WFE Big Top Archive 1~

April 22, 2012 ~ Water for Elephants, the Film – One year later: Water for Elephants opened in USA theaters one year ago today… Instead of it being Sunday it was Friday and I specifically asked for the day off from work so I could take in the matinee (12:00pm-ish) showing. On that day my personal exchange between director Francis Lawrence and myself went like this – My Twitter message to @Hibbits: “Sitting in my local theater waiting for the film to begin!”…. Approximately two hours later I continued my message to Francis : “I really wish that I could give you a huge hug! I’m so blown away right now I can hardly form coherent thoughts! I actually  began to tremble as the film began and pretty much wept through the entire 2 hours. I absolutely LOVED the ‘black and white film’ ending. That ending was the ‘surprise’ that  you tweeted about! WFE is perfect, you made me very happy. Thank you!” @Hibbits responded – “Glad you liked it. Fingers crossed for the weekend numbers.” I responded – “Yes, I’ve been tweeting like crazy urging people to see it this weekend. Will probably go see it again on Sunday.” @Hibbits responded – “Let me know how you like it the second time around…” Needless to say I liked it even more the second viewing as I was less anxious and emotional. For those that have followed my WFE film blog since I began writing it (March 2010) know how much the book and film mean to me and why I was so emotional/excited about seeing the finished product last April. One year later I still cannot quite wrap my head around what it took to write and maintain this film blog… While I love writing and updating the blog with posts, photos and info it did take an unexpected personal toll. One cannot realize how much time and creativity it takes to write, update and maintain a ‘film blog’… On a personal note, I cannot express how much I appreciated @Hibbits kindness and willingness to answer all of our WFE production questions (go back and read his Twitter feed)… He clearly loved this project and wanted to share it with its followers/fans… He was especially kind to me and  granted me a personal phone interview, which I have yet to finish transcribing, (I will finish this!) as well as many of the actors involved with the film who contributed interviews for my blog. I still consider this blog to be a ‘work in progress’, I want to add more. What’s incredible is that I still have ‘search engines’ pointing to my blog for various things. That in of itself is rewarding, that even after the film’s theatrical  release and its subsequent DVD/Blu-ray distribution ‘Water for Elephants’ book and film still remains a topic of interest. Water for Elephants made its HBO debut tonight, hopefully it will reach even more people… I still have three Francis Lawrence signed copies of the Water for Elephants movie cover book that I want to give away.


April 25, 2011 ~ This ‘Big Top’ post will be part ‘Film News’ and part ‘Big Top’, since there is so much to catch up: Water for Elephants opened Friday, April 22, 2011, in approximately 2,800 theaters across the USA. So far the film is doing better than expected at the ‘box office’, which means it’s very successful! The overall consensus is that people are loving the film and have seen it multiple times already and this is just the opening weekend! I am sure that in the coming weeks, through word of mouth, that WFE will gain even more momentum. Also, more success is expected when the film opens Worldwide in the coming weeks…  The NYC premiere held last Sunday (April 17th) was by all accounts very exciting, I have added the photos to Gallery 5 and Videos, if you’d like to catch up. On the way to the NYC premiere Francis Lawrence, @Hibbits, tweeted this lovely message: “On the way to the premiere… Bittersweet… Sad, scared and excited! I really want to thank all of those who have been there for us from the beginning of this. I have never felt so supported by fans of a project in my career… Ever… Thank you!I was very touched by Francis’ heartfelt message, as I am among those that have supported the film from the very beginning when I began writing this film blog more than a year ago… I consider Francis a ‘friend’ at this point, he’s been very supportive of his ‘supporters’… He tweeted throughout the entire filming process and kept us well informed with all of the details… When he finished editing the film and tweeted, “Breaking open the champagne!!! WFE is finished.” I was thrilled, but also felt a bit sad, as it had been such an exciting journey following the filming process… On Friday, opening day, he tweeted, “Thank you for the great reactions today. It means a lot.” One can clearly see how much Francis sincerely appreciates all the love and devotion everyone has shown this film… Once WFE was completed Francis promised me a ‘phone chat/interview’ and we finally had the opportunity to speak on March 15. We spoke for over an hour and so far I’ve only been able to transcribe about half of it, he’s incredibly nice and extremely passionate about film making. Now that the film has premiered I will endeavor to post more of our conversation… Also, If you’d like to read the reviews for Water for Elephants the Robert Pattinson News blog has devoted a post to them with a list of links…

So, on to the very emotional portion of this Big Top post: My reaction to seeing Water for Elephants, the film ~ If you’ve been reading my blog from the very beginning you will know that I absolutely love Sara Gruen’s novel… However, I realize that in order to condense, and I quote Francis, a “14 hour read into a 2 hour film you need to find the ‘heart’ of it”; and that is what Francis and his team have accomplished… Adapting a beloved novel into a screenplay will always be a tricky job, you’ll never please everyone, but Richard LaGravenese’s script managed to fulfill the impossible… He captured the ‘essence’ of Sara’s novel and along with production designer Jack Fisk, costume designer Jacqueline West and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto created a bygone world so rich and authentic that for 2 hours one is literally transported back to Depression Era America, circa 1931, via Sara Gruen’s Circus tale… When I entered the theater for my first viewing of WFE I was literally trembling, uncontrollably. I’ve been following the film so closely and  for so many months I found it hard to control my emotions… With my tissues in hand I pretty much wept through the entire film with my mouth open in awe… Rob Pattinson is in nearly every scene of the film and  completely embodied his character, he ‘is’ Jacob. He has very few lines/dialogue, but delivers a very poignant portrayal of the character mainly through facial expressions that convey more emotion than any dialogue could. He is a total revelation as Jacob… I love Reese Witherspoon’s Marlena, as she is a bit more complex than her book character. Outwardly she seems tougher because of her life experience, but underneath it all she’s still extremely vulnerable. Reese and Rob are believable as two people that have found each other under extraordinary circumstances… Combining the characters of Uncle Al and August gave Christoph Waltz the ’emotional meat’ needed to portray August as a man desperate to hold on to his precarious Circus world and a husband who needs to ‘control’ his personal life… All of the other actors, Mark Povinelli (Kinko), Jim Norton (Camel), Donna Scott (Barbara), Scott MacDonald (Blackie), Ken Foree (Earl), Paul Schneider (Charlie O’Brien), et al., were perfectly cast! I also loved Hal Holbrook in his ‘bookend’ portrayal of ‘older’ Jacob recalling his life… In every scene I tried to notice all of the background actors’, the  Spectacular Circus Wagons and location shots that I wrote about during filming…  The entire film is a ‘feast for the senses’ and I give Francis and his team high praise. James Newton Howard’s haunting score perfectly compliments each scene and weaves a musical thread throughout the film… I watched the film for the second time on Sunday (April 24th), less weepy than the first time, and my initial reaction still holds true… Water for Elephants is an extraordinary film that stays truthful to the book and pays homage to the adult Romantic Drama which is a rarity in today’s film market… During my phone conversation with Francis I asked him which director(s) influenced him and he responded that he was influenced by quite a few directors but Terrence Malick influenced him with regard to Water for Elephants… Terrence directed and Jack Fisk designed one of my favorite films, “Days of Heaven” and I can totally feel Francis’ love for that film and how he modeled Water for Elephants… Francis and his production team made sure that they got all of the details correct from the set design to the costumes, noticeable or not… My particular favorite detail was the ‘surprise’ at the end of Water for Elephants… Francis tweeted about it during re-shoots back in January… I also loved that all of the ‘sideshow performers’, ‘clowns’, ‘circus performers’ and even the ‘animal actors’ received ‘credits’! Francis didn’t forget to include them, which I thought was really lovely… I’ve seen the film twice, but I will definitely see it a couple/few more times before it leaves theaters. There are so many details to discover with each viewing, it’s hard to take it all in… Once everyone has had a chance to see it I will write more about the actual scenes, as I don’t want to ‘spoil’ it…  Francis, Richard, Jack, Jackie, Rodrigo and the entire cast and crew have created a movie that is on its way to becoming a ‘film classic’… Thank you!

