Casting The Princess Bride


There are rumors going about that someone wants to remake The Princess Bride, and some people are going batshit, as if this is some grand heresy that should never be done. You know me, I’m fond of breaking sacred cows, so I’m going to go the other way — the movie should be remade, it must happen, to the point where I’m willing to help them with ideas. I have some casting suggestions that will make sure this is the very best Princess Bride it can be!

Buttercup: Paris Hilton.

Westley: Tommy Wiseau.

Inigo Montoya: Nicolas Cage.

Fezzik: Steven Seagal.

Vizzini: David Spade.

Prince Humperdinck: Kirk Cameron.

Count Rugen: Rob Schneider.

Miracle Max: Shane Gillis.

Valerie: Jenny McCarthy.

I’m torn on who should direct. Uwe Boll or George Lucas?

Anyway, I’m sure this movie, with the right talent, will be a glorious success. I wish the studio the best!

(See, when I get a good night’s sleep, I get all cheerful and optimistic and positive and all that crap.)

Comments

  1. HappyHead says

    The directory should be Michael Bay, so that they can re-focus the whole movie to be about the US military and explosions. (So many explosions!)
    They are, of course, going to have all of the actors perform their own stunts, right? Please?

  2. consciousness razor says

    For the grandfather and grandson combo, my vote’s going to Ian McShane and Peter Dinklage.

  3. PaulBC says

    Weird, about two days ago I was wondering if there would ever be a remake of The Princess Bride. This is not something I think about often. In fact, I don’t think I ever have before. (Context: I was thinking of a science fiction scenario set a few hundred years in the future and considered that a character would probably not make a Princess Bride reference unless the movie had been remade more recently–I do know there’s a book–and yes, I’m a nerd, why do you ask–and I’m not much of a writer, so it is vaporware anyway).

    No opinions on the merit of such a remake, but I will very boldly predict that the casting is going to switch some race and/or gender choices and there will be alt-right fan uproar. Can’t imagine why something like that would happen. Just a funny feeling I have.

    Hmm… maybe because it happens every damn time they try to remake a 20th century movie applying ordinary 21st century demographics and cultural standards.

  4. PaulBC says

    I read “Rob Schneider” as “Roy Scheider”–several times before realizing my mistake–and wondered if your dream team was limited to living actors. They could bring some of them back with CGI, right?

  5. voidhawk says

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get the appeal of The Princess Bride? I watched it recently to see what all the fuss was about and it just seemed like a quite poorly acted movie with a lacklustre plot and too many jokes that didn’t land.

  6. PaulBC says

    voidhawk@11

    I’d have to watch it again to see what I think. I don’t think the acting was poor. It was intentionally stylized. You also need to consider it in context. It came out over 30 years ago. I was in college (or starting a masters degree at the same place) and remember how well it was received, particularly in my nerdy subculture. I liked it (but not to the point of memorizing large chunks of the script like some–Ted Cruz, yikes!).

    If it looks worse now (and I’d have to verify) it is probably because there is simply a lot more entertainment that pushes the same buttons like wordplay and highly self-aware dialogue (I’d have to think harder to come up with this list). So it seemed refreshing and different from what was available at the time. That was the main thing going for it.

    I also think Hollywood acting standards today are at a historical peak–at least at a technical level. Other film elements such as plotting (especially) and dialogue have not improved. Judged by acting alone, I think a lot of older films can seem amateurish (but again, it may also be a different style of acting and less naturalistic).

    Another movie that many claim does not age well is Buckaroo Banzai. I had friends who loved it, and I found parts of it memorable. The last time I recommended it to someone younger than me (by about 10 years) was 1999 and they had a similar reaction to your reaction to the Princess Bride.

  7. PaulBC says

    One idea would be to use CGI of capybara or something of similarly plausible anatomy for “Rodents of Unusual Size”. Now that I think about it, it was the consideration of capybara that led me to musing about a remake of “The Princess Bride” the other night.

