Carl Reiner’s Final Performance Is in ‘The Princess Bride’ Fan Film


    Happy endings are common in the movies, but rare in real life. Sometimes they do happen. And sometimes they happen because of the movies.

    That’s the only way to describe Carl Reiner’s final curtain call.

    The fan-film version of The Princess Bride is a charity project that was shot piece by piece by dozens of performers while they were stuck at home during quarantine, with Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman coordinating and assembling the segments. Early in the footage, which concludes tomorrow on Quibi, Rob Reiner himself, the director of the original 1987 film, appeared as the grandfather who narrates the tale of magic, romance, and adventure to his little grandson (played in that segment by Josh Gad). After each scene, the characters all swap to different actors.

    When Rob Reiner talked to Vanity Fair on June 25, the day before the existence of the project was revealed, he was excited about Reitman’s plans for the final sequence. “I don’t know if you know this, but in the last one, my father’s going to play the grandfather and I’m going to play the grandson,” Rob said. He was looking forward to working on it together with his father, even though the two were quarantining apart. “He’s doing good. I just talked to him a few minutes ago,” Rob said. “For a guy who’s 98, he’s doing all right.”

    Just four days later, Carl Reiner passed away. Rob made the announcement on Twitter with this message: “As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.” Fans the world over grieved with him, but after a lifetime of making people laugh, it may seem appropriate that Carl would leave them with one last smile.

    Three days before he died, he shot the footage and sent it through to Reitman. You can watch his final performance below, intercut with Paul Rudd as heroic Westley, and the only footage from the actual movie that the fan-film uses: the good guys riding off, and Westley and Buttercup’s history-making kiss.

    Like many of Carl’s fans, Reitman was heartsick when he heard the news of the iconic comic and filmmaker’s death. “I was in shock at first because I felt like I had just seen him,” the filmmaker said. “It dawned on me: It was his final performance on not only a perfect career, but a perfect life. It felt like one more chance to see Carl Reiner. It was actually a scene about the love of a grandfather and a grandson. It’s a scene about storytelling. You can’t help but imagine Carl reading stories to Rob when he was a kid, and that this is what it looked like and what it felt like.”

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