British actor Cary Elwes is best known for his performances in classic movies like The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men In Tights. Since his silver screen breakthrough in Another Country in 1984, Elwes’ career has gone from strength to strength. From Princess Bride’s dashing Westley to antagonistic mayor Larry Kline on the award-winning Netflix series Stranger Things, few can say they’ve played roles as varied as Elwes has. Here are ten facts you probably didn’t know about the actor.
10. He makes period movies because he’s such a history nut
It makes sense that Elwes is into studying the past, given the sheer number of period movies he’s been involved in over the years. Lady Jane saw him transported back to Tudor England, and while The Princess Bride is set in a fantasy world, the film has distinctly Medieval overtones.
Speaking to 90265 Magazine in March 2020, Elwes explained his love for the subject and how this passion tides over into his professional work: “History was the only subject I was any good at in school. Still is my favourite thing to study. So yes, I have a few projects that reflect that passion.”
9. Elwes and Robin Wright fell for each other for real while making The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride’s Westley and Buttercup make an adorable couple on-screen – but even off-screen, both Elwes and actress Robin Wright had great chemistry. The two went as far as asking to film multiple takes for their final kiss scene even though there was no need.
Speaking to Smashing Interviews in 2014, Elwes recalled how the whole team essentially fell in love with the film’s leading lady. “It’s hard not to fall in love with Robin. I think I can speak for anyone who has gotten to know her.” It seems the feeling was mutual: speaking on The Today Show in 2012, Wright claimed “I was so in love with [Cary].”
8. He met his wife at a chilli cook-off
Elwes met his wife, Lisa Marie Kubikoff, at the annual Malibu Chili Cook-Off in 1991. Elwes reportedly invited Kubikoff to go on some rides with him after she caught his eye at the event. The two hit it off immediately, and they began dating a few months later.
The pair became engaged in December 1997 in Paris, and then married in 2000. They have one daughter together, Dominique, who was born in 2007. Princess Bride fans will be delighted to learn that, according to his own book, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Elwes uses the line “as you wish” with his wife.
7. Christopher Guest knocked Elwes out during the filming of The Princess Bride
One scene in The Princess Bride sees Count Rugen hit Westley and knock him out. When it came to filming this scene, Elwes told Christopher Guest to go ahead and really hit him for the shot. However, Guest thumped Elwes so hard that he was genuinely knocked unconscious, and consequently rushed to hospital.
The lead actor recalled the incident in his book: “[The hit] landed just a touch harder than either of us anticipated. And that, folks, was the last thing I remember from that day’s shoot […] I woke up in the emergency room, still in costume, to the frightening sound of stitches being sewn into my skull.”
6. He’s passionate about climate change
Elwes has been outspoken on social media about the impact climate change is having on the environment and has publicly lamented the damage done by the devastating fires in both Australia and the Amazon.
He expressed his frustration while speaking to 90265 Magazine in March 2020: “Even my daughter and her friends at school know what climate change is doing to the environment. The kids seem more aware than the adults who can do something about it. And that should be distressing to us all.”
5. He worked as an assistant on 1978’s Superman, where his job was to get Marlon Brando out of his trailer
As a teenager, Elwes worked as a production assistant on the 1978 Superman movie. His main job was to supervise Marlon Brando and bring him out of his trailer every day. Despite Elwes properly introducing himself to the famous actor, Brando insisted on calling him ‘Rocky,’ after the famous boxer.
Recalling the strange encounter on NPR in 2016, Elwes explained how his boss introduced him as “Cary Elwes,” only for Brando to object. “He goes, no, no, your name is Rocky. And from there on in, he called me Rocky, right? I don’t know why.”
4. He was offered the lead in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves but turned it down
After his success in The Princess Bride, Elwes was offered the title role in 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The actor turned down the lead role, partly because he wanted to resist being typecast, but also because he thought the script was “contrived.”
Ironically, even though Elwes declined to play Robin Hood in Prince of Thieves, he went on to play the iconic outlaw two years later in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
3. He hung up on Mel Brooks when he offered Elwes the lead in Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Elwes stars in Robin Hood: Men in Tights – and was even personally asked by director Mel Brooks to play the role. The conversation between the two didn’t go 100% according to plan, however, as Elwes initially hung up on the Hollywood giant in disbelief.
Speaking to Syfy in 2019, Elwes recalled his embarrassing blunder. “[Brooks] called me to ask me to play Robin – first of all, I didn’t believe it was him calling me at home. So I hung up on him. And he called back in a panic, saying, “It’s really me. It’s really me.” I thought it was someone playing a prank because he didn’t have an assistant introduce him or anything, which he normally does. He just called me directly.” Luckily, things worked out in the end and Elwes bagged the part.
2. He’s strongly against remaking The Princess Bride
In September 2019, an article published by Variety hinted that Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra was considering a remake of The Princess Bride. There was huge outcry among the movie’s fanbase, and the suggestion even prompted a response from Elwes.
“There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one,” Elwes tweeted the day after the article was published. The tweet amassed over 500,000 likes – a clear show of support for Elwes’ sentiments. The film still has not been remade – although some celebs contributed to a remake of sorts in June 2020, one filmed on phones and at their own homes during quarantine.
1. His jaw “dropped” when he saw the set of Stranger Things for the first time
It’s fair to say that Elwes was at his prime in the 1980s, so to work on a series set in the period must be particularly exciting for the accomplished actor. Stranger Things has been praised for its attention to detail when it comes to setting the 80s scene – and Elwes was astounded when he witnessed the set firsthand.
“The Duffers wanted to see my reaction walking in,” Elwes told The Ringer in 2019. “And I gotta tell you, my mouth dropped. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought they had taken a mall that was still open and sort of redressed a few shops or something. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that they had 40 stores that were working. People in period costume. The food court was fully operational. You could go and buy cooked food and eat it.”