Veteran action star Liam Neeson says filmmaker Rob Reiner rejected him for the role of Fezzik in 1987’s fantasy adventure comedy The Princess Bride because he felt the actor wasn’t tall enough to play the part.
The Princess Bride was adapted for the big screen by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name and featured Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in lead roles.
The film follows a farmhand named Westley (Elwes), accompanied by companions befriended along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup (Wright) from the odious Prince Humperdinck, played by Chris Sarandon.
Neeson, 68, was hoping to get cast as Fezzik, the strongest man alive used by Wallace Shawn’s antagonist Vizzini for criminal activities. Neeson said he was nervous as The Princess Bride was a big project.
“I was quite nervous because I knew this was a big film and stuff. I had met the casting directors in LA, So I go into the office in London, and Rob Reiner looked at me and said, ‘He’s not a giant. What height are you?’ I said ‘Six foot four.’ He said, ‘That’s tall, he’s not a giant’,” Neeson recalled during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
In the film, Fezzik, eventually played by French professional wrestler and actor Andre the Giant, Vizzini and Spanish fencing master Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) kidnap Buttercup before her wedding to Humperdinck.
The Princess Bride was well-received by critics at the time, but only did modest numbers at the box office. It has gone on to become a cult favourite.