PLEASE NOTE: Normally, this isn’t our protocol but the photos and story shared here were given in the expressed wish that they remain here. Please do not copy and repost the pictures elsewhere. If you’d like, you can excerpt sections of the story and redirect.
Now on with the show! Find out about the lucky set soldier who got to go ON set. Yes, ON set, as well as how they met many people from the cast and crew. Lovely pictures of Rob, Christoph, Francis, roustabouts, Kinko, Queenie, vintage cars, the choo choo, circus wagons, zebras, camels, and the fabulous set soldiers of Piru & Fillmore! PHEW!
All this WFE goodness after the jump!
When I went out to set on day 2 of filming, I met a girl named Jazmin. She had been there all day and night on day 1 and was planning to repeat this for day 2. She seemed liked the fan to talk to because she had no problems asking the security guards questions and being very frank with them. I liked that. It got answers to reasonable questions. It was Jazmin that made me coin the phrase set soldier a couple weeks later. I kept in contact with her during filming and would see on her twitter how each day, every day of filming, this group of people would weather the heat (day) and the cold (night) out of their love for Rob and Water For Elephants.
After waiting over two weeks, the set soldiers got their wish and met Rob late one night after filming. You’ll recognize that picture when you see it below. It was that encounter that made me come up with set soldier. I was impressed with the dedication. They were in the trenches of Piru and Fillmore waiting and hoping to get a glimpse of the star. Little did they know, this whole experience would become bigger than just catching a glimpse.
I was so happy for Jazmin and all the other set soldiers. Just as I knew who they were, they knew who I was and they planned to share their experience with our blog when filming wrapped. Well it’s about that time isn’t it 😉 Jazmin is the main spokesperson for the group but she consulted with several to make sure they agreed with her retelling. Let’s start with the day her world flipped upside down:
There is no better cure to the flu then finding out that Robert Pattinson is coming to your town. That Monday morning, I remember laying in bed feeling sick and not having any energy to do anything. So while laying in bed, bored, I decided to do some browsing on our county website. I come across an article talking about filming in Fillmore. Filming in our town is nothing new, We’re pretty much used to seeing filming crews here. I start to scan the article and my eyes immediately catch the words “The lead roles are played by Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz, “Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson, and Emmy and Tony winner Hal Holbrook.”
My reaction: WHATTTTT!!! (*BAM* I hit the floor) followed by loud screams. I don’t know how many times I re-read that sentence. I have no control over my hands. They won’t stop shaking but I make them work as fast as I can to call my sisters (by the way not one of them answered). The best feeling came over me and I knew I had to try and meet him. I never thought I would ever have the chance to get a glimpse of him but having him so close to home there was no way I was going to miss the chance. Little did I know the adventure I was about to get into.
Of course after all that I feel 100% better. Another surprise was I already had a copy of Water For Elephants at my house. My mom had read it and when I told her that they were filming the movie here in town, she was pretty excited too. Immediately I started reading the book. I feel like I was extremely lucky to be reading the book and then go to the set and see it all come to life.
Kinker Tink: How many days did you visit the sets of WFE?
Jazmin: In all honesty I lost count on how many days it was exactly but it was a whole lot more then I ever planned on. Monique was the number one set soldier! She was there for 41 days! Day & night! Marcella and Alison, they were troopers too! They were there a majority of the time and pulled all nighters.
Kinker Tink: What is the average amount of time you would spend on set?
Jazmin: On a good day it was between 4-5 hours and that’s when I finally caught on to the schedule and figured out the best times to be there. Some of us would be there all day! From call time till they wrapped for the day.
Kinker Tink: What was your longest day?
Jazmin: The longest day would have to be 16 hours straight. I must have been in survival mode! Lol I didn’t have to use the restroom once! I was never brave enough to go to an all nighter. I would go out for a while but wouldn’t stay the whole time. When they had night shoots some of our set soldiers were having all nighters too! 6pm till 6 am!!!
Kinker Tink: What does an average day for a set soldier look like?
Jazmin: When you arrive to the set, first thing you have to do is a find a good parking spot! Depending on the set, it was difficult to find a good parking spot. We park on sides of roads, between orange orchards. We were lucky when we finally could park and sit next to our cars! Second, we had to carry our chairs, books, magazines, cameras, signs, sun block, snacks, drinks, etc. It was like a day camping trip! Third, we set up where we were going to wait and get the best view from. Plus find out what was happening on set to see if our main stars were there. After that it was just a waiting game! To pass the time we would talk and gossip. It was really so much fun!
