The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Stars reunite for ‘Princess Bride’ Democratic fundraiser

MADISON, Wis. — For those who find it “inconceivable” for President Donald Trump to serve a second term, Wisconsin Democrats offered a star-packed live-streamed script reading of “The Princess Bride” to help Joe Biden’s campaign in the key battleground state.

The original cast of the beloved 1987 film reunited Sunday, along with guest stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Idle of Monty Python and Josh Gad, and all the money raised benefited Wisconsin Democrats. After the reading, comedian Patton Oswalt moderated a Q&A with cast members

It only took a $1 donation to gain access to the stream but donations averaged $27 going into the event. Party spokesman Phil Shulman said Monday that he doesn’t know how much was raised in total.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler called it the biggest grassroots fundraiser the party has ever held. It comes just four days before much of the cast of the TV sitcom “Parks and Recreation” were planning to reunite for a virtual event to encourage absentee voting in Wisconsin.

Wikler made the case before the script reading Sunday for Wisconsin’s importance in the election as one of a handful of swing states. Wikler noted that while polls show Biden with a lead, four years ago Trump was also trailing and he ended up winning the state by fewer than 23,000 votes.

The Princess Bride event came together after a staff member for the Wisconsin Democratic Party approached a friend who was a childhood friend of Cary Elwes, who played the hero Westley in the film. He bit at the idea of a reunion to benefit Democrats.

Director Rob Reiner, who took on the role of the grandfather for the reading, joked Sunday that everyone who was “not dead” jumped on the idea.

That included Robin Wright, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal and Carol Kane. They were joined by guest stars including Gad, who took on the role of Fezzik first played by Andre the Giant.

Crystal decorated his back drop with props from the film and wore the same hat he did when playing the character Miracle Max. Patinkin, who played Inigo Montoya, had the original sword he used in the film as well. Others appeared to be broadcasting from their homes.

While there were some technical glitches, and a delayed start, the cast clearly enjoyed recreating the film, with Wright often breaking out into laughter at her co-stars’ lines. Shawn, who repeatedly utters “Inconceivable!” throughout the film, faithfully recreated that line and others with gusto.

Trump’s campaign was unmoved by the fundraiser.

“Unlike the movie, we know what inconceivable means, and a Biden victory in Wisconsin is simply inconceivable,” said Trump’s spokeswoman Anna Kelly.

Some of the film’s lines took on new meaning in the midst of the coronavirus. Elwes, who wears a mask in the film, is asked why he has on the face covering:

“It’s just they’re terribly comfortable,” he said. “I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”

___ This story has been corrected to show that the Wisconsin Democratic Party staff member is friends with someone who was a childhood friend of Elwes, not that the Democratic staffer is Elwes’ friend.

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