The cast of “The Princess Bride” reunited over the weekend to host a table-read of the original script. The script read raised over $4.25 million dollars in support of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Over 100,000 people tuned into this unprecedented event.
Almost the entire original cast returned for this once in a lifetime event. Unfortunately, several members of the cast have passed away since the release, which, in turn, called for several special guests to fill in for them. Josh Gad stepped into the role of Fezzik, played by the late and great Andre the Giant. Other guest stars included: Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Idle, Shaun Ross, King Bach, Finn Wolfhard and Rob Reiner. The affair was moderated by Jason Reitman and Patton Oswalt hosted the preceding Q&A.
For the first time ever, the entire script finally saw the light of day; the original script was used with all the deleted scenes and dialogue that did not make it into the film. It was truly an experience like no other to see such an iconic film acted out with extended scenes.
Cary Elwes (Westley) and Robin Wright (Buttercup) once again shined as the star-crossed lovers. They were seamlessly able to step back into these timeless roles while still adding new aspects to their characters. Buttercup, for example, seemed to mature with a newfound confidence. Elwes also brought an original flare to his portrayal of Westley. This is especially true during the scene when Westley is asked why he wears a mask. As he delivered his response, “They’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future,” he donned a surgical mask.
In my opinion, Mandy Patinkin absolutely stole the show. He was somehow able to bring even more emotion to the role of Inigo Montoya. During the filming of the movie, his emotional portrayal was originally inspired by the loss of his father. In an interview, he said, “The reason I made this movie was coming to fruition, which I was going to get the cancer that killed my father. And in my mind, I feel that when I killed the six-fingered man, I killed the cancer that killed my father. And for a moment, he was alive.” This time around, he somehow managed to double the emotional range of Inigo Montoya. During the scene when Montoya kills the man who killed his father, I had full-body chills. As he said the iconic line, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” tears welled in his eyes. Patinkin’s character strikingly stands out as his emotional intensity and depth overpowers that of the other characters. Truly, Patinkin gave the performance of his life; as difficult as it is to surpass the original film, I believe he transcended to a new level entirely. I would also be remiss not to mention that he unsheathed the original sword from filming during this poignant scene.
Billy Crystal (Miracle Max) and Carol Kane (Valerie)’s hilarious scene rivaled that of the original. Crystal constructed a homemade background which looked similar to the setting of Miracle Max’s very humble hovel. He even put on the hat his character wore during that iconic scene in the film. Crystal and Kane’s animated, side-splitting reenactment of their scene had the rest of the cast desperately suppressing the urge to laugh.
Josh Gad’s portrayal of Fezzik was very endearing. You could see he was trying to honor the memory of Andre the Giant and his wonderful performance of Fezzik. Of course, his performance was not in the range of Andre the Giant’s, but he certainly did his best to fill the giant shoes Andre left behind, resulting in a brilliant tribute.
The Q&A that followed directly after was just as enjoyable as the script read itself. Fans gained privy to some of the lesser known fun facts of filming “The Princess Bride.” For example during the filming of the aforementioned Miracle Max scene, Mandy Patinkin got a bruised rib from trying to hold in his laughter at Crystal’s improvisations. Crystal and Kane improvised the entire scene. Filming that scene took three 10-hour days because everyone was having such a great time listening to their antics. Patinkin also told a hilarious anecdote about Crystal going to a restaurant in Miracle Max’s costume. Acting as Miracle Max, he asked the waitress if various foods were spicy and when she replied she did not know, he said, “You don’t know my colon.”
The Q&A ended on a high note thanks to the eloquent words of Mandy Patinkin. As they were discussing the late William Goldman, the author of “The Princess Bride,” Patinkin said, “He left [the film] for us to have for the rest of eternity. He left this as his wish for people to take care of each other and embrace each other.” The last words uttered in the film are “as you wish,” which, in the context of the film, means I love you. Those are the words the audience is left with as the story concludes; it’s a story of love. “The Princess Bride” has become a classic over the years and it’s not difficult to see why.