André the Giant’s film career may have been short-lived, but it is among his most memorable and impactful. Andre starred as Fezzik in the 1987 fantasy classic, “The Princess Bride.” Fezzik is a giant who, along with his friend Inigo Montoya, teams up with main character Westley to rescue Princess Buttercup. Casting director Jane Jenkins told TheWrap that William Goldman, who wrote the original story, originally asked Andre to play the role. However, Andre would turn Goldman down, recommending his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger instead. English was, after all, André’s second language. This, coupled with his deep voice, cast doubt in the Giant’s mind on his ability to handle any role with substantial dialogue.
However, the film quickly went into development hell, with filming being delayed by almost a decade. By this point, Schwarzenegger’s stock had grown astronomically, and the studio could no longer afford his services. This time, Goldman and Rob Reiner, the film’s new director, managed to convince Andre to participate. Almost 40 years later, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than André in the role, with lines like “Anyone want a peanut?” still resonating with fans of the film.
Sadly, Andre would pass away six years after the film’s release, his health steadily declining due to a lifelong battle with acromegaly. Although he never quite realized his potential in the movies, it’s fair to wonder how far Andre’s charisma and good looks might have taken him away from his performance in “The Princess Bride.”