As You Wish is part personal memoir and part film history. Cary Elwes takes his readers from the moment of his casting through his final scene, and his love for the film, cast, and crew is evident in every line.
The Princess Bride was the film that Hollywood thought would never be made. William Goldman’s beloved book, and later screenplay, were too difficult to capture; too hard to pigeonhole. When Rob Reiner finally got the go ahead, the casting had to be spot on. Starting with Elwes, he and his partner Andy Scheinman meticulously gathered the perfect cast and set about making a perfect movie. What is evident in As You Wish is that the camaraderie, the humor, and the sincerity seen on screen are a reflection of what was going on behind the cameras.
If you are expecting a scintillating tell-all book about scandalous goings on during the filming, you will be disappointed. However, if you, like me, have loved this movie for over 25 years, you will enjoy reading about the wonder Elwes experienced making it. From the R.O.U.S (I had no idea people were inside those costumes), to the swordfighting (the result of meticulous training over the course of two months by Patinkin and Elwes), to the larger than life character who was the real Andre the Giant, Elwes’ revelations made me fall in love with the movie all over again. Reminiscences from other cast members, Rob Reiner, and Andy Scheinman, are scattered throughout, supporting Elwes’ memories of his experience. The book is truly a positive, well-written, and very fluid read, and when I finished it I had a burning desire to see the movie again, this time as an adult, and with Elwes’ viewpoint still firmly in my mind.
Elwes, Cary with Joe Layden. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride. New York: Touchstone, 2014. 5 Stars