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article imageReese Witherspoon & Robert Pattinson talk 'Water For Elephants' Special

By Earl Dittman     Nov 1, 2011 in Entertainment
In their latest movie together, the Depression Period piece Water For Elephants (now on Blu-ray/DVD), Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson discuss how their characters fall for each other and for the elephant in the circus in which they work.
Take a journey back in time with the romantic tale based on the New York Times-selling novel by Sara Gruen, Water For Elephants stars Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz in an epic tale of forbidden love in a magical place filled with adventure, wonder and great danger. Showcasing the decadence of a bohemian circus and the majesty of its animal against the backdrop and beauty of a bygone era (The Depression). The circus begins to crumble from within, and against all odds, Jacob (Pattinson) and Marlena (Witherspoon) come together and fall in love through their compassion for a special elephant. With their love on the line, the two come to a crossroads that will forever change their destiny.
At a chat with the press, earlier this summer, Reese and Robert talk about the making of the film, what it was like to do a period film, Robert jokes about flirting with an elephant and the two costars talk about kissing each other in the film.
What was the impression you got from reading the book that made you want to do a film adaptation?
Reese: "I liked the structure of the book. I like how, all through the book, there was this man’s remembrance of his life and his life experiences. One of my favorite parts of the movie is Hal Holbrook’s part of the movie, where he’s reminiscing. I thought that was great."
Robert: "I think I’ve just always had a bit of an affinity for that era. I always wanted to do a movie around that time. And, I think it was just very solid, how she (author Sara Gruen) created the world there. I just wanted to be a part of it."
How did you approach becoming a person from another time?
Robert: "There was a comprehensive creation of the world. I’ve never worked on anything so detailed. There was an embankment with a train track on the top. All the trailers were on one side, and then the circus world was on the other. Once you walked over the tracks, there would be a camera, but that was the only thing from the 21st Century. You could stand on the tracks and look over at everything, and you were in the ‘30s. We were out in the middle of the desert in Fillmore, and there was nothing else around. There was an orchard. We were in the ‘30s. Jack Fisk, the production designer, used authentic pegs and the ropes. Every single thing which built the world was all totally real. And, authentic period underpants do actually help, as well. I actually wore them every single day. Jacqueline West, the costume designer, was unbelievable. Almost everything was real. Every pair of jeans were all from the ‘20s and ‘30s. It was crazy."
Reese and Robert in  Water For Elephants
Reese and Robert in "Water For Elephants"
Reese, did your costumes and look really help you, in finding this character?
Reese: "Yeah, certainly. I debated about whether or not I was going to wear a wig. Ultimately, after lots of discussion and screen-testing, I decided, 'I’m just going to cut my hair. I’m just going to dye it white. I’m just going to do it.' It was really transforming for me. I didn’t even recognize myself. It’s a real gift, as an actress, to have people around you, who are artisans that are the best at what they do, creating period costumes for you and set design. It’s a very collaborative medium. You’re only as good as the people that you collaborate with, so we were very lucky to have the best people in the business designing the film."
How was it to wear such body conscious costumes? Did you do anything to physically prepare for that?
Reese: "Well, I was training a lot, with the circus training, riding the elephant and riding horses, so I was pretty busy. I’ve made a conscious effort, throughout my career, to not end up in a bathing suit in a movie, and here I was in this movie, wearing a leotard for the majority of it. It was horrifying! But, it was inspiring to have Jacqueline West design them. They’re beautiful. It was a different time, when women loved their curves and enjoyed being voluptuous, and all that sort of thing. All of the costumes in the film are very flattering for women."
What do you love so much, about this time period?
Reese: "The unknown, I think."
Robert: "There’s a wildness to it. I think that’s why I like that period. After that, it’s just white picket fences. It just gets progressively more boring. But, it’s the end of the Wild West. It’s why kids still want to be cowboys, even in England."
What was it like to work with Tai the elephant, especially in the beginning?
Reese: "(Director) Francis (Lawrence) and I went out and visited Tai, probably three or four months before shooting, and he brought a camera. I was like, 'Why did you bring a camera?,' but he took pictures of me, every moment of the first experiences I had, of meeting her and her picking me up. And then, he sent me the pictures and I was like, 'Oh, my gosh!' I really have this memory of the first time I met her. I was terrified. I screamed. I like animals, but this was a completely unique experience.
