With a CV that includes This Is Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally …, and Stand By Me, it’s clear that Rob Reiner has overseen some of the most quotable and beloved films of the last 35 years.
So it says a lot about the endearing evergreen appeal of “The Princess Bride” that it is now probably regarded as the most popular film of Reiner’s career. September 25 marked the 30th birthday of the release of “The Princess Bride,” and around this time I sat down with the Reiner to discuss his latest film “LBJ.”
Considering the occasion, I couldn’t help but bring up “The Princess Bride”, too, and Rob Reiner jumped at the chance to talk about its legacy.
“It’s incredible. It’s incredible to know that you’ve made a film that has lasted that people are passing down to their children. I am meeting people that saw it when they were nine or ten years-old, and now they are showing it to their nine or ten year-olds.”
Reiner also discussed why “The Princess Bride” failed to really find an audience when it was first released, explaining that, despite the fact that teenagers and students actually loved the film whenever it was screened, they were initially put off by its title.
“The best screenings we ever had were at universities. We showed it at UCLA, and different places, and they went crazy for the film. And yet when we released the film we could never get college aged kids to see it. Because it was called ‘Princess Bride,’ and everyone thought that it was a fairy tale and that it was too babyish.”
Reiner confirmed the rumors that a follow-up to “The Princess Bride” was briefly considered, but insisted that they soon came to a halt as he quickly gets bored by the idea of a sequel.
“We thought about it. But I have never made sequels. To me it’s like, ‘I did that already.’ Then it is done and over there, and you move onto something else.”
Reiner also recalled how, after finding success with his first few films, he was invited to a meeting with Paramount Pictures where they instantly turned down the opportunity to make “The Princess Bride,” which made him realize he just doesn’t have the same taste and sensibility as the big Hollywood studios.
“I never worked with a big studio. I remember the first time I spoke to them. I had made ‘Spinal Tap’ and I had made ‘The Sure Thing,’ and this is actually before I did ‘Stand By Me,’ and I went and did a meeting with Paramount. And the woman says, ‘Boy do we love your movies. What do you want to make?’”
“And I said, ‘Well, you know, you won’t want to make what I want to make.’ They were like, ‘No, no, no, no, tell us.’ I said, ‘I would like to make a movie out of ‘The Princess Bride.’ And they said, ‘Well anything but that.’ Anything that I am interested in I don’t think they are interested in.”
Thankfully Reiner was able to find the funds to bring “The Princess Bride” to the big screen, and over 30 years later it still feels as fresh and delightful as ever.