My initial reaction to The Princess Bride as kid wasn’t much different from that of the sick kid in the film who thinks his Grandpa is going to tell him a yawner of a story. My younger brother, in elementary school at the time, loved this movie and thought we should watch it as a family after having seen it in class. We were all suspicious, but rented the video anyway, and subsequently found ourselves rolling with laughter. It was the funniest movie we’d ever seen, and I immediately decided that Westley was the man for me (funny, handsome sword fighters with immunities to Iocane powder are sadly in short supply). Since then, my family has watched The Princess Bride countless times over the years, memorizing the fantastically quotable dialogue and still coming away amazed at the wonderful sword fights, the torture machine in the Pit of Despair, and the chilling scenes near the end where Inigo gets his man and Westley reclaims Buttercup for his own. This movie is a genuine romantic comedy that is, well, actually funny and romantic without denigrating either.
As a longtime fan of the Rob Reiner film as well as the book by William Goldman, the idea of remaking the cult classic sounds lame. And yet? And yet, it would be fun to see the story explored again with a new cast and for modern audiences. In recent years I have become a fan of Korean TV Dramas, or Kdramas, specifically the romantic comedies. I think most of the themes and characters in these melodramas fit in line with the themes of The Princess Bride, specifically that there’s nothing like good friends and that love conquers all. Being good at everything, Westley would fit right in with the “flower boys” in many dramas, as would Buttercup with her subtle snottiness and comic inability to act when the time calls for it. Romantic comedies are almost always a battle of the sexes and both Kdramas and The Princess Bride play out that battle to that bitter…er, I mean happy end…of a head-spinning kiss.
Other reasons TPB would make a great Kdrama: 1. The book could get its due. As fantastic as the Reiner film is, it doesn’t plumb the depths of the satire that Goldman wrote. If Cary Elwes’ Westley seems arrogant in the film, he pales in comparison to the character in the book. Buttercup and the other characters are just as ridiculous, but to great effect. The trials Westley goes through are a bit more bizarre, the pit of despair, being more like consecutive circles of a hellish zoo. A 20-episode treatment could be a whole lot of fun.
2. Revenge. I still love Westley, but my favorite character is sword master Inigo Montoya. His backstory is briefly told in the movie, but the book has a lot more, like his despair at being able to find a worthy opponent. And his quest for revenge is a common tale highlighted again in many Asian movies from not only Korea, but Japan and China as well. Inigo Montoya the samurai or Korean equivalent? Yes, please.
3. Talent. Korea has hands down some of the best quality film and TV production out there. Many of their TV shows are just really long movies. Add to that the numerous talented writers, actors, and directors from all over Asia who participate in the Kdrama industry. It would be fun and exciting to see that talent showcased in a remake of an American cult classic. Hey, we remade Oldboy, so why not?