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10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About “The Princess Bride”

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The Princess Bride – which starred Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant and Christopher Guest – was released in September 1987 ago to critical acclaim. Since it’s the film’s 30th anniversary, we’re looking all of the things that happened behind the scenes that most people don’t know about. Check out 10 things you didn’t know About The Princess Bride:

1. There Was a Lot of Ad-Libbing

Director Rob Reiner gave Billy Crystal license to just ad-lib during scenes. This created a lot of laughter on set. “We ad-libbed a lot of stuff: ‘Have fun to storm the castle.’ ‘Don’t go swimming for an hour — a good hour.’ There was a lot of really funny stuff that never made it into the movie: ‘Don’t bother me, sonny. I had a bad day – I found my nephew with a sheep.’ ‘True love is the greatest thing in the world — except for a good BM.’ I remember the only trouble with the scene was Cary trying not to laugh while he was lying on the slab because he’s supposed to be mostly dead but slightly alive,” Crystal told Entertainment Weekly.

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2. Wallace Shawn Was Second Choice for the Role of Vizzini.

Danny DeVito was the actor that director Rob Reiner wanted for the part of Vizzini, but he wasn’t available, so Wallace Shawn was cast. When Shawn found out that Reiner initially wanted DeVito, it really psyched him out and would interfere with his performance. “Unfortunately, my agent at that time believed that it would be helpful for me to know who they actually wanted, so he told me – it was Danny DeVito. Looking back on it, it didn’t help. Danny is inimitable. Each scene we did, I pictured how he would have done it, and I knew I could never possibly have done it the way he could have done it. It made it challenging,” Shawn told Entertainment Weekly.

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3. It Wasn’t a Box Office Success

The film was a disappointment at the box office. Although it didn’t completely flop, it didn’t take off either. In the years that followed, however, The Princess Bride managed to accumulate an audience via VHS and has since become a cult classic and is viewed as being eminently quotable. According to director Rob Reiner, one of the reasons that the film was only a modest success at the box office was because it was hard to categorize. “I think we had a real marketing problem with Princess Bride,” he told Hitflix. “It was hard to categorize, and I think the title also scared a lot of people. It sounds like a children’s fairytale or something.”

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4. The Role of Buttercup

Director Rob Reiner auditioned more than 500 young women for the part of Buttercup, including Courteney Cox, Uma Thurman, and Meg Ryan. As soon as Robin Wright walked into his office, however, he knew she was what he had been looking for. Wright wasn’t so sure though. “I kept on remembering my audition for ‘The Sure Thing,’” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I knew there were 500 other girls dying to play the part. I had heard that Rob wanted someone who looked like Julie Christie in ‘Doctor Zhivago.’ I didn’t quite think I fit the bill.” At that point, her biggest role so far had been in the soap opera, Santa Barbara.

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5. Andre the Giant Could Drink

Andre the Giant could drink copious amounts of booze and not get drunk. He once drank three bottles of cognac and 12 bottles of wine and only felt a little tipsy. His favorite drink was called “The American.” It consisted of a 40-ounce beer pitcher filled with a mix of liquors, and on set, he would keep a flask of cognac in his costume.

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