Quarantine without The Princess Bride ? Inconceivable!
That must be what filmmaker Jason Reitman thought when he came up with the idea back in March. Reitman partnered with Quibi and called up some famous friends to make the at-home recreation possible.
“The week that the stay-at-home order came through in California, I just woke up one of the first mornings, I think like most people did, feeling as though, All right, I need to be able to do something of value,” Reitman told Vanity Fair. “I just thought, Can we remake an entire movie at home? And I had seen that a fan-made Star Wars had been done. I just started reaching out to actors I knew, saying, ‘Is this something you’d want to do?’ And the response was kind of immediate and fast. It was like, ‘Oh—that sounds like fun.’”
So who’s in The Princess Bride fan-film?
It might be easier to ask who isn’t in it.
Each scene is performed by new actors, so each role has multiple castings. We’ve got Common as Westley and Tiffany Haddish as Buttercup. An early scene shows Josh Gad as the little boy reluctantly listening to the story. Hugh Jackman and David Oyelowo appear as Prince Humperdinck. Jack Black’s Dread Pirate Roberts dangles off a cliff to be rescued by Diego Luna’s Inigo Montoya. Jennifer Garner pulls double-duty, playing both Buttercup and the old crone who boos her in front of a crowd of peasants.
While most actors shot their parts separately due to quarantine, Reitman got real-life couples living together to shoot the film’s more romantic scenes. Sam Rockwell and Leslie Bibb, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Chris Pine and Annabelle Wallis, and Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are just a few of the celebrity couples appearing as Westley and Buttercup.
Some scenes still need to be filmed, but here’s everyone else who will definitely be making an appearance: J.K. Simmons, Pedro Pascal, Lucas Hedges, Jenna Ortega, Patton Oswalt, Keegan Michael Key, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Beanie Feldstein, Dave Bautista, Dennis Haysbert, Taika Waititi, David Spade, Jon Hamm, Stephen Merchant, Mackenzie Davis, Nicholas Braun, Robert Wuhl, Don Johnson, Ari Graynor, Thomas Lennon, Brandon Routh, Retta, Courtney Ford, Zoey Deutch, and Zazie Beetz.
What about the original Princess Bride cast and creators?
Reitman had to get approval from the original Princess Bride stakeholders to create the project. He shot a proof of concept performance with his daughter and sent it to producer Norman Lear, director Rob Reiner, composer Mark Knopfler, and the estate of William Goldman, who wrote the original novel.
Reiner appears as the grandfather reading the story in the scene opposite Josh Gad.
“I wouldn’t think this is the best way to introduce someone to the film,” Reiner joked. “If you already know the movie, that’s what makes it fun. The audience already knows every line. I had no reservations. I was like, ‘Nah, let’s do it!’”
Fred Savage, who played the boy in the original movie at 11 years old, reprises the role at age 43.
No word yet on if the original Westley, Cary Elwes, or the original Buttercup, Robin Wright, will appear. But we can hope!
Leaning into the absurd
Besides all the fun celebrity cameos, this fan-made version of The Princess Bride is sure to please viewers by leaning into the absurdness of the production.
Unlike a typical film, this quarantine production threw continuity out the window. Reitman said he didn’t communicate with the actors during their shoots – and they didn’t speak with each other either. The result is a comical hodge-podge of locations and perspectives.
Reitman encouraged actors to “think like kids,” creating their own costumes and props from objects around the house. The actors rose to the challenge, using stuffed animals and pets as background characters. (Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s corgi appears as a Rodent Of Unusual Size.) Lego figurines recreate stunts.
“Sam Rockwell and Leslie Bibb did a scene, they do Westley and Buttercup rolling down the hill. They just filled trash bags, put their clothes on them, and threw them down a stairway,” Reitman said.
How to watch The Princess Bride
The fan-film will air on Quibi daily, chapter by chapter, for two weeks beginning Monday, June 29.
All of the actors involved in the project contributed scenes for free. Quibi donated $1 million (approximately 100,000 meals) to World Central Kitchen in order to distribute the project.
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Source: Vanity Fair