March 9, 2011 ~ To commemorate Water for Elephants film being ‘officially’ finished, I thought I’d write a Big Top post honoring the “Benzini Bros. Circus performers, Roustabouts and Big Top Band members” – aka: The amazing ‘extra actors’ that have made WFE full, rich and authentic… Below is a screen capture from the international trailer showing a scene that was shot inside the “Benzini Bros.” Big Top tent. August has gathered everyone together to welcome Jacob as their new ‘Ivy League (Cornell University) trained Veterinarian’. Afterwords, Jacob is given a proper ‘Circus’ welcome which consists of throwing cream pies at his face, spraying him with seltzer water and a confetti shower! I wanted to feature this image because this scene shows many of the wonderful Circus performers played by very talented and amazing actors (and a few actual Circus performers and non-actors) that I’ve come to know over the course of filming Water for Elephants. Some of them have written WFE Set Stories (Robert Kestler, Jackie Zane, Jon Weiss, Jay Beyers, Cody Wood and Kevin Ketcham) and some are featured on my WFE Extrordinary Extras page (Glen McDougal, David Dustin Kenyon, Kevin Hawley, Joe Langer, Tommy Lukasewicz, William Morse & Kelly Erickson). The others I’ve met through the Internet… I have captioned the image with all of the known actors and their characters in this ‘Spectacular’ scene! Please visit the WFE Cast page for the actor’s info links…(Click on the image to enlarge!) From left to right, 2nd row: E.E. Bell (Cecil), Ken Foree (Earl), Scott MacDonald (Blackie), Jonathan Moore (Tall Man), Rob Pattinson (Jacob), Stephen Simon (Clown), Stefan Rollins (Big Top Band), Evan Silverman (Big Top Band), Wyatt Biessel (Big Top Band), Joe Langer (Big Top Band), William Morse (Big Top Band), Thom Thumb (Clown), Jon Weiss (Clown). From left to right, front row: Reese Witherspoon (Marlena), Donna Scott (Barbara), Tracy Phillips (Nell), Aryiel Hartman (Coochie Girl), Michelle LaVon (Coochie Girl), Kelsey McNamee (Showgirl), Shannon Freyer (Showgirl), Mary Newman (Contortionist), Kelly Erickson (Tattooed Lady), Jackie Zane (Lucinda), Brad Potts (Strong Man), Larry Gabriel Gomez (Wolfman), Tara Ferguson (Showgirl), Molly O’Neill (Showgirl). Center front: Kacie Borrowman (Miniature Woman), Mark Povinelli (Kinko/Walter), Christoph Waltz (August). I want to commend all of the actors for their hard work and dedication to creating a beautiful film and for contributing to my Water for Elephants film blog; you have my highest regard and I will never forget you! I also want to thank directorFrancis Lawrence for his wonderful casting choices and for giving these amazing actors the chance to participate in something so brilliant as Water for Elephants, the film…

February 21, 2011 ~ Last week was a good week, exciting and informative! Since I haven’t updated the Film News page I thought I’d just write a Big Top post to cover all the bases…  To begin: WFE film editor, Alan Edward Bell, joined Twitter (2/14/2011) and gave me a ‘follow’ upon which I welcomed him to Twitter and complimented him on the WFE trailer and posed a question about the trailer music. He said that he didn’t ‘cut’ the trailer, but would find out what the second piece of music was since we’ve all been asking about it… He Tweeted his answer on 2/17… Here is the link to the second portion of the WFE domestic trailer soundtrack: Chimerical Dream. The first portion is from the film “The Assassination  of Jesse James” written by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. On Wednesday, 2/16, Entertainment Tonight had an exclusive segment devoted to Water for Elephants which featured interviews with Rob and Reese; the videos are located on the Videos page. It was really great to see them being interviewed from the 20th Century Fox back lot known as “New York” street, they were shooting the “Circus Parade” scene. Sara Gruen was also on set that day filming her cameo!  Next bit of news: According to @CinePREMIERE (a Mexican entertainment magazine) Rob Pattinson sat down with the International Press in Los Angeles on Friday, 2/18, for WFE promotional interviews while on a short break from filming “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”. Their article/interview with Rob will be featured in the May 2011 issue of their magazine corresponding with the release of WFE. On Saturday, 2/19, a German newspaper reported that there will be a Water for Elephants film premiere in Berlin on April 27th. One of the Rob Pattinson fan sites contacted the paper for details and they basically confirmed the event and that Rob, Reese and Christoph would be attending…  To close out the week Francis Lawrence, @Hibbits, tweeted on Sunday, 2/20, “Going to do color with Rodrigo and then gonna finish ADR for Jacob. Getting closer…” It would seem that FL is taking advantage of the fact that Rob was in Los Angeles to get him back into the studio to ‘over-dub’ some of his dialogue, which is known as ADR. As for the ‘color’ with Rodrigo (Pietro, WFE cinematographer), I am assuming that Francis was referring to digitally altering/replacing/correcting the ‘color tone’ of the film; as I’m not exactly sure what that term means… *shrug* That pretty much covers the ‘Film News’ for the week ending February 20th… Now on to the ‘Big Top’ portion of this post:

Uncle Al’s demise (with regard to the WFE script) and other musings on Water for Elephants ~ the Film and Novel ~

Part 1 ~ Water for Elephants, Bestselling Novel to Cinematic Screenplay: One of the most popular search engine terms that direct people to my film blog invariably contain the words: “WFE Uncle Al”, “Who plays Uncle Al in the movie”, “Why no Uncle Al”, and the question: “Why did they cut Uncle Al’s character from the script??”… I haven’t had the good luck or pleasure to discuss this question with screenwriter, Richard LaGravenese, but I have a fairly good idea as to ‘why’ the character of Uncle Al was eliminated from the film adaptation of the novel… Richard is a master at adapting novels/original works into beautiful screenplays, so I won’t try to second guess him… However, it’s pretty clear that to have an effective ‘love triangle’, which seems to be the main focus of the film adaptation of the novel, he eliminated Uncle Al  and some of his characteristics have been transferred to August, thus making August the main ‘heavy’ of the story. While I think that the character of  Uncle Al is very essential to the novel, I don’t think that he will be missed in the film adaptation…

Part 2 ~ Water for Elephants, Bestselling Novel to Romantic Drama Film: In any great classically romantic story you must have “a Hero”, “a Damsel in Distress” and of course, “a Villain” ~ Jacob is a 23 year old average college kid, an only child, who is basically oblivious to the fact that his  loving parents have mortgaged their home so that he could attend the College of Veterinarian Medicine at Cornell University during one of the most challenging times in America’s history – the Great Depression. He’s a virgin with a huge crush on a beautiful co-ed, named Catherine Hale… He idolizes her, but hasn’t been able to consummate his ‘crush’ and it frustrates him, regardless of this he maintains an idealistic point of view about women. When his parents are suddenly, tragically killed in an automobile accident his entire world is blown apart, everything that he thought was real and secure was now gone, he is an orphan, homeless… He takes off, runs away, and ends up hopping aboard a traveling Circus train whereby he becomes ‘the Hero’, ‘a Knight in Shining Armor’ – Friend to the Circus folk and protector of the Menagerie…  When he first lays eyes on Marlena she reminds him of Catherine Hale, his crush, and he sees her as ’the Damsel in Distress’ after he learns how August, ‘the Villain’, abuses her… Marlena is not the only ‘Damsel’ in WFE, Rosie the Elephant is also ‘rescued’ by Jacob from August’s brutality. In true storybook fashion, Jacob, our ‘Hero’ seems to be devoid of any real flaws… He’s pretty darn near perfect except that he ‘covets’ another man’s wife… However, he doesn’t see it that way as he believes that Marlena is imprisoned by her marriage to August and that he must free her from his clutches. While August may be classified as ‘the Villain’ he’s not simply an evil person, he’s a paranoid schizophrenic, which is a very serious mental illness that caused his mood swings. August was charming and witty when he was happy, but then something would set him off and he’d turn brutal… As with any good ‘Romance’ the ‘Hero’ and ‘Villain’ have to battle it out and WFE is no exception as Jacob and August have a few fist-fights over Marlena. Kinko and Camel become the ‘Hero’s’ loyal sidekicks/best friends even the terrier Queenie eventually relies on Jacob (our Hero) for aid and comfort… In some ways Rosie the elephant is the ‘innocent child’ that serves as the catalyst for Jacob and Marlena’s romance. She needs them as much as they need her… One of my favorite bits of dialogue from the film “Pretty Woman” serves to illustrate how Rosie eventually becomes the ‘Heroine’ of Water for Elephants… Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) asks Vivian (Julia Roberts), “So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her? Vivian replies, “She rescues him right back…” You could say that Water for Elephants, the film, might be a magical mixture of Biblical storytelling, Brothers Grimm Tales and Romantic Drama set against  the backdrop of an authentic Depression Era traveling Circus. Francis Lawrence has referred to Biblical themes in his previous two films; “Constantine” and “I Am Legend” and the short lived TV series, “Kings”, which was loosely based on a modern version of  the Biblical story of King David that he co-produced and directed… It will be interesting to see if he continues that trend with Water for Elephants…