Robert: "I wasn’t scared at all. There was only one moment, when we first saw the whole herd together and Gary, Tai’s trainer said, 'Sit,' literally as if he were talking to a dog, and it sat down in exactly the same way a dog would. Just seeing that, it’s totally incomprehensible. I basically decided to do the movie, at that point. I hadn’t read the script or anything. It’s very powerful to think that you can have a relationship with these huge beasts."
Robert and his elephant love
Robert and his elephant love
Rob, it’s been said that the elephant took quite a liking to you. How does an elephant flirt?
Robert: "I don’t know who started that. I’ve been asked about it all day. It sounds really disturbing. I wasn’t flirting with the elephant. I think I had a relationship with the elephant, but it was based purely on candy. I strategically placed mints. I’d suck a peppermint for a bit, and then stick it onto my body, under my armpits and covering my entire chest, and not tell anyone. So, every single time, the elephant would be constantly sniffing me and I’d be like, 'I don’t know, she just really likes me. It’s crazy!' But, I think she was just sniffing around for a treat."
Rob, in the film, your character Jacob lies about being a vet to get a job in the circus. Have you ever lied to get an acting job?
Robert: "Oh, yeah, all the time. I don’t know if there’s the same thing in America, but there’s a thing called the Spotlight Form in England, where you have all your talents and accents and everything. You just tick these boxes, saying what you’re capable of, as an actor. I just tick everything. I can do any accent in the world. I can literally do any technical skill. I think it’s still like that. I ticked that I can do Lithuanian accents, fluently."
Reese, what was it like to have to do the kissing scenes with Rob Pattinson, who is so much taller than you are?
Reese: "What’s it like to kiss a tall guy? I don’t know. In the movies, they put you on a box, and then you kiss the tall guy."
Robert: "It was really easy for me. I’ve got quite bad posture and I’ve got a big, heavy head, so it just slumps down, and then she was in the right spot, naturally."
Rob, how was it to do the scenes where you have to shovel the animal poop?
Robert: "I don’t mind working with poop, at all. I have a natural propensity to work on big piles of poop. I’m very familiar with it. I don’t know why I wasn’t grossed out by it, at all. Because everything felt so authentic all the time, you just accept it, as part of the world. The scene where we were in that train car, there were like 10 billion flies. On any other movie, I think I’d be like, 'Let’s just do one take!' But, I was perfectly happy to make a little mound and sit there and eat my lunch."
Rob, was there anything about Jacob's journey in the film that you, personally, could relate to?
Robert: "I don’t know. I guess I had an experience, when I did a Harry Potter film, years ago, and I was just starting to realize that I wanted to be an actor, even though I had already finished three movies, by that point. I remember being in Tokyo and looking out the window and seeing the Tokyo skyline. It made me reflect on what had happened in my life, and I was in awe of what road I had taken, by accident. In terms of being mesmerized by a girl, like he is, I guess that happens."
Water For Elephants Blu-Ray Bonus Features: "Robert Pattinson Spotlight" and "Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon: featurettes; 5 additional featurettes; Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese and Theatrical Trailer; LIVE: Stars of the Circus; Blu-ray Highlight: The Traveling Show: From Page To Screen, Theatrical Trailer; Live Lookup and Digital Copy.
Californication: The Fourth Season
The provocative and popular series about the lustful misadventures of writer Hank Moody (David Duchovny) continues with the release of the Fourth Season of Californication. As Hank, David Duchovny electrifies in his portrayal of a talented writer who salacious behavior causes his life hilariously out of control. After just being hauled off to jail for assaulting the boyfriend of his underage former fling, Hank's life is in complete ruins. Hank's longtime love Karen (Natasha Melon), and their daughter Baca (Madeleine Martin), are both furious with his recklessness. Meanwhile Hank's woes continue as he faces statutory rape charges. However, the scandal surrounding his latest book makes Hank a hot Hollywood commodity in more ways than one, and now Hank must navigate the complicated waters of Tinsel town while trying to keep himself out of the slammer. Bonus Features: Gigolos- episodes 101 & 102; Episodes - episodes 101& 102 and The Borgia’s - episodes 101 & 102.
