Monday, July 15, 2024

Casting the Brie Larson Princess Bride Reboot We All Need

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Brie Larson is so hot right now. Coming off of the mondo success of Captain Marvel, and with her directorial debut Unicorn Store already the talk of the Internet in anticipation of its April 5th Netflix release, everywhere you turn LarsonMania is running wild. But among all the interviews, premieres, inducements of gay panic, and loser nerd dunks, one particular interview with The Hollywood Reporter really stuck out to us. In it, she mentions that The Princess Bride, Rob Reiner’s classic 1987 romantic comedy fantasy adventure movie (per Wikipedia’s definition), is one of her favorite movies. Not only that, but she apparently knows every word of it, even giving her favorite line as Westley’s repeated catchphrase/declaration of love:

That fact alone sent the internet into a tizzy as people began to hope, beg, and pray for a remake of the film starring Larson in the role of Wesley. But beyond the idea that she should be the star, most fans haven’t thought about the rest of the cast for this theoretical movie. Not to worry, however! As hard as it was to replace the iconic original cast, Kori and I put together what we believe to be the perfect cast list for the Brie Larson-led The Princess Bride remake that we all need in these trying times. And no, this is not ripped off of a popular Tumblr or reddit post. This is 100% original. We have some integrity.

Brie Larson As Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts (Originated by Cary Elwes)

From cute heartthrob…
…to mysterious badass

The comparison that started this entire thing. Larson taking on the role of adventure hero seems very much natural, and she’s proven as Carol Danvers that she can handle the mix of bravado, earnestness, and roguish charm that is needed to capture the character of our hero. Not only that, she could do the sword fights like a champ (have you seen her workout videos?). Her ability to switch from scary badass to lovable nerd also serves a character who has to be both smitten farm(girl) and daring pirate captain. Of course, Brie Larson is not Cary Elwes, and we imagine her Westley would perhaps be a little more of a goofball than in the original, a little more fun as she does her daring do (LBR, falling down a hill and saying “aaaaaas youuuu wiiiiiish” seems very on brand for Larson).  She’s not any less of a capable hero, far from it, but she might cause a little more exasperation for Buttercup as she does her best to save her from the Prince.

Gemma Chan as Princess Buttercup (Originated by Robin Wright)

Yes, we’re gonna be recasting some of these characters with actors of color. Deal with it losers.

Buttercup was one of the harder castings because there were a ton of actresses who would do a great turn as the film’s titular heroine. However, we narrowed it down to Larson’s co-star in Captain Marvel, Gemma Chan, who was fantastic as Minn-Erva and has experience in both high concept films and period pieces like Humans and Mary Queen of Scots. The new Buttercup would probably be a little less lovesick than Robin Wright’s, viewing Westley as more of a lovable idiot she has to keep track of and less of a hero. She’ll still believe in her love because Westley is an accomplished hero and certified badass, but she might find her jokes and foolhardy antics a little tiresome when they’re trying to escape. Rather than saying “Oh my dear sweet Westley,” this Buttercup would be more likely to realize that the idiot who just yeeted herself down the hill was her idiot. And then she’d yeet herself down said hill after her nevertheless. A little more headstrong and active in the modern day, hewing closer to the way Golding wrote Buttercup in the original novel, we also really, really think Buttercup deserves at least one swordfight during the movie. She doesn’t have to win, but for god’s sake give her a sword!

Pedro Pascal as Inigo Montoya (Originated by Mandy Patinkin)

In this version, however, we can’t possibly match the original’s glorious hair job.

Since his turn as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, it’s been kind of a given that he’d be perfect for this role. Handsome, smooth, and good with a blade, Pascal could play Inigo with all the charm that Patinkin did. It helps that he actually looks as good as Mandy does with a moustache. And he certainly has experience as a vengeance seeker, helped by the fact that his iconic taunt while the “Elia Martell. You raped her. You killed her children,” feels like a direct reference to Inigo’s famous mantra of “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” Swap the spear for a rapier and the leather jerkin for a flowing shirt and vest, and you’ve got yourself a perfect Inigo.

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Fezzik (Originated by the late Andre the Giant)

The initial impulse here was to look to the WWE for someone who could even come close to filling the unfillable boots of Andre the Giant. Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and The Big Show (who at one point was billed as the Son of Andre), were considered, but after we decided on Pedro as Inigo we thought that it would be perfect if his enemy The Mountain came in to play Vizzini’s giant. (Look Jan, we like role subversion sometimes, okay?) Not only is Hafþór a massive human being like Andre (6’9, 400 lbs), he also backs that up with an inhuman amount of strength like Andre, being named Worlds Strongest Man in 2018. But also like Andre, Hafþór is a total sweetheart under all the bulk. From his famous love for his Pomeranian Asterix, who’s Instagram he runs personally, to his sunny disposition on display in nearly every behind the scenes photo you’ll find of him, Hafþór is perfect for the role of a gentle giant.