Part 3 ~ Water for Elephants, Biblical Metaphor/Story to Bestselling Novel: This is an excerpt from the interview Sara Gruen had with Dave Weich director of marketing and development at Powell’s Books (The entire interview is located at www.powells.com) DW: You mentioned the photo that gave you the idea for a novel about the circus, but how did you decide to incorporate Jacob’s story from the Bible? SG: I can’t remember the exact moment of genesis, but this is one of the things I’ve always liked about literature: the layers. Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel, for instance, has that whole layer in it. It’s a long tradition in English literature. It won’t detract from the story if you don’t know it’s there, but I thought it would be a fun thing play up for people who recognized it. Sara also contributed this bit of info explaining her direct references to Jacob’s story on a discussion forum dedicated to the Water for Elephants novel: “There are anagrams, both exact and phonetic: Catherine Hale=Leah, Marlena L’Arche=Rachel, Alan Bunkel (Uncle Al)=Uncle Laban. There is the flat rock, the dream, the animal husbandry for Uncle Laban, Jacob and Rachel (Marlena) leave with Uncle Al’s (Uncle Laban’s) best livestock (Rosie), Jacob must do an additional seven years of animal husbandry (they join Ringling Brothers Circus) in order to be with Marlena, he breaks his hip (old Jacob), etc. Some of his children’s names are the same as well.” My final thoughts ~ I am not an overly ‘religious’ person, more spiritual than ‘organized religion’. In fact, I had to Google ‘Jacob’s story from the Bible’ because I didn’t understand the reference. I wrote this Big Top post because these were some ideas that have been floating around my head and I felt like exploring themAfter all that is what a ‘blog’ is for to blather on about stuff that interests you, right? Cheers!

January 19, 2011 ~ While researching my blog page on Sara Gruen I learned that she became inspired to write Water for Elephants after she had seen an article in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune (2003) featuring the Circus photographs of Edward J. Kelty. I’d never heard of him and just like Sara I became intrigued with his amazing photos and decided to do more research. I learned that he was a fascinating, yet quite mysterious, individual. Every summer during the 1920’s through 1940, for 20 years, Kelty would leave his successful Century Photography business and pack up his truck with his enormous camera and gear to travel around the US following traveling Circuses (like the fictitious Benzini Bros. Circus) just so he could photograph the circus performers and sideshow acts. He had a keen sense of the bizarre and would juxtapose the circus performers, such as the ‘World’s Tallest Man’ next to the ‘World’s Smallest Man’, and they would be laughing at one another… He also had the ability to pose and direct everyone involved with the individual Circuses into huge group photos. His custom-built camera, that weighed 50 pounds, used 12 x 20 inch negatives so he was able to take very large, detailed photos. Kelty would then process the film, in his specially outfitted truck, make proofs to show the circus performers/personnel and would offer prints of the photos for $1.25 each. The photos were ready for delivery before the show left town that evening…

Some of the most sought after circus photographs are the large size images taken by Edward J. Kelty in the 1920’s and 1930’s. While some of his photos are, by today’s standards not very ‘politically correct’, one cannot deny that they’re unique and fascinating. His photos were full of detail, glamor and completely outrageous. In recent years Kelty’s photos of sideshow attractions have sold for $1,500 to $2,000. His photos are highly sought after by Circus memorabilia collectors and he’s considered one of the best photographers of his time, some of his prints are in the Smithsonian…  He would have never considered himself an artist, he probably thought of himself as just a ‘hack’ following around traveling circuses taking ‘pictures’… The most unusual detail about Edward J. Kelty’s life is that in the early 1940’s he basically just stopped taking photographs and settled in Chicago. Not much else is know about him during that time,  most of his negatives and prints just disappeared. It is said that he gave most of them away to barkeepers to pay his tab and they just threw them out… Kelty was married and had two sons, which he never saw after he left their mother in 1933… They knew little about their father only that he traveled around the US photographing circuses… When he passed away in 1967, at the age of 79, his sons went through his things and found only a single camera lens; no camera, no negatives, no photos… In 2002 Barnes and Noble published a book of his photographs, “Step Right This Way: The Photographs of Edward J. Kelty”which is now (sadly) out of print, that book set Sara Gruen on her path to writing Water for Elephants and we’re forever grateful… After studying Kelty’s photos I noticed that perhaps Jack Fisk (Production Designer) and Francis Lawrence may have also studied his photos  because this WFE set photo of the Benzini Bros. Circus sideshow banners looks a lot like the Kelty photo of  the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus sideshow banners, circa 1931