  8. hemidactylus says

    I know nothing about The Princess Bride but think John Schneider should star. He can sing and drive an iconic politically incorrect car around to placate alt-right haters. It should be a counter-espionage plot where Buttercup (Gina Carano) is a is very sensitive to subtle patterns and thinks John Schneider’s character (a former POW vet) is a Manchurian candidate type turned by Icelandic intelligence services. Inigo heads a CIA task force and recruits Buttercup who risks her life placing a tracking device in John Schneider’s character’s very offensive car after beating him up in a bar fight over misheard karaoke lyrics. She then later, much later (3 hour movie with intermission) falls for him and becomes a high placed double agent. For some reason Will Smith is brought into the movie to track Schneider’s character and they have a final showdown where cheesy late 80s rap battles 80s pop country in front of a karaoke machine.

  9. PaulBC says

    I would cast Zendaya as Buttercup, because she’d be great in the role (even if it is kind of too close to her role in Spiderman) and because I’m sure it would send the race-policing fans into a tizzy. “Buttercup” indeed sounds blonde, but is that actually in the backstory? And even if, just change it.

    Steven Seagal could be in it, but only if he gets to say “I also cook.”

  10. PaulBC says

    And can we also somehow fit the Highlander and the Kurgan into the new screenplay? You say I’m trolling now, but you’ll thank me when you see it pull my aging demographic back to the big screen. Red Lectroids are a stretch, but I’m willing to hear any reasonable proposal.

  11. kome says

    At some point, all nostalgia is going to be rebooted, remade, recast, reimagined, and reintroduced to the market as a cheap way to make money because it works (just enough of the time for them to keep doing it) and because it’s easier and safer than coming up with original content. It’s also, from a consumer standpoint, incredibly easy to ignore if you don’t want it. I wonder if the people complaining about this know that.

  12. says

    Here’s what Cary Elwes said (on twitter) about the idea of a remake:

    There is shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.

  13. F.O. says

    There was an Onion article something like “Area Teen Surprised to Learn That Movies in the Ninties Were not Remakes”.
    I mean, whatever, but all these remakes feel like cheap cash grabs, making movies taking the least possible risks.

  14. says

    Nicholas Cage has talent and if reigned in could make an excellent Inigo Montoya.

    That being said, I’d rather see someone not have to put on an accent. Antonio Banderas would be excellent.

    Sorry, we’re doing jokey recasts…

    ScarJo as Inigo Montoya.

    I have no problem with remakes as long as they’re done well. People act remakes in Hollywood are a new sign of the death of creativity, but The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart was the third version of the story they made in ten years.

  15. wonderpants says

    Equating George Lucas to Uwe Boll? He didn’t exactly cover himself with glory regarding the OT special editions and PT, but comparing him to a full on hack like Boll? that’s cold!

    As for a remake though they could always change it up a little. Call it the Prince Bride and have a gay couple as Buttercup and Westley (Or keep it as the Princess Bride and a lesbian couple).

  16. blf says

    A few weeks ago I was drinking whisk(e)y with a yacht caption and his engineer. The engineer reminded me very very much of Max Schreck in Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu, and I commented so. Both of them claimed to have no idea what I was talking about, so I pulled up an image of Count Orlok to show them but — blame the whiskies — inadvertently got Klaus Kinski from the 1979 Werner Herzog remake. The resemblance to the engineer was indeed present, but I was very very confused as that clearly wasn’t Max Schreck…

    Adding to the confusion, the next morning I thought it might have been Willem Dafoe playing Max Schreck playing Count Orlok in 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire

  17. Ridana says

    I liked Jamie Lee Curtis’s reaction on twitter:

    Oh really? Well, I married the six fingered man, obviously why we have stayed together for 35 years and there is only ONE The Princess Bride and it’s William Goldman and @robreiner’s. “Life is pain highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something!”

