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Cary Elwes reunites with ‘Princess Bride’ alum in ‘The Queen of Spain’

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Actor Cary Elwes, best known for portraying brave farmhand Westley (and the diabolical Dread Pirate Roberts) in the 1987 romantic comedy/fantasy “The Princess Bride,” has earned his reputation as a scene stealer. The British-born Elwes can be seen now in the period comedy-drama “The Queen of Spain” alongside star Penelope Cruz and fellow “Princess Bride” alum Mandy Patinkin.

Set in the 1950s, “The Queen of Spain” is the follow-up to director Fernando Trueba’s 1998 Spanish drama “The Girl of Your Dreams,” also starring Cruz. In interviews, Trueba has claimed that “The Queen of Spain” is not technically a sequel.

“It really is a sequel,” Elwes said during a phone interview last week. “I can’t speak for Fernando but I think he wants people to see it as a standalone film since it was made nearly 20 years after ‘The Girl of Your Dreams.’”

Like the first film, “The Queen of Spain” is based on factual circumstances.

In the 1998 movie, Cruz starred as Macarena Granada, an actress who goes off to Berlin to make a movie. There, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man, Joseph Goebbels, falls in love with her.

“At the end of that film, she runs off to Hollywood to become a movie star, and at the beginning of ‘The Queen of Spain,’ she returns from Hollywood with an American actor and a screenwriter in tow.”

Elwes plays the actor (Gary Jones) and Mandy Patinkin portrays the screenwriter (Jordan Berman).

“It’s nearly 20 years later and she comes back to Spain to make this movie called ‘The Queen of Spain,’” Elwes said. “The film follows the story of how she found a writer, director, producer and actor in Hollywood and brought them to Spain. It’s an homage to the 1950s golden era of filmmaking in Spain.”

During that period, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco offered attractive tax incentives to American film companies to shoot their pictures in the country – similar to the 15 to 35 percent rebate plan offered by the Spanish Treasury to Hollywood movie and TV companies in 2015.

Speaking of the historically accurate elements of the film, Elwes said “If you love the history of filmmaking, you will love this movie.”

In the story, Penelope Cruz’s character tries to rescue to her true love, who has been tortured by Franco. Meanwhile, Elwes’s character spends a good part of the film trying to hide his sexuality. 

“For anyone who doesn’t know how extraordinary Penelope Cruz is as an actress, or if you’ve been living under a rock, you need to see her performance in this film,” he said. “My God, the cast of characters that Fernando placed around her are just terrific. We had such a wonderful time making it.”

According to Elwes, all interior scenes for “The Queen of Spain” were shot in Budapest, Hungary, while all exterior scenes were filmed in Madrid.

“It’s shot like a painting,” Elwes said of Trueba’s cinematography. “The movie is just gorgeous.”

Elwes added that it didn’t take long for “Princess Bride” fans to find out that he and Mandy Patinkin were working together on a new project.

“This was our first film together since ‘The Princess Bride,’” he said. “We would leave the hotel early in the morning to head to the set and we’d always encounter ‘Princess Bride’ fans out there with memorabilia for us to sign. Catching the two of us in the same place at the same time is a rare thing. I remember saying to Mandy one morning, ‘Isn’t this crazy? We’re still signing this after 30 years.’ He said ‘I know –it’s nuts.’ It just defies logic in a way that is hard to believe”

“The Queen of Spain” is one of 10 projects for Elwes in 2017. Unfortunately, the forthcoming “Psych” movie (based on the 2006-2014 TV series created by Steve Franks) is not one of them. On that show, Elwes portrayed Canadian art thief Pierre Despereaux.

“I had another shoot and we couldn’t make the dates work,” Elwes said of his non-appearance in the upcoming movie. “They told me I would be in the sequel.” Franks reportedly plans on shooting six “Psych” movies in total. 

“The Queen of Spain” is now playing in select theaters and is available on all digital video-on-demand platforms. 


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