More of Edward J. Kelty’s amazing Circus Photos:

December 19, 2010 ~ The official Water for Elephants ‘teaser’ trailer premiered on iTunes, Wednesday (12/15), at around 8:15pm EST and for 1 minute and 59 seconds my world stood still… I have waited nine long months to see some of the WFE filming bits and pieces that were chronicled here on my film blog come together and @Hibbitsdid not disappoint… My first impression was that Francis Lawrence andCrewgot all of the details just right. It met all of my expectations with regard to production values and period accuracy…  If you’ve watched Francis’ other films or his music videos you will notice how detail oriented he is and how he manages to capture an ‘atmosphere’… This less than two minute edit of Water for Elephants, the film, left me breathless and dying to see the entire film… After watching the ‘teaser’ about a ‘million’ times I began to dissect it, which is my nature, and started to pull together some of the trailer scenes with the filming images that I posted in the WFE Image Galleries 1 & 2 during the WFE film shoot… See below ~ ~Day 1 (May 20th) WFE filming: This is the scene in which we meet ‘Rosie’… She, along with other Circus items, have been abandoned by the now defunct, in debt, “Fox Brothers Circus”. The town of Goshen, NY has taken custody of Fox Bros. Circus and its menagerie and August has come to see what he can ‘salvage’ for the Benzini Bros. Circus, which turns out to be Rosie… The first two images are from the first day of filming and the second two are from the trailer… Note Reese’s costume…

~Day 12 (June 4th) WFE filming: We see Jacob dressed in his suit pants and vest, not yet dirty, probably the morning after he jumped aboard the “Benzini Bros. Circus” train…? The first image is from filming and the second two are from the trailer…

~Day 13 (June 7th) WFE filming: This was the first time that Christoph as August was photographed on set. He is dressed in his everyday jodhpurs, boots and fedora… From the trailer capture we now know what scene they were filming that day… First image is from filming and second is from the trailer…

~Day 23 (June 21st) WFE filming: Marlena is on horseback, her hair style is a little looser, thus indicating that this shot could be the ‘future’ Marlena after they have left Ringling Bros. Circus to return to Jacobs childhood home to raise their five kids. It was noted that this shot was filmed against a ‘green screen’ so that another ‘background’ could be CGI’d in later, which is what it looks like they’ve done after seeing the trailer. (*Note* It was mentioned during the Tenn./Georgia portion of filming that WFE production Co. had filmed some ‘background plates’ to be used to mesh with other, previous shots…) The first image is from filming and the second is from the trailer…

~Day 32 (July 1st) WFE filming: Marlena, Jacob and August are all dressed in ‘evening attire’. This is the scene in which they head out to a New York City ‘speakeasy’… This was a location shoot where the Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles stood in for the ‘speakeasy’… The first three images are from filming and the next three are from the trailer…

~Day 33 (July 2nd) WFE filming: Filming continued at the Alexandria Hotel where we see the second part of this scene in which the police ‘raid’ the ‘speakeasy’ while Jacob and Marlena are dancing. When everyone runs for safety Jacob and Marlena get separated from August and take off on their own… The first two images are from filming and the second two are from the trailer…

~Day 41 (July 15th) WFE filming: Marlena is dressed in a beautiful satin gown and Jacob is dressed in a tuxedo borrowed from August. I’m guessing that this is the scene in which Jacob is invited for the first time to the Rosenbluth’s private train car for dinner… Apparently they were filming the ‘interior’ of the train car on a ‘sound stage’. The first two images are from filming and the second two from the trailer…

