October 7, 2014

CARY ON LAUGHING:

Cary Elwes' book recounts the wacky antics of Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner and others behind 'The Princess Bride' (GERSH KUNTZMAN, 10/06/14,  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Remember that scene in "The Princess Bride" when the "mostly dead" hero Westley is trying to be revived by a joke-telling wizard played by Billy Crystal?

It's not Cary Elwes lying there. It's a plastic dummy.

The prosthetic quasi-corpse was necessary because Crystal kept cracking everyone up -- including Elwes, whose character is supposed to be completely motionless.

"Billy was doing medieval standup comedy," says Elwes, sharing a story from "As You Wish," his new memoir of the making of the 1987 classic film. "Some of it got blue. I was laughing so hard, I was banished from the set."

So they replaced Elwes with a rubber dummy. Co-star Mandy Patinkin, who plays Inigo Montoya, was less lucky.

"Rob (Reiner, the director) had told Billy to just ad-lib, and he was hilarious. Mandy bruised a rib."

Some of Crystal's lines can't be reprinted here -- especially the one about his nephew and the sheep -- but they're in Elwes' delightful remembrance of the three months he spent making the unsung movie that went on to become a family classic. [...]

On working with Wallace Shawn, who played Vizzini, the Sicilian trying to start a war.

"Wally was afraid of heights, but he didn't tell anyone because he was convinced the producers wanted Danny DeVito instead of him -- though that was inconceivable, given how great Wally was," Elwes says. "They used a dummy in the long shots of Andre pulling everyone up the Cliffs of Insanity, but even for the closeups, Wally had to be pulled up a 30-foot wall. He was terrified. Andre offered him a sip from his omnipresent hip flask, but Wally declined. He said he didn't want to be drunk and petrified. But that's when Andre said in that deep voice, 'Don't worry, Wally, I got you.' That's what got him through it."

Posted by at October 7, 2014 5:34 PM
  

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