Given the talent pedigree of the film, which was directed by “I Am Legend” helmer Francis Lawrence, it would seem a smart choice for Pattinson to take on the more “adult” role opposite Witherspoon and Waltz, though the actor certainly wasn’t about to admit to that kind of career calculation to a room full of image-burnishing journalists (he needs to stay “relatable”, after all). He’d rather have us believe he accepted the part merely for the opportunity to work with “Ty” (in the film she’s named ”Rosie”), the trained elephant who in the film is purchased by August to help boost his traveling show’s anemic ticket sales.
“I basically decided to do the movie at that point”, said the elegantly-rumpled Pattinson of first meeting the pachyderm, who’d earlier been on display outside the swanky Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica where the press conference was being held. “I hadn’t read the script or anything!” Luckily he wasn’t on the panel for Pattinson to unintentionally offend screenwriter Richard LaGravenese – only Lawrence, Waltz, and Witherspoon, the latter speaking in that slight Tennessee drawl as she described her own first encounter with the enormous animal.
“Francis and I went out and visited Ty probably three months before shooting, or four months before shooting, and [he] brought a camera. [Laughs] And I was like, ‘why [is he bringing] a camera?’ And then he took pictures of me, every moment, the first experiences I had of meeting her”, the actress recounted. “Then he sent me the pictures, and I was like ‘oh my gosh!’…I looked terrified, basically.”
“You were?” Pattinson asked her, seemingly dumbfounded.
“Oh, the first time I was terrified, yeah”, she answered. “I screamed!”
“That’s strange”, he replied blankly, as if being nervous around an animal capable of crushing a human being in a matter of seconds somehow defied all reason.
Or maybe he was just sticking up for his lady. After all, rumors had started circulating that Pattinson and his 9,000 pound costar developed something of a special love connection during filming.
“This is really strange, I don’t know who started this thing”, remarked the actor, as if he’d just ridden a time machine back to 2009 and was once again addressing rumors about dating Kristen Stewart. “I’ve been asked about it all day. It sounds really disturbing! Like [I’ve] been flirting with the elephant. I don’t know…I think I had a relationship with the elephant, [but] it was kind of based purely on candy. I strategically placed mints, like, [I] suck[ed] on a peppermint for a bit and then stick it onto [my] body, like into my armpits…and [I didn’t] 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!’ [Laughs.] But yeah, I think she was just sniffing around for a treat.”
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