The Princess Bride (1987)

Plot: Buttercup (Robin Wright) is kidnapped and held against her will in order to marry the odious Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), and Westley (Cary Elwes), her childhood beau, now returned as the Dread Pirate Roberts, attempts to save her.

Director: Rob Reiner

Writing Credits: William Goldman (screenplay & book)

Cast: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Fred Savage, Peter Falk, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Carol Kane and Billy Crystal.

Music by: Mark Knopfler

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy.

Budget: $16,000,000

Filming Locations: United Kingdom and Ireland.

Filming Dates: 18 August 1986 – December 1986

USA Release Date: 25 September 1987 (limited, 9 theaters)

USA Widest Release: 803 theaters.

Box Office USA: $30,9 million

MPAA rating: PG (parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children).

Runtime: 98 minutes

Some people think ‘The Princess Bride’ is the debut of Robin Wright in cinema, but that’s not true because, a year earlier, she made her first feature film called ‘Hollywood Vice Squad’ where she had a supporting role as a runaway teenage girl, who gets caught in the world of drugs and prostitution.

Wright’s billing in ‘The Princess Bride’ is “Introducing Robin Wright”, the same that was used a year before in ‘Hollywood Vice Squad’.

Robin Wright as Buttercup

In 1986, director Rob Reiner was looking for someone “beautiful, vulnerable, regal and young” to play Princess Buttercup in his long-planned movie version of ‘The Princess Bride’. He auditioned more than 500 young women. Courteney Cox and Meg Ryan were among them. Uma Thurman also auditioned for Buttercup, but the producers thought she was too exotic looking for the part.

Rob Reiner said that “the moment Robin walked into my office, I knew she was my Buttercup. We need a new Julie Christie. We all had our image of what Buttercup should look like and Robin was perfect.”

Almost 30 years later, in September 2015, Rob Reiner talked about Robin as Buttercup. He said: “I couldn’t find anybody. First of all, Buttercup is described as the most beautiful girl in all the land. I needed a young girl because I had already cast Cary who was 21 at the time. Robin was only 19 or 20. I needed to find a young girl that could do the British accent. She did a perfect British accent because her father is British, so that was in her ear. She was the only one that I could find.”

But, before her audition in 1986, Robin Wright didn’t think she had a chance. “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”.

In 1986, Robin Wright was also offered the leading role in ‘Dirty Dancing’ but she had to turn it down because the filming was at the same time that Rob Reiner’s movie.

In fact, ‘The Princess Bride’ required a 4 month shooting schedule on location throughout England and Ireland. And the time of filming the movie, Robin Wright was playing Kelly Capwell, one of the heroines of soap opera ‘Santa Barbara’. In exchange for allowing her time off to film the movie, they required her to extend her contract by almost a year. Robin wanted to leave the soap in July 1987, but then she was chained until June 1988.

“That wasn’t a fair trade,” Robin said, “but it was worth it. My agents and managers decided that I should agree to anything, to work Saturdays, to kiss their butts for the next nine months, whatever it took to get out and do the film.”

Years later, in 1992, Robin also talked about this. She explained: “I had a clause in my two-year TV contract that let me out for four weeks once a year to do films. But no film gets shot in four weeks and I did three movies, so every extra week extended approximately a month or two onto my contract. I could have walked, but I would have had to have paid [in legal fees] three times the amount I made on that show in the whole two years.”

In December 2015, Cary Elwes also addressed this subject: “I consider Robin a very dear friend. Everyone knows what an extraordinary talent she is, so we were lucky to get her on the film. She was doing ‘Santa Barbara’ at the time, and they wouldn’t let her out of the contract so Norman Lear, our producer, and Rob Reiner worked very hard to get them to release her.”

Robin Wright earned a nomination as Best Actress from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA.

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