‘Water for Elephants’ Script Secret: The Stampede

For those of you who have not yet read ‘Water for Elephants,’ chances are you’re looking at your Twitter cross-eyed and wondering “Stampede? What stampede are they talking about?” In our first script secret, we’ll take a look at the stampede scene by excerpting a little to give you an idea of what’s being filmed this week. We absolutely can’t wait for this scene in the movie.

For the sake of not spoiling it for those who don’t like spoilers (not me, I freakin’ love spoilers!) please do not read past this point if you want to keep your WFE v-card.

So you’re still with me? This means you like to sneak a peek at your Christmas presents before Christmas Day, right? Yay!

Imagine this coming at you inside a circus tent!

Let’s dive in to the stampede!

INT. MENAGERIE TENT – CONTINUOUS – NIGHT
Jacob shoots through the tent flap and is immediately flung
up against the sidewall as:
THE YAK THUNDERS PAST HIM, HIS HORN INCHES FROM JACOB, THE HYENA ON HIS BACK.
Jacob looks to the menagerie and faces;
A FULL FLEDGED STAMPEDE:
– ALL THE ANIMAL DENS ARE OPEN.
– CREATURES OF EVERY SORT…CHIMP, ORANGUTAN, LLAMAS, ZEBRA, LION, GIRAFFE, CAMEL AND HORSES… RUN IN A MAD TERROR AS THEY SCREECH, SCREAM, SWING, WHINY AND ROAR…
– MONKEYS ARE SWINGING ON ROPES, SLITHERING UP POLES
– THE CENTER CONCESSION STAND IS CRUSHED UNDER FOOT.
– A TOWERING POLAR BEAR SLASHES WITH HIS SKILLET-SIZED PAWS, MAKING CONTACT WITH THE LLAMA, KNOCKING IT FLAT.
– THE ORANGUTAN RUNS THROUGH THE STAMPEDE DIRECTLY TO JACOB AND CLUTCHES ONTO JACOB’S LEG. JACOB MOVES TO PICK HER UP WHEN BOBO SWINGS FROM A ROPE AND JUMPS ONTO JACOB’S BACK.
– THE PANTHER MAKES IT’S WAY THROUGH THE CONNECTED WALKWAY TO THE BIG TOP AUDIENCE.
– SECONDS LATER, AUDIENCE SCREAMS OF TERROR ARE HEARD. THE CROWD EXPLODES THROUGH THE BIG TOP, TRAMPLING OVER FELLOW AUDIENCE MEMBERS…THEY CHARGE INTO THE MENAGERIE ONLY TO FACE THE STAMPEDE..
– THE MASS OF ANIMALS CHANGE DIRECTIONS AND THERE IS AN INTERSPECIES FLOCK; LIONS, LLAMAS AND ZEBRAS RUNNING SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE CHIMPS AND ORANGUTANS..A HYENA SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH A TIGER…TWELVE HORSES AND A GIRAFFE WITH A SPIDER MONKEY ON IT’S NECK…THE POLAR BEAR NOW ON ALL FOURS, CHARGING…ALL OF THEM HEADING FOR THE CROWD OF PEOPLE…
– THE CROWD SHIFTS, RIOTING BACK INTO THE BIG TOP. CLOGGING THE ENTRANCE…PEOPLE BANGING ON THE BACKS OF THOSE IN FRONT OF THEM..
– THE CLOG BURSTS. PEOPLE AND ANIMALS FLEE IN EVERY DIRECTION…
– A BENGAL TIGER FORCES ITSELF BETWEEN A WOMAN’S LEGS, SWEEPING HER TO THE GROUND…

I tried to find a photo to do this scene justice, but there’s really nothing out there. But just IMAGINE being at a modern day circus with your family and the entire cast of animals going APE and running loose! Can you visualize the insanity?!

