Here’s something so special I wish I could embed it — Carl Reiner’s final performance. It’s part of a fan-film version of “The Princess Bride” that Jason Reitman has done with dozens of celebrities for the Quibi streaming service that no one you know has subscribed to.
I’ll let Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican explain:
Early in the footage, Rob Reiner himself, the director of the original 1987 film, appeared as the grandfather who narrates the tale of magic, romance, and adventure to his little grandson (played in that segment by Josh Gad). After each scene, the characters all swap to different actors.
But in the final scene, Rob Reiner plays the kid in bed (Fred Savage in the original) and Carl Reiner plays the grandfather (Peter Falk in the original). They each shot their parts separately, then sent the footage to Reitman, who put them together with a scene from the movie and a quick clip of Paul Rudd as Westley (Cary Elwes in the original). This was a mere four days before Carl died.
Here’s Breznican again:
Like many of Carl’s fans, Reitman was heartsick when he heard the news of the iconic comic and filmmaker’s death. “I was in shock at first because I felt like I had just seen him,” the filmmaker said. “It dawned on me: It was his final performance on not only a perfect career, but a perfect life. It felt like one more chance to see Carl Reiner. It was actually a scene about the love of a grandfather and a grandson. It’s a scene about storytelling. You can’t help but imagine Carl reading stories to Rob when he was a kid, and that this is what it looked like and what it felt like.”
Reitman waited several days before reaching out to the Reiner family. Then he sent not only condolences, but also the footage, and waited to hear back. If they preferred for it not to be used, he said he would have come up with an alternative. Reitman said the family was moved by the scene, and gave their blessing to keep it in the project. “At 98 years old, Carl Reiner understood every beat of that scene,” said Reitman. “His understanding of the writing, the performance, the pauses, the gestures, the hat, the look to camera, how to make an exit, were as sharp as any actor at any age.”
As I mentioned, I can’t embed the video, but you can see it in Breznican’s VF piece here.