Any true fan of the timeless 1987 classic The Princess Bride will tell you it’s a movie that could never be remade or replicated. I mean, how could any modern-day cast rival the artistic genius of Cary Elwes as the dreamy Westley, or Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, or Billy Crystal as Miracle Max?
So when I skimmed a headline recently about pop rock star Joe Jonas and his wife Sophie Turner starring in a remake of one of my beloved childhood favorites, my instinct was to cringe and chalk it up to another strange twist in the depressing plotline of 2020.
Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Boo!
(Isn’t that how we all feel about this year??)
But after doing a little more digging, I discovered there was much more to this “remake” than first meets the eye.
Apparently, while stuck in quarantine over the past few months, a slew of celebrity A-list actors have been collaborating in secret to shoot a whimsical homemade fan-film version of the classic . . . on their own phones, no less.
The inspiration for the riff/tribute came to Juno director, Jason Reitman, back in March.
“The week that the stay-at-home order came through in California, I just woke up one of the first mornings, I think like most people did, feeling as though, All right, I need to be able to do something of value,” Reitman told Vanity Fair. “I just thought, Can we remake an entire movie at home? And I had seen that a fan-made Star Wars had been done. I just started reaching out to actors I knew, saying, ‘Is this something you’d want to do?’ And the response was kind of immediate and fast. It was like, ‘Oh—that sounds like fun.’”
The star-studded cast includes couples Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, Common and Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, and Chris Pine and Annabelle Wallis, as well as Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Elijah Wood, Jon Hamm, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Jenna Ortega, Jack Black, David Oyelowo, Keegan-Michael Key, Patton Oswalt, Josh Gad, Andy Serkis, Diego Luna, Taika Waititi and Zazie Beetz, and even more.
The actors trade off roles throughout the movie, using at-home costumes and props including LEGOs, stuffed animals, and even their own pets to recreate the film.
In one scene, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner gender-swap their characters, with him wearing a gown and blonde wig as Princess Buttercup, and her wearing the mask as Westley’s disguised Man in Black as they struggle to escape the Fire Swamp. In a hilarious twist, their corgi plays the ROUS (Rodent of Unusual Size) with the help of a neck pillow.
And in a fun homage to the 1987 version, original director Rob Reiner will play “The Grandfather” and Fred Savage will reprise his role of “The Grandson”—33 years later.
Not only does the remake promise to provide some much-needed laughs, the project is also for a good cause.
Quibi, the streaming service that will air the project, donated $1 million to chef José Andrés’ charity World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to those who have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Needless to say, now that it’s clear that no one intends to actually try and replace the magic of the original, this purist has had a change of heart. In fact, I’m really looking forward to watching some of my favorite modern-day stars take on these classic roles with the addition of their own individual touches and flair.
In an unprecedented time of uncertainty and division, entertainment seems to be one of the few things that unite us, and I think fans young and old will enjoy this chance to escape reality for a bit and reminisce over a timeless classic.
It’s safe to say that every one of us who loved the original will be joining in to recite our favorite lines, so many of which ring true now more than ever.
Just take it from Westley and Buttercup:
“We’ll never survive.”
“Nonsense, you’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
Individual chapters of the homemade remake will be released by the streaming service Quibi every day for two weeks starting today, June 29.