André the Giant and the 16-Second Fart

André the Giant's "Princess Bride" co-star Cary Elwes wrote about this "veritable symphony of gastric distress" in his 2014 book "As You Wish."

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Image via Youtube / Movie Clips

André René Roussimoff was a large man. At more than 7 feet tall and 500 pounds, the French actor and wrestler earned the name André the Giant. And it wasn’t just his size that was seemingly larger than life. According to his friends and co-stars, so were his farts. 

A popular meme about André the Giant relays an anecdote that took place on the set of the movie “The Princess Bride” when the actor, who played the friendly Fezzik, supposedly let loose a 16-second fart. 

“On the set of The Princess Bride, André the Giant once ‘let out a 16-second fart and brought production to a standstill.’ Nobody said anything except director Rob Reiner, who said ‘Are you OK, André?’ to which André replied, ‘I am now, boss.'”

While we can’t verify that this incident actually took place (there’s no video of this momentous fart), we can say that many of André the Giant’s friends and co-stars have told similar anecdotes about his fantastic acts of flatulence. Here’s a clip from a 2018 HBO documentary about the legendary wrestler in which many of his former opponents talked about his equally legendary flatulence:

The specific incident recounted in the meme above originated with a passage from André’s “Princess Bride” co-star Cary Elwes’ 2014 book, “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.” Elwes writes that this borborygmus of brobdingnagian proportions took place while filming the scene in the bridge of the castle where his “mostly dead” character takes a miracle pill from Miracle Max.

 
Elwes writes: 

We got to the moment where I wake up from being “mostly dead” and say, “I’ll beat you both apart! I’ll take you both together!” Fezzik cups my mouth with his hand, and answers in his own question to Inigo as to how long it might be before Miracle Max’s pill begins to take effect by stating, “I guess not very long.”

As soon as he delivered that line, there issued forth from André one of the most monumental farts any of us had ever heard. Now, I suppose you wouldn’t expect a man of André’s proportions to pass gas quietly or unobtrusively, but this particular one was truly epic, a veritable symphony of gastric distress that roared for more than several seconds and shook the very foundations of the wood and plaster set we were now grabbing on to out of sheer fear. It was long enough and loud enough that every member of the crew had time to stop what they were doing and take notice. All I can say is that it was a wind that could have held up in comparison to the one Slim Pickens emitted in the campfire scene in Mel Brooks’s ‘Blazing Saddles,’ widely acknowledged as the champion of all cinematic farts.

Elwes continues, writing that the cast and crew were beset with a serious case of the giggles that ruined the next few takes. Eventually, director Rob Reiner stepped in and tried to get everyone back on track. He then turned to André and asked if he was okay and if he needed a break. André responded, “No, boss, I’m okay … now,” which set off another round of laugher. 

Elwes writes:

“We tried a few more takes, but they were all in vain. every time I would think I was past it, I’d look at André and his big grin and the smoking hairpiece, and the giggles would erupt all over again between myself, Mandy, and André. Finally Rob realized that someone had to try to get the scene back on track.

“Okay, guys, let’s try this again,” he said. “André, are you okay? You need to take a break?” “No, boss. I’m okay.” He paused. “Now.”

More laughter, even from André.

The actors finally gained their composure, according to Elwes, after Reiner told them to put themselves in André’s shoes and picture that everyone was laughing at them. This stopped the giggles but also made Elwes “feel awful” for laughing at his co-star. 

Even though I still felt bad, the sage advice Rob had given me worked. On the very next take, we did it perfectly, and that is the take that is in the movie. After Rob yelled, “Cut,” I immediately turned to André and apologized.

“It’s okay,” he replied, “my farts always make people laugh … That was a big one, wasn’t it?”

He still managed to make me smile, in order to make me not feel bad. That’s how special André was.

Here’s a video of Elwes relaying this story during an appearance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”