  18. PaulBC says

    Ridana@27 ahcuah@20

    The original cast can be proud of their film, and that’s great. But, seriously, what’s wrong with a remake? One idea would be to go back to William Goldman’s 1973 novel and re-adapt the whole concept studiously avoiding the 1987 film. I mean, remakes are often bad. Sometimes they’re good or better, or just present a very different perspective on the same story. There is no reason that a new Princess Bride movie could not be good. Nor would it invalidate the 1987 adaptation.

    I’m really sick of the entire category of “fans in an uproar…” I mean fans of anything in an uproar about anything. Like, uh… get a life? Putting out a new thing isn’t taking away the old thing (though it can distract attention from it). Let them try and do it. If it’s good, then we’ve gained something new. If it’s bad, we still have the original one.

  19. hemidactylus says

    Interesting that in my remake of The Princess Bride Willem Dafoe is a well seasoned CIA operative who helps Will Smith track down John Schneider to his evil lair and blow up his offending car (cue Michael Bay). They don’t realize Buttercup turned rogue and get ambushed by her and a team of mercenaries (including Jean Claude van Damme and Schneider’s damaged car which regenerates as a Decepticon). The CIA extracts Will Smith but Dafoe is missing. As the helicopter pulls away there is a tragic scene where Dafoe is seen in a clearing being shot at by Buttercup, the Decepticon, and van Damme. van Damme dispatches him with an over-choreographed twirly kick. More explosions ensue just because.

    Maybe I should watch The Princess Bride so I don’t depart too far from it with my attempt at the worst plot, worst ending (really 80s themed karaoke showdown?) and worst remake ever.

  20. robert79 says

    @23 “Sorry, we’re doing jokey recasts…”

    Samuel L. Jackson as Inigo Montoya…. “Hello motherfucker. My name is Inigo Montoya.You motherfucking killed my motherfucking father. Prepare to motherfucking die, motherfucker!”

    I see it working…

  21. PaulBC says

    How about instead of the narrative device of the grandfather and sick grandson, we have Ted Cruz (no longer senator) brought before a congressional hearing under subpoena (I’m tempted to say “full stop”) but here’s my opening:

    Questioner: Mr. Cruz, you have claimed to have memorized the entire script to The Princess Bride. Are you willing to confirm this under oath?
    Cruz: I am.
    Questioner: All right. Opening scene. Westley and Buttercup standing a few feet away from each other at the gate of the farm. Take it from here.

    [Cruz, played by Gilbert Gottfried, begins to reenact this scene doing voices for Westley and Buttercup…]

    Eventually we fade out from the hearing into the movie, but at critical moments return to Cruz re-enacting the entire film as a one-man-show under penalty of perjury.

    (OK, maybe not but it’d be an unusual twist.)

  22. says

    @28: “One idea would be to go back to William Goldman’s 1973 novel and re-adapt the whole concept studiously avoiding the 1987 film.”

    While it’s been a long time since I read the book, I recall there being surprisingly few differences between the book and the film. The grandfather/grandson thing was added to the film to give it an omniscient narrator. There were sharks instead of eels. Fezzik was Turkish instead of French. That sort of thing. Otherwise, the book is practically the screenplay.

    I don’t feel that strongly about it, but I don’t see the point of a remake. It’s going to be nearly impossible to improve on the original unless they somehow take it in a completely different direction.

  23. PaulBC says

    Area Man@32 I actually agree that a remake sounds fairly pointless on the face of it. It just bothers me for anyone to suggest it is some kind of sacrilege. If the 1987 movie follows the book closely, you could make one that is much less like the book.

    To take a movie that I feel in my gut does not need a remake, consider The Graduate. It’s saddled with a premise that is hard to remove from the 60s cultural backdrop: a young man sees the pointlessness of the material success his affluent parents and their friends embrace. But the affair with Mrs. Robinson and the (sort of) redemption arc with Elaine are transferrable. It is also based on a novel by Charles Webb, and as I recall it follows the novel pretty closely. (Actually, you could have Benjamin a millennial with GenX parents and it might work with some minor adjustments.)

    If someone wanted to try a remake, my view is: go for it. The first thing to get rid of would be the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, and that by itself would make it an entirely different film. You’d have to be a little crazy to try, but crazy is good. If I were betting, I’d say “critical and commercial flop” but it would be interesting to be proved wrong.

