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The Real Reason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Turned Down A Role In The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride very nearly featured one of basketball's most iconic players.

The beloved film, which made stars out of performers like Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, and Mandy Patinkin, and which featured familiar faces like Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, and Christopher Guest, almost cast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the NBA's most famous and productive players. In the end, however, the athlete didn't end up taking a role in the film.

According to ScreenRant, Abdul-Jabbar was seriously considered for the role of Fezzik, which later went to Andre the Giant. He was the only person directly offered the role by producers, though other athletes and actors auditioned, and he eventually turned it down. Though Abdul-Jabbar did have acting experience after appearing in the spoof comedy Airplane! alongside Leslie Nielsen, he had to turn down the role of Fezzik due to his busy NBA schedule, despite plenty of interest. 

Though it's hard to imagine anybody other than Andre the Giant in the iconic role, it would have been fun to see Abdul-Jabbar playing the friendly giant. Despite missing out on this opportunity, however, the NBA legend went on to create a pretty incredible career for himself in film and television. He appeared as himself on dozens of television shows, from Full House to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Scrubs to New Girl, showed up in the 1994 adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, and has produced multiple documentaries. He's also worked behind the scenes for popular shows, even joining the writing team on the 2019 Hulu adaptation of Veronica Mars.

The Princess Bride has found new life in 2020

Abdul-Jabbar may not have gotten the chance to appear in The Princess Bride, but during the coronavirus crisis of 2020, other stars got to re-enact their favorite scenes from the classic movie, all for a good cause. In June of 2020, several A-listers came together under the direction of filmmaker Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) to recreate scenes and moments from The Princess Bride on Quibi, producing super-short episodes on the new streaming platform as a benefit for World Central Kitchen.

Everyone from Patton Oswalt to Jon Hamm to Jack Black to Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas to Adam Sandler to original director Rob Reiner joined this "remake," using their own props, pets, partners, and backyards to bring some of The Princess Bride's most popular scenes to life once again. The entire project is incredibly endearing; during this seemingly endless lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is still a major threat throughout the world, it's certainly a great mood boost to watch your favorite stars of today tackle your favorite childhood movie.

Throughout the series, stars like Jason Segel and Dave Bautista stand in for Andre the Giant, but perhaps Reitman should have given Abdul-Jabbar a call, as well. The "remake" of The Princess Bride is streaming on Quibi now.