Back to business. I’m ad-libbing here, but this is the stuff. Now, just after the bengal tiger gets loose, August throws a bull hook and it pierces Jacob’s shoulder. Rosie trumpets “OH HELL TO THE NAW” and starts stomping around ready to defend her bestie. Marlena uses Rosie as a shield. August uses the bull hook to actually pull Jacob toward him (holy crap, we are going to see Rob acting in some serious pain!) and they rumble and tumble, taking turns whooping on each other. Marlena watches on helpless. Rosie is having none of it and girlfriend pulls her stake up out of the ground and marches over to August. This is when we, the readers and viewers, taste SWEET REVENGE and Rosie takes the stake and slams it down on August’s head, splitting it open like a watermelon. #TEAMROSIE That’s my GIRL right there!

So how excited are you for this scene?

Source: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS BY RICHARD LAGRAVENESE BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SARA GRUEN SECOND DRAFT REVISED APRIL 16, 2009.

Via: A big thanks to ScriptShadow, he originally posted the script with his review, it’s since been taken down.

  • feline7267

    Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it for me!!

  • Cintia Figueiredo

    I read the book and I’m really excited to watch the movie! And the stampede!!!

  • Connie

    Just recently finished reading the book and I Loved it, can’t wait for the movie. I enjoyed some of the little things in the book talking about spyder monkey & twlight, not to mention his name is Jacob. lol

  • Elizabeth

    I’m already waiting for the DVD so I can watch it in slow mo.

    Fingers crossed, hoping all goes like it is supposed to!

  • penni

    WOW that scene will be brilliant. Revenge is sweet. Way to go Rosie saving Jacob.

  • Lisa

    Curious to see how August meets his end, since he is filling in for both characters (himself and Uncle Al). Will they go for the split head, or will they go the Uncle Al route and find him four days later crushed under the tent with a noose around his neck. Hmmmmm – that’s one smart elephant.

    • Uncle Al and August roles have been combined for the movie.

      • I was so hoping that would NOT be the official answer, but kind of suspected it was since Sean Penn’s departure. I absolutely LOVED this book, am so hoping they do it justice with movie…. or at least, make sure Rob is really hot.

      • lisa

        Right, so as the characters have been combined, it seems to me that they have two options for finishing off August – he can go out the way he did in the book (via Rosie during the stampede), or he can go the way of Uncle Al via a noose.

  • Vicky Jones

    This was my favorite part of the book and turning point of story. God Bless Rosie! She’s all yours now Jacob! Fabulous book and story! Kudos to Rob Pattinson for taking this role of Jacob in this Awesome Film!

  • passionsonsflower

    The sweet revenge of Rosie!!!I’m gonna love this scene!!! Rosie is like oh hell no!!! Auggie did what to Jacob??!! Hey Auggie say hello to my little friend!!! BLAM!!! Go team Rosie!!! You just got to love her!!!

  • Texasgirl

    Hell to the naw! That is funny…but really Rosie could be thinking that!!! But that is exactly what she was doing….mean August got what he deserved! it was humane and very quick!!!!

  • GlassGirl1972

    Rosie has def got to split August’s crazy wig. The ending cannot be done justly otherwise. How anti-climatic would THAT be (the noose scenario)??!!

    • lisa

      You’re right, but the noose was creepy.

      • Shanna

        I was so happy to see august get what he deserved!

  • Ali

    I don’t think I like that. In the book August didn’t hit Jacob with the bullhook before Rosie pulled up her stake. Jacob was across the tent yelling no. I don’t understand and I don’t think I want to see this gruesome change. I will likely have my eyes covered if that’s what they are doing. Personally, I don’t see the point in making it more horrific than the scene already is on its own. Also, I would rather see the look on Rob’s face in reaction to August getting his head spit than actually seeing it happen. If they show it, I may need an extra popcorn bucket to throw up in.

    • Agreed! The scene in the book is perfect, it’d be a mistake to gore it up or attempt to give Rosie more motivation than she already had to do August in…

      • Ali

        I know right?! Rosie had PLENTY of motivation already. After all, an elephant never forgets. 🙂

  • christa64c

    This part in the book had me whooping for joy and biting my fingernails all at the same time. Rosie gets her revenge and Jacob gets the girl. This scene will be amazing on the big screen. Rob is going to “kill it”!

