Big W while visiting family on the coast.  I was searching for something else - and there it was.  Just sitting on a stand looking at me.  One lone copy of 80's fantasy perfection. Of course I had to buy it.  It was in hardcover!!!!   

Now before I even get into my thoughts on the book I just want to spend a minute gushing about the gorgeous cover art - and the surprise poster on the reverse side of the dust jacket (I wasn't expecting that and want to find a copy of it online so I can print it out as I don't want to damage the dust jacket).  And that cover photo of Cary as Wesley, in his Dread Pirate Roberts disguise, is so iconic... and yes, Wesley does look like a blonde Erroll Flynn.

However, once I started to read the book I found myself going back in time.  Ah, the 80's... scrunchies, bubble skirts, Molly Ringwald and school holidays.  This book brings back so many memories.  This was no more evident that when I came to the parts dealing with Andre the Giant as I can remember sitting on the floor beside my grandfather's chair, watching Andre wrestling on TV.  As I said, this book has a huge nostalgia thing happening.

I think because of the memories it evoked, I would have loved this book even if it had been badly written, but the behind the scenes memories, snippets from other cast members - and if I'm honest, I could 'hear' Cary's voice as I was reading this! - made As You Wish a real trip down memory lane and I loved it.

His writing style was easy going, and made the book a very fast read for me as I devoured it.  There are pictures, but not nearly as many behind the scenes shots as I'd like, and I was a little disappointed at the paper quality as I thought this would have been much nicer on a glossy paper.  However, those are my pet peeves, and the only reason that I didn't give this a 5 star rating.

So while not an autobiography by any means, this memoir is a must if you want to get a well written behind the scenes look of the filming of The Princess Bride - or you just love Cary Elwes.  If that is the case, then I'd urge you to run and grab a copy of this book (or download the audiobook).

Definitely one for the fans ;-D

Until next time,

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