USA Today talked to Sara Gruen about the upcoming release of her new novel, Ape House, and the mega-watt success of Water for Elephants. There’s also a great video of Sara interacting with bonobo apes. But my favourite bit is Sara talking about filming the parade with Rob. Here’s an excerpt:
“He’s wearing me out,” Gruen says with a laugh, “but the apes are my friends and I’m happy to see them again. They know who I am. They’re clearly able to have long-term loving relationships both with apes and people.”Gruen is visiting again with the seven bonobos who live here — including 3-month-old Teco — and taking breaks to talk about what’s shaping up to be an eventful year.
Ape House, which will be published by Spiegel & Grau ($26) with a first printing of 200,000 copies, will set in motion a cross-country book tour that begins here in Des Moines.
And the film version of Water for Elephants, her third novel, the one that has brought her international fame and fortune, is now in post-production. It’s the story of a Depression-era traveling circus and a love affair between a veterinarian (Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson) and an entertainer (Reese Witherspoon). The film is scheduled for release next April.
Gruen says her success with Elephants was as unpredictable as a lightning strike. “It was as big a surprise to me as it was to anyone else,” she says. “My goal was always to make enough money to write the next book. Maybe it hit something people needed or wanted at that particular time. If I knew what it was, I’d do it again every time.”
When it was reprinted in paperback, Water for Elephants rose to No. 4 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list. There are 2.9 million copies in print, but publisher Algonquin expects that number to soar in March with the release of a new movie tie-in paperback (likely with Pattinson’s handsome face on the jacket).
Remembering a time with Tai the elephant
Sara Gruen gets a star turn in the film version of her novel Water for Elephants, now in post-production.
She got to meet stars Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Just as thrilling was being lifted into the air by Tai the elephant, who depicts circus elephant Rosie in the movie, due April 15.
“Her trainer told me to hug her trunk,” says Gruen, “so I did, and suddenly I was 7 feet in the air. She gave me many kisses, probably because I always carry mints for my horses, so I was slipping her candy every time I got a chance.”
Gruen, her husband and three sons were cast as extras in a scene in which the circus performers and animals parade down the streets in Weehawken, N.J.
“We retook that scene I think 18 times,” Gruen recalls. “I’m the one Rob Pattinson (who plays veterinarian Jacob Jankowski) elbows past and says, ‘Excuse me, ma’am’ to.”
As for Christoph Waltz, who plays an abusive animal trainer, Gruen says: “I watched a scene being filmed when he was ‘beating’ Rosie. From the side of the road, it was very obvious that he wasn’t going anywhere near her, but from behind the bank of monitors, it was extremely convincing.”
Thank you to reader @lolo8858 for the tip. You can read the rest of the article and see the video HERE!
Ape House goes on sale September 7th and you can pre-order by clicking the Ape House button in the sidebar. And don’t forget!! When we hit 8000 followers on Twitter we are giving out a Water for Elephants gift pack which will include a copy of WFE, Ape House, Team Rosie tote and button!!