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As You Wish: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner’s fairy tale satire, The Princess Bride, shed a light on the zany supporting characters that don’t usually get a lot of attention in these kinds of stories. Adapted from the William Goldman novel of the same name by Goldman himself, The Princess Bride is one of the greatest family comedies ever made.

RELATED: 10 Most Memorable Quotes From The Princess Bride

It was Shrek before there was Shrek. With its self-aware storyline and framing narrative starring Peter Falk and Fred Savage, The Princess Bride is a movie like no other: an early example of a meta Hollywood movie. Here are 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Princess Bride.

10 Arnold Schwarzenegger Almost Played Fezzik

When author William Goldman was first mounting a film adaptation of his novel The Princess Bride in the ‘70s, his top choice for the role of Fezzik was always André the Giant. However, Goldman was struggling to get the famed wrestler to even read for the part. Meanwhile, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger was eager to play the character. Goldman considered casting him, but by the time the movie actually went into production over a decade later, Schwarzenegger had become one of the biggest movie stars in the world and The Princess Bride’s producers couldn’t afford him, so they got André the Giant for the part after all.

9 Writer William Goldman’s Daughters Came Up With The Title

William Goldman primarily wrote The Princess Bride for his daughters. A couple of little girls aren’t going to be interested in a movie like All the President’s Men or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, so writing a fairy tale was a chance for Goldman to share his craft with his kids. They even came up with the title. The author asked his daughters to help him come up with an idea for his next book. One of them suggested that he write a story about a princess, while the other suggested a story about a bride. Goldman put these concepts together to come up with the title The Princess Bride.

8 Billy Crystal Was So Hilarious That He Caused Nausea And Rib Injuries In The Cast And Crew

Billy Crystal only appears in a minor role in The Princess Bride, but he’s unforgettable in it. His albeit brief performance is hysterically funny. According to Mandy Patinkin, Crystal’s hilarious turn in the movie was the cause of his only on-set injury. He wasn’t injured during any of the fight scenes, but he did get a bruised rib from holding in his laughter during Crystal’s performance. Patinkin can be seen stifling laughter when he says, “This is noble, sir.” Rob Reiner, the director of the movie, said he had to leave the set during Crystal’s appearance, because he was laughing so hard that he felt physically ill.

7 Courteney Cox, Meg Ryan, And Uma Thurman Auditioned To Play Buttercup

Before Robin Wright was cast in the role of Buttercup in The Princess Bride – arguably the perfect choice for the part – such huge stars as Courteney Cox, Meg Ryan, and Uma Thurman auditioned to play the character. All three of these actresses were rejected by the studio, but they would all get their big breaks a couple of years after The Princess Bride hit theaters in 1987.

RELATED: 10 '80s Movies That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time

Ryan became a star in 1989 with the near-perfect romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally (also directed by The Princess Bride’s Rob Reiner), while Cox and Thurman made their names in 1994, with Friends and Pulp Fiction, respectively.

6 André The Giant Needed Back Support For His Lifting Scenes

In The Princess Bride, André the Giant’s character Fezzik is shown to have superhuman strength. But the wrestler-turned-actor himself couldn’t actually do any heavy lifting on the set. He had such terrible back problems that he couldn’t really pick up anything. So, he needed back support during any scene that shows off Fezzik’s might. In the scene in which Buttercup jumps from the window of the castle and lands in Fezzik’s arms, Robin Wright needed to be attached to wires, because André the Giant wasn’t able to hold her up himself. It’s amazing what can be done with movie magic.

5 Inigo Montoya Is Still Mandy Patinkin’s Favorite Role

Actor Mandy Patinkin has said that role of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride is still his favorite of all the characters he’s played. According to Patinkin, his most famous line from this movie (the phrase that Montoya plans to utter to his father’s killer before avenging him: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”) gets quoted to him every single day, by at least two or three random people on the street. The actor actually enjoys it. He likes the line, and he also likes the idea that he was in a movie that made such an impact on people.

4 François Truffaut Tried And Failed To Make The Movie

Before Rob Reiner would sign on to direct the ultimately successful film adaptation of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, a number of big-name filmmakers were attached to doomed versions. These directors included Norman Jewison, Robert Redford, Richard Lester, and even the great François Truffaut. Truffaut is best known for his French New Wave masterpieces such as Jules and Jim and The 400 Blows.

RELATED: Princess Bride: 5 Things That Are Timeless (And 5 Things That Haven't Aged Well)

Jewison helmed such classics as In the Heat of the Night and the original The Thomas Crown Affair. Lester directed the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night and some of the Superman sequels. And Redford, now retired, was primarily an actor, but he’s directed some cinematic gems, like The Horse Whisperer and A River Runs Through It.

3 Robin Wright Had To Agree To Another Year On Her Soap Opera To Do The Movie

When Robin Wright landed the role of Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, she was starring in a soap opera called Santa Barbara. She needed to take time off from her TV commitments to go and shoot the movie in the UK, so she was at the producers’ mercy. The producers of the soap would only allow Wright the time off that she needed if she would extent her contract for another year. This was a smart move on their part, because it meant that if the movie made her a star (which it did), they’d have at least a year to capitalize on her newfound stardom.

2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Was Offered The Role Of Fezzik

Before André the Giant signed on to play Fezzik, a few actors (including Liam Neeson, who was deemed too short by director Rob Reiner) and even a couple of football players auditioned for the role. At one point, the producers offered the role to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The basketball star had previously done comedic acting in Airplane!, in which he played himself as one of the titular plane’s co-pilots (a riff on NFL star Elroy Hirsch’s casting in Zero Hour!, the ludicrous disaster movie that Airplane! was spoofing), so he had experience in this field. Abdul-Jabbar was interested in playing Fezzik, but he had to turn it down, because shooting conflicted with his NBA schedule.

1 The Princess Bride Spent Years In Development Hell

William Goldman struggled to get a film adaptation of his book The Princess Bride made for more than a decade (around 12 years). It bounced around in development hell throughout this time, and The Princess Bride gained a reputation as an unfilmable novel. At least two studio heads lost their jobs just a few days after announcing their plans to adapt the book. When the studio that owned the book’s rights put up all of its optioned material for sale to clean house, Goldman decided to buy back the rights to his own work, so that any adaptation would be done right.

NEXT: Phone Home: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

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