(Note: The archived News page entries are in descending order: newest to oldest)
July 31, 2010 ~ Local Chickamauga, GA resident and Rob Pattinson fan, Nicole S., sent me her WFE set story from yesterday’s (July 30) filming. **Edited: You can read all of Nicole’s set stories on her page ~here~
July 29, 2010 ~ ** Just learned that Water for Elephants film is set for release on April 15, 2011!! (source) (it later changed to April 22)
** Updated with even more local TN TV news! Station WRBCTV has Water for Elephants news coverage Click here
**Updated with another local Tennessee news video link: Click here
**More filming news from Georgia: Click on this link for a feature story and slide show! Image is from the corresponding article. As mentioned before, filming is taking place at this farm house which is being used as the Jankowski family home. More later!
July 28, 2010 ~ **Updated** A local Georgia NBC TV news affiliate has a feature on their website confirming that WFE film production will take place in their state… Here is the link for the complete article and if you look to the right there is a link to the video news coverage as well… I have known the exact location of the farm house, but did not want to reveal the filming location out of respect for production… However, since it is now pretty much public knowledge I feel that it’s out there so no harm in sharing… On a side note: I’ve been told that there is very heavy security surrounding this filming location since it is in a private ‘neighborhood’… The actual ‘road’ will be blocked and guarded… On a related note: our ‘dear’ friend Francis Lawrence tweeted a very short, but poignant, message today: @Hibbits Last day in Los Angeles… Nearing the end… I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Director, he’s been the thread that has laced this entire Water for Elephants filming/blogging experience together for me and I am genuinely grateful for his willing participation in the chronicling of this film’s journey from book to screen… More to come as WFE filming is ‘nearing the end’… Posted earlier: Here is a first look at the farm house that will be used as the Upstate, NY home of Jacob’s parents… Production has been working on the house for about a month getting it ready for shooting later this week. The exact location of this private farm will not be revealed, but I can confirm that the house is somewhere in the state of Georgia… It looks perfect! (click on thumbnail for full size) *Please do not copy to your blog or site, link back only!!
July 26, 2010 ~ After a quiet morning, WFE news-wise, things changed considerably as the day went on: Director Francis Lawrence revealed via Twitter that Water for Elephants will ‘wrap’ filming next week! This one piece of news is something that we’ve been anticipating for a few weeks now and I have to say that while I knew that filming was due to wrap very soon the news is still a bit overwhelming … He also gave an insight as to what they were filming today with this tweet: @Hibbits Done with Cornell… Off to the morgue. I had my suspicions as to what they might be filming this week and with his tweet they were confirmed… A couple of other people on Twitter that either attend UCLA, or were on set working, tweeted that the campus at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) was used for the exterior shots of Cornell University (which is located in Ithaca, NY) circa 1931. Early on, before filming even began, Francis had mentioned that they would be filming the ‘Cornell University’ exterior scenes in California and not specifically at Cornell University proper… After @Hibbits mentioned that they were finishing principle photography on WFE next week I tweeted him this message: @WFEfilm to @Hibbits Thanks for letting us know & it will be bittersweet when you actually do wrap filming on #WFE. It’s been a fun ride! He replied: @WFEfilm no problem. I’ll keep you updated during post as well. This is wonderful news because what this means is that Francis will stay in touch via Twitter throughout the post production process all the way through the film’s release and, hopefully, beyond that as well… One of the main things that I have learned since beginning this blog, pre WFE film production, is that Francis Lawrence is probably one of the most accessible Hollywood directors out there… From the very beginning he’s embraced this film project with absolute honesty, warmth, and openness and has kept us abreast of filming details via his Twitter account. He reveals important filming information without revealing too much… My respect for him has tripled since my first Twitter encounter with him months ago and from everyone involved with the film he is said to have an impeccably genuine reputation and penchant for integrity and attention to detail that is not often witnessed in film making today… On another noteworthy WFE note: The very talented and gracious artist, Linda Newman Boughton, whom I previously featured on the WFE film blog has emailed me images of her original paintings that were used to create the Benzini Bros. Circus Sideshow Banners! Linda was hired to create original artwork for the WFE art department and has been given permission to release photographs of her artwork and, as previously promised, she has shared them with my WFE film blog! If you haven’t done so already please check out Linda’s page on the WFE film blog to see her paintings!.. After what seemed like a slow WFE news day it has turned out to be quite busy… More to come as WFE filming continues!