Kinker Tink: Did you meet any of the crew?
Jazmin: Yes we got to meet a lot of the crew. They were always so nice to us. Wishing us luck and always trying to help us out.
Kinker Tink: Did anyone ever address you as a set soldier?
Jazmin: By the crew we were known as the Fillmore girls. Not a name some of us liked. But when a new person would show up and asked how long we have been there and we let them know, they would say, “oh you must be a set soldier!”
Kinker Tink: Did you get to meet any extras?
Jazmin: We did get to meet some of the extras in the movie!! They were the nicest people! We asked them to sign our books and if we could take pictures with them. They were always so nice. When they were all wrapped for the day, as they would leave, they would always wave goodbye to us! It’s like we grew a bond with them!
Kinker Tink: Did you meet any of the principal stars?
Christoph: He was the first star we met. He was always so nice and would wave as he came and left. When we finally got the courage to ask him for autographs he was so nice and was grateful that we were there supporting the movie! He is such a handsome man. We all know he is going to do a great job as August!
Resse: We never really got the chance to meet her but she did wave a couple of times. We got to see her as she would leave and wave. She looked so beautiful with her hair all in curls. I had a pretty cool experience with her. When I was waiting by the gate, as her car came, I had a sign saying “Reese will you please sign my book” and I saw her read my sign, smile and made an expression of “awww”. LOL it was cool. She had her children with her that day so I understood why she didn’t stop.
Robert: The first time we all got a good look at him was at the Piru set. As he was leaving for the day, we saw his car come out as it usually does with its darker then dark tinted windows!! But this time one of the windows was down in the back and my heart hit the floor!! It got so quite as he passed by us…we were all in shock!!! So here comes his car and out from the window is Rob! With the best smile in the world and he laughs and waves to us! Wowww…of course we did wave and say hello back when the oxygen finally got to our brain again. But that was our first Rob success!
The second time we had a Rob moment was when they came back to Fillmore. This time we had better luck! The day before they were going to finish wrapping in Fillmore, as usual we were all waiting by the gate and we see his car leaving. As it slowly approaches again we see it with his window down and there he is again. This time he is practically hanging out the window! Again with a great smile. He waves but this time he speaks!! LOL He says to us “hey guys!” ahhh in his accent omg.. sooo sexy LOL. This time one of the fans was quick enough to catch a picture of him so our memory can last a little longer! (Kinker Tink: note picture above with the Vanity Fair magazine.) Again we celebrate a success!
This time was a little more special to me because my sister had flown in from Utah and I was happy that we got to share this experience together. It was great because her trip was well worth it which brings me to my third Rob success. It was the final day they were going to be here in town and I knew this was going be it! It was the longest day I had ever spent on the set. When I arrived I was the only one there but as they day get later more and more fans showed up. That day was a late shoot but I stayed there strong! Not leaving for any reason! As the day turns into night some people leave. About 11pm or maybe a little later, the security asked us to move to the other side of the lot were there is more light and we are put behind yellow caution tape.
We keep waiting. The fans looked a little more organized and we weren’t being loud. At one point, a crew member came out who worked close with Rob and talked to us to see what he could do, see if Rob could come out. Then we see Dean, Rob’s personal security guard, come out and talk to us and see what was going on. He then told us that there was no way Rob would come out if there were any paparazzi. So immediately I run up to the only pap that was there and asked him to please leave so he wouldn’t ruin our opportunity to meet Rob. He was cool with it. It get’s later and more fans leave. Were sitting there waiting and waiting. We keep hearing over the walkie talkie that they’re on the final shot but it seems like forever. It’s pretty chilly out so we stayed warm with blankets! (thanks to Marcella for letting me and my sis use one. I don’t know if I could have made it the whole night without it.)
