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Robert Pattinson Talks Water for Elephants and More!

Apr 03, 2011

By: Lynn Barker

In Santa Monica, Kidzworld is meeting with Twilight hunk Rob Pattinson to chat about his 1930’s era Circus romance movie Water for Elephants.

Rob looks casual and very cute in a gray buttoned-down shirt and jeans as he lets us know how much he loved the exciting set and the whole “end of the Wild West” 1930’s era in America. He’s spilling on kissing Reese, making great friends with an elephant and how he relates to his character. Check it out!

Rob Pattinson as JacobRob Pattinson as Jacob

Kidzworld: Rob, what was the impression you got from reading the book that made you want to do a film adaptation?

  • Robert Pattinson: I think I’ve just always had a bit of an affinity for that era. I always wanted to do a movie around that time. And, I think it was just very solid, how she (book author Sara Gruen) created the world there. I just wanted to be a part of it.

Kidzworld: We’ve just met Tai, the gorgeous elephant who plays Rosie in the film. What was it like to work with her?

  • Robert: I wasn’t scared at all. There was only one moment, when we first saw the whole herd together and Gary, Tai’s trainer said, “Sit,” literally as if he were talking to a dog and she sat down in exactly the same way a dog would. It’s totally incomprehensible when you see that. I basically decided to do the movie, at that point. I hadn’t read the script or anything (he laughs). It’s very powerful to think that you can have a relationship with these huge beasts.

Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in Water For ElephantsRob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in Water For Elephants

Kidzworld: We’ve heard it said that the elephant took quite a liking to you. How does an elephant flirt?

  • Robert: I don’t know who started this thing. I’ve been asked about it all day. It sounds disturbing. I didn’t flirt with the elephant. I think I had a relationship with the elephant, but it was based purely on candy. I strategically placed mints. You’d suck a peppermint for a bit, and then stick it onto your body, under my armpits and covering my entire chest, and not 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!” But, I think she was just sniffing around for a treat.

Rob with an elephantRob with an elephant

Kidzworld: What was it like to do the kissing scenes with Reese Witherspoon, who is about a foot shorter than you are?

  • Robert: It’s really easy for me. I’ve got quite bad posture and I’ve got a big, heavy head, so it just slumps down and she was in the right spot, naturally.

Kidzworld: You have to shovel elephant poop. How gross was that?

  • Robert: Working with poop. I don’t mind at all. I have a natural propensity to work on big piles of poop (he laughs). No! I don’t know why I wasn’t grossed out by it, at all. Because everything felt so authentic all the time, you just accept it as just part of the world. The scene where we were in that train car, there were like 10 million flies. On any other movie, I think I’d be like, “Aaaaaa [let’s do] one take!” But, I was perfectly happy to make a little mound and sit there and eat my lunch.

Kidzworld: What do you key into to become a person from another time? Is it the wardrobe or the sets or…?

  • Robert: There was a comprehensive creation of the world. I’ve never worked on anything so [complete]. There was an embankment with a train track on the top. All the trailers were on one side and then the circus world on the other. Once you walked over the tracks, there would be a camera but that was the only thing from the 21st Century.
    You could stand on the tracks and look over everything, and you were in the ‘30s. We were out in the middle of the desert in Fillmore (California) and there was nothing else around. There was an orchard. You’re in the ‘30s. Jack Fisk, the production designer used authentic (circus) pegs and ropes. Every single thing which built the world was all totally real. Authentic period underpants do actually help, as well. I actually wore them every single day. Jacqueline West, the costume designer, was unbelievable some of the stuff (she created). Almost everything was real. Every pair of jeans were all from the ‘20s and ‘30s. It was crazy.

Lynn Barker with Tai, Rob's costarLynn Barker with Tai, Rob's costar

Kidzworld: What do you love so much, about that time period?

  • Robert: There’s a wildness to it. I think that’s why I like that period. After that, it’s just white picket fences then it gets progressively more boring. But, it’s the end of the Wild West. It’s why kids still want to be cowboys, even in England.

Kidzworld: In the film, your character Jacob lies about having his vet license to get a job in the circus. Have you ever lied to get an acting job?

  • Robert: Oh, yeah, all the time. I don’t know if there’s the same thing in America, but there’s a thing called the Spotlight Form in England, where you have all your talents and accents and everything. You just tick (check off) these boxes, saying what you’re capable of as an actor. I just tick everything. I can do any accent in the world. I can literally do any technical skill. I think it’s still like that. I ticked that I can do Lithuanian accents, fluently.

Kidzworld: Was there anything about your character Jacob Jankowski’s journey in the film that you could personally relate to?

  • Robert: I don’t know. I guess I had an experience, when I did a Harry Potter film, years ago, I was just starting to realize that I wanted to be an actor, even though I had already finished three movies, by that point. I remember being in Tokyo and looking out the window and the Tokyo skyline made me reflect on what had happened in my life, and I was in awe of what road I had taken, by accident. Yeah, and in terms of looking at girls and being mesmerized by them (like Jacob is with Reese’s character), I guess that happens.

Rob Pattinson and Reese WitherspoonRob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon