It took the comedic genius of Mel Brooks for Cary Elwes to pick up a sword following 1987’s The Princess Bride.
One can only imagine how many times a week someone shouts “As you wish!” at Cary Elwes. The role of Westley from The Princess Bride is easily the signature role of Cary Elwes. But he spent years avoiding any movie featuring a sword and/or a pirate, partly because of the restrictions it put on him as an actor.
“I try to look for roles that push me as an artist,” Elwes told The Independent. “Certainly after The Princess Bride I was offered a ton of medieval comedies. I can’t tell you how many scripts I got where I had to pick up a sword or was a pirate. I turned them all down.” Well, almost all of them. “The only one I was willing to accept was Robin Hood,” he said, citing 1993’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mel Brooks’ parody of the legendary character.
Despite the hesitance, Cary Elwes did take part in Home Movie: The Princess Bride, a pandemic-era miniseries recreation helmed by Jason Reitman, in which participants shot their lines on their phones while in isolation. Interestingly, he took on the role of Prince Humperdink (originally played by Chris Sarandon), leaving Westley aka Dread Pirate Roberts aka The Man in Black for the likes of Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Pine, Paul Rudd, Sam Rockwell, and more. That same year, however, he did reprise Westley for a virtual reading of the script.
Over the years, Cary Elwes has been adamant that a true remake of The Princess Bride should never happen, saying, “My theory is, look, if the movie is popular and it’s done well, and people love it, I think it’s pretty much best left alone. If a film has landed in the hearts of the public, then, to me, it is not a good idea to try and revisit it.” As you wish, Cary.
After The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes did try to take on roles that were a bit meatier, as in Glory, The Crush, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and more. In 2004, Elwes had a minor career resurgence after starring in Saw.
What are your thoughts on Cary Elwes’ career following The Princess Bride? What is your favorite scene or quote from the movie? Let us know in the comments section below!