Warner Bros
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Crazy, Stupid, Love is the perfect combination of sexy and cute is adapted from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman (Cars), and is a critically-acclaimed romantic comedy-drama that follows a man's perfect life unraveling after he discovers his wife is having an affair, turning his whole world upside down. Directed by Glen Fiacre and John Sequa, Crazy, Stupid, Love stars Steve Carrel, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tommie, Kevin Bacon, Emma Stone, Jonah Bubo and Jane Carroll Lynch. Steve Carrel plays Cal Weaver, a straight-laced gut living the dream -- good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. After he discovers his wife is cheating, his life unravels. Cal hasn't dated in years, and he stands out as un-cool. At a local bar, Cal is taken on as the wingman and protégé to the handsome lothario Jacob Palmer (Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal's eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style that can't be found at Supercuts or The Gap. Despite Jacob's advice, he falls for Hannah (Stone) a girl he just can't get out of his head -- maybe because she's the first woman he's ever met who doesn't think this professional player has any game. Bonus Features: "Steve and Ryan Walk Into A Bar" and "The Player Meets His Match" futurities; Deleted Scenes; Ultra Digital Copy and DVD copies.
Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition
The winner of 17 international awards and launching the career of Jeremy Irons, the iconic series returns on Blue-ray with its stellar stunning ensemble cast that also includes Anthony Andrews, Diane Quick, Sir John Gielgud, Claire Bloom and Sir Laurence Olivier. Based on the timeless novel by Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited took a staggering two years to make and is the equivalent of seven feature films back-to-back., Waugh tells the poignant story of romantic yearning and loss set in the world of British aristocracy. The story is told in flashbacks as Irons, an officer in the British Army, is stationed with his company at a remote country home that turns out to be Brides head, a home in which he spent much of his younger years. The stationing triggers a multitude of memories of his youth and young manhood, his loves, life and his journey of faith and anguish. Bonus Features: "Revisiting Brides head" - 2006 documentary and the new Brides head Revisited audio commentary by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg; Two episode commentaries; New photo galleries for each disc (3 Blue-ray) and original companion guide available for download.
Cars 2 Combo
The John Lassoer-directed animated Pixar sequel features a vocal cast including Owen Wilson who reprises his role as a hotshot racecar Lighting McQueen. Larry the Cable Guy provides the voice of Mater (owner of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage), Lightning McQueen’s best friend and the heart and soul of Radiator Springs. Bonnie Hunt is back as Sally, the baby-blue Porsche 911 Carrere whose motor races for Lightning. Michael Canine makes his debut as Finn McMaster, a top British spy who mistakes Mater for an undercover American agent with a genius disguise. Emily Mortimer brings charm, cleverness and cachet as Holley Shift well, a rookie field spy who knows every trick in the manual. Versatile actor John Torture gives a free-wheeling performance as Francesco Bernoulli, the world-renowned Italian champ who is Lightning’s chief rival. Real-life Formula 1 racing champ Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon add a touch of authenticity with their cameos in the film. Bonus Features: “Cars Ton: Air Mater” - new animated short Toy Story Ton - “Hawaiian Vacation” theatrical short and Director's Commentary.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) weaves a contemporary tale with an old-world fable with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Growing up in 19th century China, Lily (Binging Li) and Snow Flower (Gianni Jun) are brought together in a Looting friendship -- a lifelong bond between two women who rely on each other for companionship and comfort. Amid the civil unrest and gender discrimination of the era, the pair deals with life's hardships together until they are separated by marriage and childbirth. As sworn sisters, however, the women continue to communicate through the secret Chinese language of nosh, hiding their stories and messages within the folds of delicate silk fans. In present day Shanghai, the Looting’s descendents Nina and Sophia struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers and complicated love lives. Bonus Features: "The Sworn Sisterhood of the Secret Fan" featured.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Gary Old man and Colin Firth star in the feature film adaptation of John le Care’s classic Cold War era spy drama Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Alec Guinness delivers the performance of a lifetime in his BAFTA-winning role as George Smiley, a retired spymaster recruited to find a mole in the British Intelligence Service. Hailed as one of the finest dramas ever made for television, the 1979 BBC miniseries garnered universal critical acclaim for its stellar ensemble cast, literate writing and intricate plots. (The sequel, Smiley's People, has also just been released). No doubt remains: a mole has infiltrated the Circus, code name for the British Secret Intelligence Service. It can only be one of four men operating at the very highest level. Sidelined agent George Smiley is covertly tapped to root out the mole, a task that requires a painstaking dig through the double-blind world of Cold War-era espionage and his own past. Alec Guinness brilliantly captures the weary heart and steely soul of John le Care’s master spy. Bonus Features: Exclusive interview with John le Care’s; production notes; glossary of main characters and terms; cast bibliographies and le Care’s biography and booklist.
