Water for Elephants (2011) Poster


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Sara Gruen wrote the novel 'Water for Elephants' as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Hal Holbrook had been recently widowed of his wife in real life when he filmed his scenes.
Channing Tatum, Kyle Gallner, Anthony Fitzgerald, Andrew Garfield and Emile Hirsch all auditioned for the role of Jacob Jankowski.
Sean Penn was cast but dropped out and was replaced by Christoph Waltz.
Scarlett Johansson turned down the role of Marlena.
In a deleted scene of Vanity Fair (2004), Reese Witherspoon plays Robert Pattinson's mother. In Water for Elephants (2011), they play lovers.
Both Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson have starred in different movies titled Twilight; Witherspoon's being in 1998 and Pattinson's being in 2008.
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The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The spike and chain is a method used to condition young elephants. Shackled to a short chain with the spike driven into the ground, the young elephant struggles until it breaks the skin around its shackled leg. That painful memory is used to control the full grown elephant, even though it could easily pull out the spike as an adult. Rosie accepts Jacob by giving him the spike and ultimately kills August with the same.

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