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Cary Elwes Interview: "Princess Bride" Star Talks Lena Dunham HBO Pilot and Crackle's "The Art of More"

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Image attributed to Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes

British actor Cary Elwes, whose most famous role is Westley in the 1987 film The Princess Bride, will take his acting career to yet another level as he stars opposite Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth and Christian Cooke in Crackle’s first scripted drama series The Art of More, which premiered on November 19, 2015.

Other film credits include Oxford Blues, Days of Thunder, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Jungle Book, Twister, Saw, Saw II, Georgia Rule, Saw 3D, Hellgate, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, A Mouse Tale, Sugar Mountain, Being Charlie and We Don’t Belong Here.

“When you realize some of the things that came out of men’s mouths at that time in the 60s were considered alright and acceptable, it’s just amazing. These are things that were said and done that are so unacceptable today. We’re only talking a little over 40 years ago. It’s unbelievable.”

All ten episodes of The Art of More are available to watch on Crackle, the emerging streaming network by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Elwes also stars in the new HBO pilot Max, a 1960s-set feminism comedy directed and executive produced by Lena Dunham (Girls).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Cary, can you give me a brief synopsis of The Art of More?

Cary Elwes: Sure. We pull back the curtain on high-end auction houses and the kind of double dealings that can go on in the world of high-end art and antiquities. I play a character named Arthur Davenport who happens to deal in stolen antiquities.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Sort of a rich, eccentric fellow.

Cary Elwes: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why did you become involved in the project?

Cary Elwes: Well Melissa, it was a very original concept anyway to begin with. I just thought that we had never seen this world on television before. So that was something that sparked my interest and also the character. All these characters in the show have something to hide. They’re really complex people who are very self-involved and thus, fun to play.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Had you worked with Dennis (Quaid), Kate (Bosworth) or Christian (Cooke) prior to the series?

Cary Elwes: I had not, and it all just came together as a wonderful cast to work with.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I hear that many people, including Dennis, compares his character to Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Cary Elwes: It’s funny. He came up with that before Donald decided to run for president, if you can believe that. We’d already written it into the script that his character would run for office, and it just so happened while we were shooting it, Trump announced. It was hilarious.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I can definitely see some similarities, and he’s a guy who’s willing to pay any price to get what he wants.

Cary Elwes: Yeah. The guy is kind of a bully really.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is this the first time you’ve been involved in an original project for a content streaming platform?

Cary Elwes: Yes. This is the first time for me. Crackle is a terrific network. It’s an amazing thing now that you can get your content over 30 different platforms from your streaming TV or gaming console, just downloading the app or going online on your computer or tablet. It’s just incredible.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You were reunited with Rob Reiner (director, Princess Bride) in the film Being Charlie. Tell me about that.

Cary Elwes: It was a very personal story for Rob and his family because the script was written by his son who had a lot of struggles with addiction. So Rob wanted to make the film with him, and it was quite a cathartic journey really. It was very personal, and obviously we were all very proud to be a part of that. The movie turned out beautifully. It’s really a lovely film.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): And Rob’s dad is still going strong at 93.

Cary Elwes: Incredible, eh?

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your brother, Cassian Elwes, is a film producer. Have you two worked on projects together?

Cary Elwes: We just completed a project together. He produced a screenplay I wrote called Elvis & Nixon about the day that Elvis met Nixon. That’s in post production.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It’s funny you should mention that because I recently interviewed Colin Hanks.

Cary Elwes: Oh yeah. Colin is in the film.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Colin told me he was just excited to see Kevin Spacey dressed up like Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon dressed up as Elvis. So he had a a lot of fun doing it. The film is only about that point in time?

Cary Elwes: It’s literally 48 hours in Elvis’ life when he decided to go and petition Nixon to become an undercover narcotics agent. I co-wrote it with a couple of writers, but I was the principal writer. I just thought it was a fascinating story and one that needed to be told. Nixon is still with us today in many ways. It’s just an interesting moment in pop culture.

That particular photograph they took together in the Oval Office is still the most sought after photograph in the National Archives. That says a lot about that moment in time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The other big news is that you are starring in the Lena Dunham HBO pilot Max. Your character is a magazine editor?

Cary Elwes: Correct. His name is Ken. He’s a complete misogynist. He was a lot of fun to do (laughs). When you realize some of the things that came out of men’s mouths at that time in the 60s were considered alright and acceptable, it’s just amazing. These are things that were said and done that are so unacceptable today. We’re only talking a little over 40 years ago. It’s unbelievable.

Lena’s incredible. She’s a wonderful director, and we have this terrific writer, Murray Miller, and an amazing cast. We had a lot of fun doing it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did Lena reach out to you?

Cary Elwes: She reached out. I met with her and read for her and the producers. It was just love at first sight. She’s amazing. She’s an amazing woman.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are there other projects you can talk about?

Cary Elwes: I have a couple of movies coming out at some point next year. One is called Sugar Mountain with Jason Momoa, and another one is called We Do Not Belong Here. That is with Catherine Keener.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you ever get back to London, Cary?

Cary Elwes: Not as much as I’d like to. But fortunately my extended family travels here quite a bit.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you found that being associated primarily with an 80s fantasy film classic can be both a blessing and a curse as far as your career is concerned?

Cary Elwes: Well, I think to be associated with anything that’s called a classic is not a bad thing.

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