Alan Smithee
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SLCC 2014 – Cary Elwes Panel

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20140904_151554I’ve finally figured out what I’ve been doing wrong when it comes to conventions over the last couple of years. For some reason I wasn’t have as much fun as others seemed to be having. Turns out I was doing it so horribly wrong. You actually have to attend panels in order to have a good time. There’s only so much you can see on the dealers’ floor and around the convention center when it comes to cosplay and other interactive events. Where the fun really is, is with your fellow geeks basting in pure fandom. One such event was today when I sat down to see one of the stars of my childhood, Cary Elwes yuck it up with a capacity crowd in the Salt Palace’s ballroom.

The interview was conducted by a local celebrity in the geek community, a mister Jimmy Martin who is one half of the Big Movie Mouth Off duo and who makes regular television appearances on our local CBS news affiliate (currently #1 in the ratings). Jimmy Martin is his name, but thanks to the MC who introduced him, it became Jeffrey Martin which thankfully he was a gracious host and just rolled with it the entire hour.

First things off is that I didn’t realize until I looked at his IMDB, but Cary was in one of my favorite miniseries shows From the Earth to the Moon. He played Michael Collins, “the only man who didn’t get to see the moon landing” according to Elwes because he was in the command module above the moon. There was quite a bit about this one show he was in, mainly that Tom Hanks was a real slave driver for realism as he hoped many at NASA would watch and comment how accurate their portrayals were…up to learning exactly what every toggle, switch, and button on the mock-up command module did.

Let’s see, a few bits of color for Mr. Elwes. He is a method actor, on the first day of fencing training he learned that Manny Patinkin was months ahead of him already much to his chagrin. When he auditioned for his role in The Princess Bride he wasn’t sure he was going to get the role until he did a Fat Albert impersonation for Rob Reiner. Cary has been with his wife for 24 years now and claims that she makes the best chili (one that tastes great cold, even) which is funny considering he met her at a chili cookoff in Malibu at a time in their life when neither liked it.

The best little bit of trivia comes in the form of how he met the director for Saw, James Wan, at a farmers market in his home town. That’s not the interesting bit, but did you know that the original short film featured an actual functional reverse beartrap torture device.

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You could tell from the questioning that he had a lot of love for Andre the Giant (aka André René Roussimoff) as he fondly recalled the filming for The Princess Bride and how Andre was languishing having to eat the boring British food. To solve that problem, Andre rented a truck, rode in it down to France and picked up wine, pate, fois gras, even more wine, and brought it back to the set. The producer of the film didn’t want Andre to share the wine with the staff so the producer asked if he could take care of it himself to which he replied “I got it boss”.

All in all it was a great panel and a great introduction at what exactly I can expect at celebrity panels in the future. If this was any indication, I will make sure to attend more of them at any convention I attend.

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