    I feel less strongly, but similarly about a remake of The Princess Bride.

  24. John Morales says

    I can understand remaking a shitty film, but that’s not how it works. Rather, the opposite.

  25. PaulBC says

    John Morales@35

    I think the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) was a great B-movie and irreplaceable Cold War historical marker. But the 1978 remake was also good, and had better acting and production values. There may have been others. The Fly and its remake are another pair like that, but I never liked either as much.

    It is true that most remakes are worse, but some are better. Sometimes they surpass the original. Often, they just create a watchable new movie from one that was influential, but is now dated and unlikely to work for a younger audience.

    One of my favorite old movies is the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. On the one hand, I don’t see how you could remake it. On the other hand, it’s kind of a shame but very few people are ever going to watch it now except as part of a class or a retrospective festival. What do you do about that?

  26. John Morales says

    PaulBC, wrong slant. Point being, it’s not failed movies or shitty ones which get remakes.

    (In music terms, those remakes are cover versions)

  27. hemidactylus says

    @36- PaulBC
    I caught the original once on TV but I think the remake of The Quiet American may have surpassed the original with Audie Murphy, which I at least recall reading distorted Graham Greene’s authorial intent. Yeah that’s about right…the bastards (or bastardization):

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quiet_American_(1958_film)

    “The film flips the novel on its head, turning a cautionary tale about foreign intervention into anticommunist advocacy of American power.”

    Kinda refutes Barthes authorial death thingy. The Michael Caine film helped me capture a feel for French Saigon prior to the Vietnam War. But I had read Greene’s book too. I read a Greene short story connected to Donnie Darko. That movie too should be left alone.

    They should have left The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds alone. Though television, Battlestar Galactica rebooted was a huge improvement. The Miami Vice movie was pretty good but not up to par with the show. Speaking of TV shows way too many reboots.

    One classic that should never get rebooted would be the masterpiece Old School. And we should stop stealing from Japanese ghost horror. Rings was like the third crime of humanity committed against one franchise alone. But Samara v Sadako. Who would win? Wonder if Sadako vs. Kayako was a better showdown film than Freddy v Jason.

  28. magistramarla says

    I’ve seen The Princess Bride many, many times. I had four young daughters in the house when the movie came out and it seemed for a while that they had it on an endless loop. My husband, my son, and one of the daughters especially loved it, because they are deeply into wordplay and snark. That film certainly appealed to their tastes. The hubby rented it last December to show it to a 10 year old grandson. He loved the wordplay and snark, too.
    I think that our entire family might enjoy seeing a remake, if it’s done well. Young actors who are more familiar to a younger crowd might introduce the film to more of the grandkids, and they might even be willing to sit through a showing of the original!
    Don’t judge me for being a hopeless romantic, but I’ve seen this happen with A Star is Born. I was young and romantic when the Streisand version came out in 1976, the year I was married, and I loved it. When the newest version came out, I learned that it was the third version of the film. My best friend and I watched the Judy Garland 1937 version, then the 1976 Streisand version, and then watched the new Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga version at the theater. Each version represented the culture and norms of the time while telling the same basic story.
    So, bring on a new Princess Bride!

  29. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@38

    Though television, Battlestar Galactica rebooted was a huge improvement.

    Yes. Though I did watch the original when it was new and I was about 13. Even then I didn’t think it was good, more like the only game in town.

  30. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC:

    I actually agree that a remake sounds fairly pointless on the face of it. It just bothers me for anyone to suggest it is some kind of sacrilege.