Magic Trip
Ride along with Ken Kasey, author of the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and his legendary "Merry Band of Pranksters," set off on a psychedelic , LSD-fueled journey across America to the World's Fair in New York in the legendary Magic Bus. Written and directed by famed documentarians Alex Gibney (Client 9) and Alison Ellwood (Gonzo), Magic Trip offers an unseen by public look at a treasure trove of paradigms in American counter-culture including On The Road icon Neal Cassady and Poet Alan Ginsberg. In 1964, Kesey and his renegade group of truth-seekers set off on their legendary journey in the Magic Bus. With the intention of making a film about the trip, the group shot hours of footage of the fabled trek on 16MM; however, the documentary never came to fruition and the footage of this incomplete film went unseen for years. Offered unprecedented access to the raw footage from the Kesey family, filmmakers Gibney and Ellwood worked with The Film Foundation, HISTORY and the UCLA Film & Television Archive to restore over 100 hours of film and audiotape. As a result, Magic Trip offers a rarely seen look at an extraordinary time in American history. Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; an uncut audio recording titled Ken Kasey’s First "Trip" and commentary with Gibney and Ellwood.
Warner Bros
Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3
Take one blue and white domestic cat, add once small brown house mouse. Mix a handful of chases, stir in a few falling anvils and top with one brutish bulldog named Spike and it will yield 14 delightful cartoons. This fast and funny collection rises to the occasion with a crazy camping trip (Vanquished), a chase through a carnival's haunted house (Spook House Mouse), an Alaskan adventure (Northern Light Fish Fight) and an encounter with an abominable snow rodent (Snow Mouse). But the most outrageous moment of all comes when Tom and Jerry set aside their differences and join forces against beachhead Spike and Butch in Beach Bully Bingo. Endless fun is the main course served up in this new all-family feast of animated fun. To visit the Official Site, click to And if you want to see scenes from this hilarious DVD, go to or
Roswell: The Aliens Attack
Science Fiction and scientific fact collide with a vengeance in this riveting sci-fi thriller starring Steven Flynn and Kate Greenhouse. The year is 1947 and something has crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico. At the charred site, the U.S. military makes a startling discovery: two small, gray bodies with long, narrow fingers, misshapen heads and dark slits for eyes and mouths. The creatures are quickly retrieved and sent to the base. However, what they captured are merely decoys. The true threat is walking around free. They may look and sound human, but they're on a chilling mission: to seize control of Earth and then annihilate mankind.
Rawhide The Fourth Season, Volume Two
Rawhide was a rough and tough, action-packed adventure series starring Eric Fleming as trail box Gil Favor, with a break-out role from Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates, Gil's rugged, right-hand man. The series follows two characters as they lead a 3,000-head herd of cattle across the west through many brutal situations. Relive the action and adventure of the classic TV Western Rawhide with the release of the second volume of Season Four. Bonus Features: Episodic Preview for "The Pitchman"; Episodic Preview for "The Devil and the Deep Blue" and extra episode from Season 5: "Abilene.”
Strawberry Shortcake: Bright Lights, Big Dreams
Arriving just in time for the holidays, our deliciously sweet girl next door takes a new turn in Bright Lights, Big Dreams. It’s time to dazzle and dream with Strawberry and her friends as they compete for some berry special prizes. Whether it’s spinning and twirling in the annual dance-off, or beating a world record, there is nothing these girls can’t try. But when the road to success seems overwhelming, they soon discover that the real key to being a winner is just having
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