  • Angye

    Awwwww the history in the book, is very very great , I loved

    I love robert, i want see this movie now!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Angye

    don´t can speak english. I mexicana. but i loved your blog. I visit your page every time what can

    sorry, my english is very pathetic. Oh Sorry.

  • Caty

    im not surprised they changed alot of this stuff. because evewn alot of the actors said it was just “based” on the book. i understand and can still picture this being one of the most amazing ending in cinema history! seriously 🙂

  • Kenzie childress

    I just know Robert will pull off the pain part.

  • me

    Agreed, there is no fight during the stampede between August and Jacob in the book. It almost sounds like a “script doctor” tacked-on moment to pump up the action. When Jacob witnesses what Rosie does from across the tent, the audience knows why she’s done it, the motivation is already established. UNLESS, in previous scenes there’s no abuse to Rosie by August, then they would need to give that motivation during the stampede. But if not then the August character isn’t as fully formed, or so it would seem.

    • Lisa

      August and Jacob fight earlier in the book – a few days after the speakeasy incident. August beats Rosie badly after he finds out about the lemonade, so she’s got good reason for revenge. What’s so great about this in the book, is that the book starts with the stampede, and when Jacob watches “her” lift the stake, you automatically think he’s referring to Marlena – great twist in the end.

      • Connie

        yes I loved the twist in it. With the changes I hope Camel & Walter do not die in the movie or I will be boohooing, like I did reading the book. August deserved what he got, glad everyone got their revenge on him & Al.

      • Ali

        I liked that twist as well. Rosie certainly had enough motivation on her own. No need for the extra gore.

      • Texasgirl

        Guys as sad as it is…Camel and Walter have to die…it will be so sad! But when Jacob comes back and finds they aren’t there he realizes it is because of him that they died. Showing the heartless and cowardly behavior of August. In this case the gore is necessary. I want to jump in the scene and whack August myself. Ya’ll will be okay with the blood. I would be mad if they didn’t show it…Rosie is the man…uh, I mean girl!!!

  • Debbie

    I just read WFE and what strikes me about that scene is that Jacob and another guy are alerted to the trouble because the band plays “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” The Benzini Bros. crew calls it the “Disaster March.” That is a great scene, especially since Rosie shows how smart she really is.

  • kath

    This film is eagerly anticipated it will be a cinematical extravaganza of which we have not seen the like before. While some poetic licence will be adopted [nothin new there] it appears the main frame of the story remains intact. I am so excited for this movie it has a stellar cast and should be amazing. Bring it on.

  • Alexandria

    Way to go Rossie, good for you!!! I cannot wait for that scene, specially with all those wild animals on the loose, and Jacob and Marlena in the middle of all that…I loved the intensity of the description we read on the book, and hope that the movie will be able to capture it… it is going to be great!!!

  • Roblover

    I’ve read the book and loved it. I love this scene and I love Rosie’s revenge. I am looking forward to this movie. Thanks for the blog. I just found it.

  • Secret

    The stampede part sounds really good. Can’t wait to get to that part in the book.

  • *biggest fist pump evah* SPIDER MONKEY FTMFW!!!

  • KittyC

    I read the script b4 it was removed and if I remember, Rosie does the deed with the stake splittin’ August’s skull and then walks back and puts the stake back in the ground. I haven’t read the book yet, and I don’t remember anything about Uncle Al and a noose in the script. I am an animal rights activist and am much too knowledgeable about the abuse circus animals and especially elephants endure their entire sad lives for the sake of human entertainment, so I haven’t been wanting to read a book with descriptions of an elephant being beaten and abused. Many of my elephant activist friends have read it and say it’s great how Rosie gets her revenge, but I’m still not sure. The script didn’t have as much of Rosie being beaten. And elephants absolutely are highly intelligent and they do not forget. Many of the instances of elephants going berserk and killing their trainers are instances of lifelong abuse and they just snap. They do not try to kill the audience or “innocent bystanders”, they always go for the ones that have abused and beaten them for their whole lives.

  • Courtney

    All i need to know is… does Rosie die in the movie????? Pls someone tell me??? I can’t watch if so. Im obsessed with elephants and it would destroy me if i went to see it and that happened.