THE LEAST SICILIAN SICILIAN
Wallace Shawn, who played the calculating kidnapper Vizzini, did not expect to survive the Battle of Wits because he thought he was all wrong for the role.
Reitman: Wallace Shawn was not the original actor that you had in mind, right?
Reiner: Well, I mean, [Vizzini’s] supposed to be a Sicilian. And Wally Shawn is probably the furthest thing from a Sicilian you could possibly imagine. And he thought we were going to fire him after the first day, because the first thing we did with him was The Battle of Wits scene with the iocane powder. He was sure we were going to fire him. ‘I can’t get the Sicilian accent!’ I said, ‘Wally, we want the Sicilian to sound just like you.’
Reitman: I’m not sure what’s better, Wallace Shawn as a Sicilian or Mandy Patinkin as a Spanish person.
Reiner: Yeah, yeah. An Irishman and a Jew!