~Day 42 (July 16th) WFE filming: Filming continued the next day on the same ‘sound stage’ and this looks like another ‘interior scene’ featuring the Rosenbluth’s private train car. Again Jacob is dressed in his borrowed tuxedo and Marlena is wearing a cream and silver patterned gown… The first two images are from filming and the second two are from the trailer…

~Day 44 (July 20th) WFE filming: Filming took place at Fox Studios on a back lot called ‘New York Street’, a set that can be transformed into any cityscape.  On that day NY Street was ‘dressed’ as Weehawken, NJ, circa 1931, to film the ‘Benzini Bros. Circus Parade… The first two images are from filming and the third is from the trailer…

~Day 45  (July 21st) WFE filming: Not sure what scene they were filming, probably several, but we got our first glance of Marlena’s fabulous costume! The first image is from filming and the second two are from the trailer…

~Day ? (during filming in Piru, CA) WFE filming: The four “Spec” girls, or showgirls, in their exotic costumes on location in Piru, CA.  Any number of scenes could have been shot that day…  Here are two examples… The first image is on set and the second two are from the trailer…

~Day 52 (July 30th) WFE filming: Filming moved to Tennessee and Georgia for the final four days of shooting… The farm house and property were used to film a few different scenes. The farm  house stands in  for the Jankowski family home in the beginning of the film and also near the end of the film when Jacob and Marlena return to the home (apparently buying it back after the bank took possession?) to raise their five children after they’ve left Ringling Bros. Circus. At this point in time Jacob was allowed to take his final exams at Cornell and took a job as the Veterinarian at the local zoo… Thus the different time period (perhaps late 30’s early 40’s?) The first four images are from filming and the fifth is from the trailer…

And last but not least: The Spectacular Benzini Bros. Circus Wagons! It was really great to see these in the trailer… The first three images are from filming and the forth is from the trailer… You can read all about them here...

In conclusion: I have to say that it was really exciting to finally see all of the details come together… A well deserved round of applause for Francis, Rodrigo, Jack, Jackie and Richardand of course I cannot wait to see the entire film!

December 11, 2010 ~ I began the WFE film blog  back in March of this year after I learned that Water for Elephants, the novel, had been optioned for a film. I’ve never been compelled to blog, let alone write, about anything before and being that I loved the book and have a passion for films I decided to give it a go… In my early teens I became fascinated with vintage movies and our local TV station would run old films on Saturday afternoons/evenings and I couldn’t get enough, I was enthralled. I grew up in Southern California (San Fernando Valley) and my indulgent father would take me “over the hill” into Hollywood to check out the movie studios: MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount… In the mid 1970’s MGM held an open sale of many of  their props, costumes and various film items. My lovely dad took me to the sale where I found four costumes that fit me: a navy blue 1890’s suit, a late 1900’s silk blouse and skirt, a 1930’s polkadot dress, and a early 1930’s linen dress. We would drive around Beverly Hills and he would point out many of the vintage stars homes – Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks’ home Pickfair was our favorite… We would walk down Hollywood Blvd. and he would relate stories about the “Stars” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also took me to Graumans Chinese Theatre where the ‘movie stars’ left their hand and footprints in cement that surrounds the entrance. My father could have been Errol Flynn’s double and was told he should be in ‘pictures’… In September 1932 my father hitchhiked from Elgin, Illinois to Los Angeles, California to stay with his Aunt Helen who lived there. She took him to the MGM studio. He wrote: “After I was in L.A. a week or so Aunt Helen took me to MGM Studio. I saw scenes from “Rasputin and the Empress” with John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. We had dinner at the Armstrong Carlton Cafe. I saw plenty of movie actors and actresses…” My father’s interest in films definitely had an influence on me and in high school I was very involved with Theatre. My “Theatre Arts” teacher was a fun  eccentric and he took the class to Western Costumein North Hollywood, CA to pick out costumes for a 1940’s version of Shakespeare’s  “Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” I played the part of Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, and wore two amazing period costumes from Western Costume. Because of that experience I became fascinated with ‘costuming’ and all of the “behind the scenes artists” that contribute to creating a film/play. I even toyed with the idea of becoming an actress, but I never had the confidence to pursue it. I used to spend countless hours designing ‘costumes’ for various ‘films’ or ‘plays’… However, none of my ‘theatre/movie’ pursuits came to fruition because I fell in love with a wonderful man and we moved to North Carolina where my focus turned to raising our two sons. When the boys became self sufficient I began to pursue Graphic Design which gave me a creative/design outlet and has proved useful in designing/creating  this blog. Which brings me back around to the “WFE Film Blog”… Blogging about this film has definitely been one of the highlights of my life… I’ve ‘met’ so many wonderful and talented people… To name a few ~ Artist Linda Newman Boughton, Darlene Ava Williams, Jackie Zane and the WFE Extraordinary Extras and last but not least, WFE Director Francis Lawrence... He’s known on twitter as @Hibbits and we began conversing via twitter back in March of this year just after I began this blog. I tweeted him questions about WFE and he graciously responded… Our exchange continued throughout filming and shortly before filming wrapped on Water for Elephants I playfully messaged Francis that “I’d really like a WFE director’s chair back” … Just after filming wrapped on August 4th he messaged me mentioning that he was going on vacation for a couple of weeks before cutting WFE and that he’d be sending me the chair back very soon… Months passed and in October his amazing assistant, Janette, DMed me  letting me know that Francis wanted to send me the chair back and asked me how to personalize it. I replied that I was overwhelmed that he had remembered and gave her my details… On Friday, December 10th a package arrived containing the Water for Elephants Director’s chair back, a tote bag and cap, plus a personal note from Francis Lawrence thanking me for ‘all the support’… Needless to say I am  awestruck by his generosity and feel a bit validated for my efforts, not that I needed validation, concerning all things Water for Elephants… This journey has been a pleasant one and it’s far from complete… We’ve been promised a WFE ‘teaser’ trailer this coming week, which means that Water for Elephants, the film, is just around the corner… Below are photos of the cap, tote and chair back that Francis Lawrence sent to me via his assistant, Janette… (*Edited to add: My other passion when I’m not blogging ~ Miniature Couture)