Tom Hiddleston as Vizzini (Originated by Wallace Shawn)

Vizzini has to have that smile that says “absolutely don’t trust me”

This is maybe one of our more controversial picks, but hear us out. So, yes, Tom Hiddleston and Wallace Shawn are very different actors. But out of all the original cast, can you really see anyone replacing Wallace without seeming like a poor imitation. Rather than make anyone stand in his shadow, a different take on Vizzini might be warranted. Rather than the smarmy troll that Shawn played to perfection, we envision Hiddleston’s mastermind as someone a little more superficially put together. Again pulling from the book, where Vizzini is a little more threatening than he is in the movie, this Vizzini would have the facade of a criminal mastermind and we’d see it slowly break down as his self-declared genius is outwitted over and over by Westley. We know that Hiddleston can be both smooth and manic just from his time as Loki, and he has impeccable comedic timing that would be put to good use. The “shrieking eels” speech would take on a lot more menace when spoken softly by Hiddleston,  and in any case, the image of Tom doing the “manic laughter, fall over dead” scene is too good to not happen.

Oscar Isaac as Prince Humperdinck (Originated by Chris Sarandon)

We actually thought of this before we saw the pics of Isaac from Robin Hood, but they just sealed the deal.

The character of Prince Humperdinck has to be just threatening enough to be an obstacle worth overcoming while also being silly enough that he doesn’t seem like anything more than the pompous ass that he really is. Nobody could strike this balance in our minds quite like Oscar Isaac, who has been adept as heroes, villains, and, yes, evil princes with ostentatious crowns. Perhaps playing him a little more suave than Sarandon, the switching between classy villain and useless fop would play right into his strengths. And really, could you blame someone for initially saying yes if Oscar Isaac wanted to marry you?

Michael Shannon as Count Tyrone Rugen (Originated by Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest)

Like Humperdinck, Count Rugen has to have a mix of menace and comedy to him. He does have to seem like a real threat compared to his employer, especially when it comes to things like the Pit of Despair and his torture studies. Michael Shannon is one of the best villains working today, being extremely hateable in The Shape of Water and Man of Steel, but he also has legendary comedy chops that don’t get recognized as much as they should. A great character actor like Guest, he’d be exactly as menacing as needed by the character of Rugen while being able to react to the general silliness around him with the dry exasperation he brings to many of his lighter roles.

We Didn’t Forget About The Old Cast!

As iconic as the original cast is, it would be a crime not to include them in the remake as some of the iconic side characters that fill out the weird world of The Princess Bride. The most obvious choice was to cast Fred Savage to replace the late Peter Falk, making him a dad telling the story to his daughter rather than a grandpa to his grandson (he’s not THAT old, folks). Will the new story help the daughter feel better about her own questions about girls? Is Dad altering the story to appeal to her or is she imagining it as a story about WLW? So many things open up with this, and the continuity of the little boy from the original continuing the tradition is hard to pass up.

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright were hard to place because they aren’t actors you want to waste (which is kind of true for any of the cast). The best place, we think, would be for them to take up the roles of Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie. Probably playing them a little, ok a lot, less Jewish than Billy Crystal and Carol Kane (something not as evident in Golding’s novel), the cynicism of Max would be doubly funny when played by the former hero, and to have the former princess come out to remind him of the power of true love and romance would be just a cherry on top. Plus you know Robin Wright could put some socks on chasing Cary around hitting him over the head for calling her a witch. As to the OG Max and Valerie, they’d fit perfectly in as the Ancient Booer (who is basically Kane’s role in Kimmy Schmidt) and the Impressive Clergyman, respectively. We see Mandy Patinkin as Yellin, the gatekeeper Fezzik menaces (who would know the capabilities of a giant better than Inigo?). Wallace Shawn is a little too distinctive to put in a more established role, and would probably work best as a cameo running the brute squad or complaining during the wedding. The ex-villains have been accounted for as well, with Christopher Guest getting to be a little silly as the Albino working for the new Count Rugen in the Pit of Despair and Chris Sarandon as the kindly and scatterbrained King, Buttercup’s prospective father-in-law.

Of course, this is all a fan casting and really just the opinions of a couple of writers with too much spare time and overactive imaginations. What do you think of our cast? Any choices you support? any you absolutely hate? Who would you put in your remake? Sound off in the comments!

Images courtesy of HBO, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Focus Features, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.

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