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Shop  >>  Books  >>  Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Goldman,William/ Manomivibul,Michael (ILT)

The Princess Bride

Goldman William Manomivibul Michael (ilt) The Princess Bride Ill Rep
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Excerpt from book:

Introduction to the
30th Anniversary Edition
by
WILLIAM GOLDMAN
 
Until a couple of weeks ago, this introduction would have been real short: “Why are you buying this book?” is what I would have said. Or more accurately, this edition of this book?
   Buy the 25th anniversary version, I would have told you. It’s got a long intro by yours truly where I explain a lot about the Morgenstern estate and the horrible legal problems I’ve had with them. That version is still out there and what you are interested in is the same thing that I am interested in—namely, at last, getting Buttercup’s Baby published.
   I would also have gone on to tell you that there is nothing to report on that front. Same old same old. Well, that was then, as they say.
   Something new has very much happened.
 
Let me tell you how I first heard of the existence of the Morgenstern Museum.
   Back we go to 1986, Sheffield, England, and we are shooting the movie of The Princess Bride. It was such a happy time for me, at last Morgenstern coming to life on film. I had written the screenplay for it first over a decade before—but it had never been “picked up,” as they say Out There, till then.
   I ordinarily do not not not like being on movie sets. I once wrote that the best day of your life is your first day on a set and the worst days are all the ones that follow. They are tedious and horrible for several reasons: (1) they are tedious and horrible (but you won’t believe that, I know), and (2) if you are the writer, essentially, your work is done.
   I make the actors nervous, but more than that, and if I have written this before, skip this part, I have an amazing ability to screw up shots. I hide on the sets out of the way when the camera rolls, but I cannot tell you how often the director, just as he is about to start, sees where I am and asks me to please move, because I am standing in the exact spot where the shot will end.
   A few days before the day I am about to tell you about, we were shooting the Fire Swamp. And there is a moment in the movie where Cary Elwes (Westley) starts to lead Robin Wright (Buttercup) through it.
   Now I know what is going to happen—there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire. Why am I so smart? Because Morgenstern wrote it, I adapted it for the novel, and used it in every draft of the screenplay, of which, believe me, there were many.
   OK, I am standing there on the set of the Fire Swamp and Rob Reiner goes “action, Cary” and here they come into view, those two wonderful actors, and I am watching from a corner of the set, and he leads her forward, one step, another step—
   —at which point there is a flame spurt and her dress catches on fire.
   At which point (so humiliating) I start to shout, “Her dress is on fire, her dress is on fire,” totally destroying the shot.
   Rob yells “Cut,” turns to me and in a voice I can still hear, he says with all the patience he can muster, “Bill, it’s supposed to catch on fire.”
   I think I came up with something real smart like “I knew that, sorry” and hid.
   OK, now you can start reading again.
   The next night we were shooting outside, the attack on the castle, and it was cold. Bitter, British cold. The whole crew is bundled up, but the wind cut in on us anyway. I remember it was as cold as any time I ever had on a movie set. Everyone was freezing.
   Except Andre.
   I have no
Introduction to The 30th Anniversary Edition vii
Introduction to The 25th Anniversary Edition xxix
The Princess Bride 1
Buttercup’s Baby: An Explanation 365
Buttercup’s Baby, Chapter One: Fezzik Dies 391

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