December 1, 2010 ~ It has been four months since I wrote a “Big Top” post… Shame on me for being so neglectful, but I am afraid that Real Life needed my attention. After months upon months of ‘WFE film blogging’ I basically needed to step away, I needed to find a balance… As we all know  WFE  filming wrapped on August 4th and since then any film related details have been scarce to say the least… However, on November 23 Algonquin Books and Francis Lawrence tweeted some WFE news… At 10:57am @AlgonquinBooks tweeted: “Today we’re getting the star-approved photos from FOX for the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS movie tie-in edition” and at 12:52 pm @Hibbits tweeted: “Back under the big top… Filming animals for the stampede. Good to be back in the circus again.”… a very interesting “tweet” coincidence indeed… With regard to Algonquin Books they were referring to their Spring 2011 catalogpage advertising a Water for Elephants Movie Tie-in book edition (please note that the catalog image is NOT the movie tie-in book cover)  that will be available March 1st. As for Francis Lawrence’s tweet, we can assume that he was filming some “pick-up” shots which is not unusual when a film is in “post production”… Like everyone else I am anxious for any and all WFE film news… Director Francis Lawrence had promised to keep us informed during the “post production” phase of this film, but one can totally understand why he fell short of that promise since editing a film of this magnitude is a huge task and I am sure that he has been extremely focused on creating a beautiful final product that he is confident with and a film that will make us happy…. So, going on that assumption I honor his silence and place my faith in his vision and wait faithfully for a ‘trailer’ or even a few ‘official movie stills’… The truth is we are at his and the studio’s mercy and nothing we say or wish will make anything happen any sooner then they have planned… On another note: I have finally added all of the Tennessee and Georgia filming images to the WFE Image Gallery 2… I hope that you will have a look and enjoy all of the amazing images that we’ve been privileged to during the WFE filming experience… Hopefully there will be more Water for Elephants film details soon… Until then reacquaint yourself with all things WFE Film by clicking on the links in the sidebar of this blog… I will endeavor to keep the film blog updated as news becomes available… *Edited to add a bit of WFE Trivia: Water for Elephants ‘code’ name during filming was “Jerry Novak’s Big Adventure” and Rob Pattinson was listed on the call sheets as ‘James Ramsey’…

~Click here for WFE Big Top Archive 2 (older posts)~

Advertisements
Published on September 16, 2012 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s