NOTE: This event has been postponed. Check thetheatreatwestbury.com for an update on the rescheduled date.
It's almost impossible to resist a bedtime story that combines action, adventure, humor and romance. This is the recipe that makes up "The Princess Bride," the classic film from director Rob Reiner. And to think he pulled it off without any superhero special effects or CGI dinosaurs.
On Sunday, July 12, fans of the 1987 movie will gather at NYCB Theatre at Westbury for a screening, followed by a Q&A with Cary Elwes, who stars as Westley, a man out to save and wed Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright), answering her commands with the simple phrase "As you wish."
"It's a family movie that was made with a lot of heart," says Elwes, 52. "It gets passed on from one generation to the next. I call it the gift that keeps on giving."
Throughout the show, Elwes takes fans behind the scenes on the making of the film, the concept for which had been kicking around Hollywood for years until Reiner pushed to get it made.
"They knew it would be a tough film to market because it was such a mesh of genres," Elwes says. "That's what happened to the film when it came out, therefore it didn't perform that well. It was heartbreaking."
The film initially grossed $30 million at the box office, but once released on video, its popularity started to build.
"I was at a restaurant in New York ordering a hamburger. The waitress said, 'How do you want that cooked?' I said, 'Medium-rare.' She said, 'As you wish!' I responded, 'What?' She winked and said, 'You know,' " Elwes says. "I had this succession of people saying those three words to me."
Elwes, who wrote a bestselling book on his moviemaking experience called "As You Wish," will talk to the crowd about the lighthearted shoot.
"Rob set the tone. I can barely remember a day without laughter," he says. "When people ask me if it was as much fun as it looked, I say, 'Actually, it was more fun!' "
BIG GUY, BIG HEART
The most often asked question Elwes gets is: "What was it like working with the late pro wrestler Andre the Giant?," who played the simple-minded Fezzik. "André was truly a beautiful guy. I was in awe of him," Elwes says. "He was a gentle giant who would give you the shirt off his back, which would be enough for five people. The man had a permanent smile on his face all day long."
Elwes and Mandy Patinkin, who portrays master swordsman Inigo Montoya, did all their own fencing and stunts, training five hours a day.
"Rob didn't want any stunt doubles or stand-ins," Elwes says. "He put us to work with the best trainers, Bob Anderson and Peter Diamond, who choreographed the light-saber battles from the first three 'Star Wars' films."
At "The Princess Bride's" 25th anniversary screening, Elwes watched it with author and screenwriter William Goldman by his side.
"The audience was saying all the lines to the screen as it was happening," he says. "Bill couldn't believe what was going on. The man was genuinely stunned."
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 12, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
INFO $39.50; 800-745-3000, livenation.com
Fans of "The Princess Bride" are known to be a dedicated bunch who constantly quote the film and watch it whenever it comes on TV.
"I thought Cary Elwes was the man. He was just awesome," says Jared Ratliff, 32, of Huntington. "Anybody can relate to the characters in the movie -- somebody seeking revenge, love or just finding their way. It has something for everybody."
When Tracie Norris, 37, of Deer Park first watched the film, she immediately headed to her computer.
"I loved it so much, I went online, printed out the script and read every line of the movie," she says.
The quirky humor is what drew in Alex Sklavos, 44, of Locust Valley, who discovered the film in college.
"I'd watch it late night with my fraternity brothers, then we'd quote it to each other," he says. "Now it's a movie I laugh at with my children. It's a mandatory watch whenever it comes on."