    You should understand what the suggestions are, or don’t bother yourself.
    Imagine the music world was flooded with bands doing covers (from several decades ago, perhaps).
    Now pay attention to what I just said. It’s not simply that there are such “remakes.” (I myself am an arranger, and it’s a fine thing to do. Doing it well is rewarding and very much like writing “original” stuff in all the ways that matter.)
    What would be problematic is if these things comprise such a large chunk of what is being produced … if we are flooded with them, as I said. But that’s not really what our contemporary music culture is like, with some notable exceptions like remixes in electronic music (a very small corner of the bigger picture, it hardly needs to be said).
    In contrast, there is an abundance of “remakes” and “reboots” and so forth among wide theatrical releases. (More obscure independent films, not so much, probably because they’re unable to afford the rights.) Every single year, maybe every month, our handful of big studios seem to decide that younger audiences must be too ignorant and/or entitled to watch some movie from years ago. (That is at least one version of the story. But there’s also tons of money to make, no matter what they think of their audiences, if anything. Still, they do probably think they’re a bunch of stupid punks who deserve what’s coming to them.)
    That kind of thought process seems very foreign to me. As an artist thinking to myself, it generally goes “no, no, no, no, no, no, no … okay, yes, I think I will write that.” Or a collaborating artist will ask me “hey, I want to do something like this .. would you write it?” and then I may do that.
    What’s not happening there is that some random person in a studio (a “producer” or a whole mob of them) just believes there’s money to be made, while everything having to do with the artistic practice is completely sidelined, until the deal is done, when somebody comes along after the fact to cobble together something that fits the bill (because if an artist doesn’t eventually show up to do the actual work, it’s simply not happening).
    What normally goes on, when capitalism isn’t fucking us over so badly, is that people just make the art they want to see, write the story they want to tell, the music they want to listen to, or whatever it may be. They clearly don’t do it for the big bucks, and of course you don’t have to tell me that it’s a “risky” business, especially so when lots of money is a stake. But we do those things anyway, not because they are easy but because they are hard, as JFK put it.
    One thing that bothers me is the absurd amount of excuse-making and apologizing for this system we’ve created, which isn’t allowing artists to do more of the original work that nearly all of them would rather be doing. What good is that and what’s the point? Why not find something fucking else to be a devil’s advocate about?

    One of my favorite old movies is the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. On the one hand, I don’t see how you could remake it. On the other hand, it’s kind of a shame but very few people are ever going to watch it now except as part of a class or a retrospective festival. What do you do about that?

    Nothing — that’s what I do about that. You can make them feel ashamed, if you’re into that sort of thing.
    But I’ll just go ahead and read old books, listen to old music, watch old movies … and newer ones too of course. The age really makes no difference. I’ll talk to people about things I like or dislike, but if somebody is missing out on something good (or if they’re just too stubborn/prejudiced/etc. to find out), it certainly wouldn’t be the first time, nor will it be the last. You may as well get them to start eating their vegetables.

  31. hemidactylus says

    @39- magistramarla
    I love snark and wordplay. Sounds suited to me.

    I hope someone caught my not too subtle bridge of Mandy Patinkin’s role in Homeland with some madcap mashup with Haywire and even a scene from Platoon. It rolled downhill fast, but that would be a fun movie in the sense of J-Men Forever.

  32. says

    magistramarla @39

    Don’t judge me for being a hopeless romantic, but I’ve seen this happen with A Star is Born. I was young and romantic when the Streisand version came out in 1976, the year I was married, and I loved it. When the newest version came out, I learned that it was the third version of the film.

    It was the fourth version. :) The very first was in 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Another reason I don’t think any film is untouchable if approached right.

  33. Ridana says

    28 @ PaulBC: I never said there was anything wrong with a remake. I don’t care if they do it or not. I agree with the sentiment that the original is still there, and is not impacted by the remake. I just liked Jamie’s comment, and her sly insinuation about her husband. :)

  34. hemidactylus says

    Without getting too Jungian, themes, plots, and characters are quite often rehashed over and over. I mean which is better, Clean Slate with Dana Carvey or Memento with Guy Pearce? Each has its merits. And the Nolans seem to go to the time distortion well quite often. And oddly Sameen Shaw from Person of Interest (creator Jonathan Nolan) seems really similar to Mallory Kane in Haywire. Now that would be a showdown. Shaw would benefit from Root.

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