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Audiobook Review – As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride [Unabridged]

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This walkthrough of the making of the film by Cary Elwes is truly remarkable and engaging that I never found any dull moment in it. It's not just about the way it was read but also the way it was written. Cary Elwes is just amazing.


As You Wish Audiobook Review

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

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.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

The full list of narrators includes: Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Chris Sarandon, Andy Scheinman, Wallace Shawn, Robin Wright, and Billy Crystal.

©2014 Cary Elwes. All rights reserved.; (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Review
This is my first audiobook and it's really an awesome experience.

When Cary Elwes read, “Chapter One,” once again I'm hearing the voice of the Barron from Walt Disney's English-dub version of Studio Ghibli's animations Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns. His voice is just beautiful getting old.

When I watched The Princess Bride, I couldn't hear Cary's English accent nor could I find his voice manly. Well, he was just so young back then (aged 23 according to this book) that his voice sounded high-pitched. So in this audiobook, it's easy to hear his English accent and his baritone will put you in awe.

Also featured in this audiobook are the voices of director and producer Rob Reiner (for the preface and various parts in the entire book), executive producer Norman Lear, The Princess Bride book author and screenplay writer William “Bill” Goldman, producer Andrew “Andy” Scheinman (epilogue), Miracle Max Billy Crystal, Inigo Montoya Mandy Patinkin, Count Rugen Christopher Guest, Prince Humperdinck Chris Sarandon, the Grandson Fred Savage, Vizzini Wallace Shawn, Valerie Carol Kane and the Princess Bride herself, Robin Wright.

This audiobook is the audio version of the book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride [Unabridged], written by Cary Elwes (Westley) himself and in turn, read by him. He talked of their 25th anniversary reunion, how they were met by the crowd and how The Princess Bride film not only helped each of them in their careers but also became part of the lives of the fans and how it gained its place in the Pop Culture and became a cult classic.

There are so many things to learn in this audiobook about the making of the film which includes the manuscript's struggle at the hands of various Hollywood executives. As how it was put, it was a not-to-be touched material. The story of The Princess Bride falls under lots of genre and putting it in the big screen is a major risk for producers. Its rights was initially bought by 20th Century Fox and handed to various people down the road before Rob Reiner took it. Thanks God for good old Rob. The Princess Bride is the first film were Rob Reiner gained fame in putting beautiful albeit fresh actors in his films. It's greatly thanks to this that the film Flipped (2009) turned out the way it was.

Cary Elwes' impressions of people he dealt with are just fun if not funny. I especially liked how he'd voice-impersonated Rob Reiner's singsongy way of talking, most especially when he'd sung, “Ca~ry~”. In fact, it was because of Cary's humor that made him land the role of Westley. Well, first it was because of his beauty that made Rob Reiner fly to Berlin to meet him but Reiner was also known for ditching his first choice of actors when after meeting them, he'd thought they're just terrible.

Cary, born and raised in England had a taping project in Berlin for which at that time, a major disaster at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl occurred. Who would like to risk radioactive contamination in Europe? As it turned out, Reiner and Scheinman were visiting actors on location to push for the production of The Princess Bride. One of these actors is Andre the Giant (Fezzik) whom I now come to know as the most lovable actor in the set. Though huge both in stature and width, he's one of the gentlest people and most caring. When the whole crew was suffering from a regurgitating meal (a particular Indian food served by a catering service for 4 consecutive days), a connoisseur of taste, he surprised them with his own French service. When talking to someone, he'd finish his sentence with the word, Boss just to not put people off with his gigantic physique.

Cary Elwes had also contributed some awesome changes in the script which reflect in the film. Reiner was that great of a director that he let his actors exercise their creative rights. So here are just some of them: (1) Westley diving in the quicksand to rescue Buttercup instead of setting aside his things first before jumping down with his feet, (2) making Westley as funny as he could get after gulping down the miracle pill which included Andre the Giant's manuevering of his head, (3) how his swordfight with Inigo lengthened which included front flips for both characters (supplied by a stuntman), tossing of his sword just so he could out-flip Inigo, Inigo tumbling over his head, and flying of Inigo's sword.

Mishaps also happened due to Cary's foolishness like when he suggested to Count Rugen actor, Christopher Guest, to actually hit him with the butt of his sword. That part after coming out of the Fire Swamp and he fainted? That wasn't acting, that was real, where he passed out, woke up to a hospital, his head being stitched by the same doctor who attended to him to a previous mishap when he broke his big toe. That big toe story is kind of long and the most funny part of the book, you got to read it or listen to this audiobook.

Other noteworthy parts is that of Billy Crystal. He's so funny that Rob Reiner himself had to leave the set because his boisterous laughter had ruined early takes. He'd made funny ad libs that the only time Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) injured himself was when he broke a rib trying to hold his laughter in while the film's rolling. That famous MLT (mutton, lemon, and tomato) sandwich line when he was comparing it to true love? That was made on the spot! A line that never made it to the final cut of the film was when he was explaining his sour mood,

Don't rush me sonny, I had it difficult night last night. I found my nephew with a sheep.”

Carol Kane (Valerie) also has her share of funny ad lib. When Inigo uttered, “That's it?” upon seeing the miracle pill as some huge clump of chocolate, she said, “That's to make it go down easier. But! He shouldn't go swimming for at least what?” For which Billy Crystal replied with his own ad lib, “An–an hour. A good hour.”

There's just one thing that I find off-putting in this audiobook, there's too much appreciation with Robin Wright. Mentioning just how amazing or beautiful she is all over the audiobook is just too excessive. I understand on the accounts of various actors but Cary glazing it all over his book is way regurgitating already.



There are lots of things to learn from this audiobook. It reflects Cary Elwes' sense of humor, it's just fun! It is worth one's while not only for the huge fans but also to those new to the classic cult of The Princess Bride film (like myself). Just by listening, it feels as if you're part of the shooting. Cary Elwes and some actors' recollections are just so vivid that I could say that not only did they enjoy the whole experience of filming but that no matter how short the time they'd spent together, they became real friends, and that they're truly living their lives to have been part of something considerably big in the film industry like The Princess Bride.

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