When “The Princess Bride” opened 30 years ago today, it wasn’t exactly a hit with audiences. During the 11 weeks it played in theaters, the film earned $25.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and ranked 41st in domestic grosses that year.
However, Cary Elwes, who starred as Westley in the fantasy film, told ABC News that he was delighted when audiences rediscovered and embraced the movie after it was released on video.
“I’m very proud of it,” he said. “It gave me the career and life I have, so I’m very grateful for it.”
In celebration of the movie’s anniversary, Elwes reflected on making the film and shared personal stories of his time on the set. Though many of his memories were recounted in his 2014 book, “As You Wish,” here are a few thoughts that even the biggest “Princess Bride” fans might not know:
1. He was a fan of the book as a teenager: Elwes’ stepfather gave him a copy of “The Princess Bride” when he was 13, and he was instantly hooked. Author William Goldman’s sense of humor captivated him, and of course, he said he was “enamored” with Westley. Still, he added, “I couldn’t have imagined myself playing him!”
2. The audition process was pretty informal: Elwes was shooting the film “Maschenka” in Berlin when his agent called to tell him director Rob Reiner and his producing partner wanted to come to Germany to interview him. The audition happened in Elwes’ hotel room, and though he didn’t think he needed to prepare anything, Elwes ended up reading Westley’s monologue from the fire swamp for Reiner. “I didn’t think I was going to get it at all, frankly, because I was an unknown actor at the time and it’s not often that they hire unknown actors to be the leads of films in Hollywood. It’s very rare,” he said. “A week later I got the call and that was that! I was beyond excited.”
3. Robin Wright wasn’t cast until the eleventh hour: Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest had already signed on by the time Elwes was cast, but Reiner had yet to find his perfect Princess Buttercup. With just a week to go before filming, a very nervous Reiner, who had been auditioning English actresses, agreed to look at Wright’s audition tape at the behest of casting director Jane Jenkins. She joined the cast almost immediately thereafter. “She’s just fun to be around! She’s one of the guys,” Elwes said of Wright. “Very down to earth.”
4. The cast and crew were very comfortable together: During the shoot, which Elwes said lasted for about a…