From Los Angeles Times:
On the last day of shooting “Water for Elephants,” Reese Witherspoon was so upset that she broke down in tears. She hadn’t been that saddened by a movie wrapping in years, the actress said, but she had become particularly attached to one costar: an 8,800-pound elephant named Tai.
“The day I had to say goodbye to her, I wept all day,” Witherspoon admitted. “It was one of the most extraordinary filmmaking experiences of my life. You work with actors and directors, but to have this nonverbal complete relationship with an animal that we were all very connected to was very magical.”
Based on a bestselling historical novel released in 2006, the film, due out April 22, centers on a former veterinary school student named Jacob ( Robert Pattinson), who falls for circus performer Marlena (Witherspoon). Because of the characters’ shared affinity for the big top, both actors had to be comfortable interacting with a variety of animals — horses, camels, and, of course, elephants.
Before production began, director Francis Lawrence planned a meeting with the stars and Tai at the 10-acre Perris, Calif., elephant ranch where she lives.
“I’ll be honest — I did use a trip down to see the elephants as a bit of bait for the actors,” Lawrence joked.
It worked. Witherspoon felt so at ease with Tai that she quickly attempted an elaborate mount, in which the elephant lifted the actress with only its trunk.
“They had her pick me up, and I just screamed,” she said. “She could crush you, but she knows the exact amount of pressure to put on you.”
On set, though, some of the other animals made her jittery.
Click HERE to read more about Tai and the WFE animals. GREAT read 🙂