Finally it’s down to like 15 people. We see Rob’s car coming off the set and go into the base camp but within 5 minutes, comes back out and leaves! My heart hit the floor! I was so upset but I decided to wait a couple of minutes and see what happened. After a minute we see his car come back!!! Ahhh and after a few minutes we see it driving out with the back windows down again. There he was again but this time I knew I had to speak up and I asked him if he could please get out and sign autographs…he did! He got out and signed autographs and took pictures!!! He was so nice and funny. He seems so shy. Oh and fyi he has the softest hands everrr!! (Kinker Tink: *thud*) I couldn’t honestly believe he was right there in front of me! It was so crazy!! The countless days and hours I spent waiting had finally paid off!!! The only down to it was that not all of my fellow set soldiers were there to experience it with me but I knew filming was not over yet!! They would still have the chance to see him.
Final day of filming came and we were so sad that our adventure was coming to an end. Some of our soldiers still haven’t gotten the chance to meet Rob. So another waiting game. We waited until they finished wrapping here in LA…it was a long night! With so much drama that went on that night from fighting with the paps and almost car crashes we didn’t know if it was going to happen but there we were, all of our original set soldiers, waiting for the chance to see Rob one final time before he left to TN. We waited a few minutes after we saw his car leave back to base camp and about 15 minutes later, there came his car! As it was approaching, I was holding up a sign to get his attention. It read “41 out of 50 days! Thank you for this wonderful experience.”
His car came to a stop sign. We were there holding our breaths waiting to see if he was finally going to come out and say hello. After a lonnnnng wait or so it seemed, here came the beautiful man walking around the car and saying hey. He walks right up to me and says, “Let me see your sign. I couldn’t read it from so far away.”…. And I just about died LOL! He was so happy and said thanks for being there supporting. He couldn’t believe we had been there so long for him. We all got our pictures and autographs and we chatted with him for a while. He is so down to earth and humble. To this day I can still feel his arms around me!! And im sure my fellow set soldiers feel the same way.
Another cool thing was that I asked him to sign a copy of ‘Remember Me’ and he said he had no idea it had cameout on dvd yet! After about 10 minutes or so he said goodbye. We celebrated! Finally a mission complete!!!
We also got to meet Kinko/Walter! He was very friendly and such a nice guy. We also got to meet uggy who is going to play Queenie!! He is so cute and his handler got him to do some tricks for us.
Kinker Tink: What was the most memorable moment as a set soldier?
Jazmin: The best part of this whole ‘Water For Elephants’ experience was the friends that I made. It made the whole thing so much more fun. There were days when I would just go to the set to hang out. Before this, I didn’thave many friends who were into the same things I was (Rob <3). Also, the most memorable moment was when all my friends who were there from the beginning of the whole adventure got to meet Rob. The final night is what I will remember most. It was a mission accomplished. I will never forget the faces of my friends when they finally saw Mr. Pattinson walk out of his car.
Monique: Many memorable moments. Getting to make all my new friends. Making friends with the crew, having the all nighters on the set, and of course meeting ROB!!
Evan: Making new friends and everyone talking about their experience meeting stars, and also meeting ROB!
Kinker Tink: final words?
Jazmin: I was also really lucky to actually get a tour of the Piru set. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life to be on an actual movie set. It is breathtaking. Tears actual came to my eyes. It was like begin in a actual cirus. The colors, the lights, the animals were amazing We also got a sneek at Marlena on top of Rosie!!! She was so beautiful from her curls and her shiny outfit…it was amazing!! And Rosie is such a doll!! I never got a real close look at her but from where I was, it was the coolest thing. We got to see the crowds cheering and Marlena performed. We also got to see the lion and this was no toothless lion!! It had a full mouth of teeth as it decided to show us! The movie set was down to a tee!! Popcorn and candy included!
Kinker Tink: some final words 😉
Jazmin mentioned she was amazed by how far people traveled to come see the set and try and catch glimpses of the leads. This sounds like a real circus 😉 People traveling from far and wide: Kentucky, Montana, Utah, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Florida, Canada, Germany, and Turkey!
Set soldiers, you are relieved of your duty!
Thank you, Jazmin for sharing the adventure with our readers. It was a pleasure meeting you and I’m glad I saw you again to give you a button. Kind of a badge of honor for your time in the service. LOL ok…I’m getting carried away.
Thank you to all the original set soldiers for sharing your pictures and story: Monique, Evan, Casey, Marcella, Allison, Kristen, and Taylor…Jazmin said you were the ones that stuck it til the end!
At ease soldiers, at ease 😉
SOURCE: All photos and story belong to the set soldiers mentioned above.