Decades after he was crowned rom-com royalty for “The Princess Bride,” Cary Elwes fell in love with the genre all over again with his new movie.
The English actor stars in Netflix’s “A Castle for Christmas,” and though it might seem inconceivable, the film is Elwes’ first romantic comedy since he portrayed the heroic Westley in “The Princess Bride” back in 1987.
“I avoided picking that genre simply because that film had pretty much covered that for me, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to try and compete with it,” Elwes said. “But here I am, some 30 years later, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of doing this one. Firstly, because the role was so interesting to me, to play someone so totally different.”
“A Castle for Christmas” stars Elwes as the Scottish duke Myles, who operates a scenic estate and largely isolates himself from the outside world.
His life is flipped upside down when he meets Brooke Shields’ Sophie Brown, a popular American author who retreats to Scotland after upsetting her rabid readers by killing off a fan-favorite character.
“Myles has run through all the money, and now he’s looking to sell his castle. The buyer who shows up is this character played by Brooke who is the complete antithesis to Myles,” Elwes, 59, said.
“She’s an extrovert and she’s filled with joie de vivre, which he’s certainly not, and she really rubs him the wrong way, so there’s great elements of comedy there. They’re very much oil and water, the two of them.”
SHOT IN A REAL CASTLE
The actors shot scenes at the real Dalmeny Castle in South Queensferry, Scotland. Elwes, who has Scottish roots on his mother’s side, says getting the chance to connect with his heritage was part of why he wanted to make the movie, as was working with Shields.
“Brooke’s character is all about connecting with people, connecting with her past, connecting with the present and being present,” Elwes said. “My character, Myles, just wants to be left alone, really. She teaches him about loneliness and not being alone, and opens his eyes to the possibilities of really living life.”
In the years between his rom-com roles, Elwes starred in adventure films such as “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “The Jungle Book,” portrayed Dr. Lawrence Gordon in the “Saw” horror flicks, and played recurring characters on the TV series “Stranger Things” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
He’s also set to appear in the Guy Ritchie-directed spy movie “Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre” and the Tom Cruise-led “Mission Impossible 7,” both due out next year.
“If I’m afraid of the role, that’s usually a good motivator for me,” Elwes told The News. “If it’s something I’m not sure I can do, and yet the director somehow sees there’s something in me that can deliver something, that’s usually a good motivator for me. I rush toward the things I’m afraid of.”
Elwes said he “didn’t realize how much” he missed starring in romantic-comedies until he worked on “A Castle for Christmas.”
“It’s a film about love,” Elwes said. “It’s a film about family. It’s a film about friends. I think, between those three things, they hit the most important notes of the holiday season.”