July 24, 2010 ~ Today started with a wonderful email from Jackie Zane, WFE’s Lucinda, chronicling her WFE set story. If you’ve not read it then you must, it’s heartfelt and amazing! Whilst chatting with Jackie today she mentioned this about WFE Costume Designer, Jacqueline West: “Jackie West was awesome too. She seems so soft spoken however finds a way let her opinions be known. She has worked with SO MANY big names in the industry and yet always made us feel like we’re stars! Every day she greeted me with a hug and I was honored when she made sure to introduce me to her husband when he visited the set. Such a sweet person all around”…. (I personally adore Jacqueline West, so this bit is super special to me) I cannot say enough good things about all of the ‘extra’ actors that have contributed to the WFE film blog… Everyone has been so wonderful and forthcoming with their filming experiences and with each new set story I have an increased love and respect for this film and everyone involved. Jackie is an accomplished actress with many credits on her acting CV… Beyond that she is a warm, intelligent, (and above all) talented person whom I have a great respect for… Re-capping Thursday and Friday’s WFE filming news: Jon Weiss (a Benzini Bros. Circus Clown) aka @BigTopLife, let me know that they would be filming the ‘modern circus’ scenes on Thursday and Friday and he tweeted about it on Thursday: @BigTopLife Ah its 2005 today and I get to watch my wife (she has a role in the modern day circus) as I realize I’m most likely dead! And after wrapping for the day – Just wrap for the night, in AWE of the Great Hal Holbrook!! … Also on Thursday WFE Director Francis Lawrence tweeted: @Hibbits What a change… Shooting the modern circus with Hal Holbrook and Paul scheider (Note: He meant Paul Schneider) today. They are amazing. And – Also… We have picture wrapped Marlena, Camel and Rosie… Very sad to see everyone go.… His last tweet indicated that Reese Witherspoon (Marlena), Jim Norton (Camel) and Tai (Rosie) have finished filming Water for Elephants, so that is a ‘wrap’ for them… Late Friday @BigTopLife tweeted ~ Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat watching Hal Holbrook through the monitor as old Jacob… So, as mentioned, Friday’s WFE filming continued with the ‘modern circus’ which involved Hal Holbrook as ‘old’ Jacob and Paul Schneider as Charlie (modern day circus manager)… A huge shout out to Jon Weiss and Jackie Zane (and of course @Hibbits) for your WFE filming news. More to come as WFE filming moves to Tennessee!
July 22, 2010 ~ Updated news with regard to Water for Elephants filming in Tennessee: I contacted Kristan Berona, who is the casting director in charge of ‘background or extra’ casting on WFE, as to what children’s roles they were casting for as part of the TN shoot. She said that they were casting children ages 8-15, boys and girls, to fill 5 roles as Jacob and Marlena’s children. Casting has finished and the candidate’s photos were given to Director Francis Lawrence last night to choose the 5 children that will appear as ‘extras’ in the film. I asked if they had speaking roles and she replied that, no, they would only be ‘background’, or ‘extras’… The ‘extras’ chosen will be shooting for approximately 3 days, but this does NOT mean that WFE is only shooting in TN for 3 days, as I have heard that several scenes will be shot there. Many people have asked me about the casting process and how they can contact the casting company. What is not known is that most film casting is done through agencies and not ‘open casting calls’… What this means is that one has to be registered with a professional casting agency or other professional acting agency to even have access to the casting calls. In the case of the most recent casting notice for WFE it was published on a professional website for actors and you have to register to have access. Kristan let me know that she’s not actually in TN but sorting through applicants photos that were submitted to her. She’s still sorting through submissions for ‘Roustie’ at this very moment… As for other WFE news: There are new set photos from Wednesday’s (7/21/10) filming in the WFE Image Gallery of Reese and Rob. It appears that they are filming all of the corresponding ‘interior’ (studio) shots to the ‘exterior’ (location) shots that were filmed in Fillmore and Piru. Reese is wearing the same dressing gown she wore in earlier photos on location in Fillmore: Wednesday’s photo on the left and a photo from 6/10/10 on the right. Rob was photographed made-up to look as though he’d been in a fight… (if you’ve read the book then you know this scene…)
The last bit of WFE filming news today centers around the shooting of the Modern Circus (circa 2005): Jon Weiss (a Benzini Bros. Clown and ‘extraordinary extra’) let me know that they would be filming the scenes involving ‘old’ Jacob and his encounter with the modern circus today and Friday… This means that Hal Holbrook will have shot his scenes today and will continue filming tomorrow! More news as it unfolds!
July 21, 2010 ~ Late yesterday some very intriguing Water for Elephants news was brought to my attention by several folks on Twitter. They asked me if I knew anything about whether or not WFE would be location filming in/around Chattannooga, TN. Apparently this intrigue was brought about by an Internet forum posting on Christian Filmmakers with regard to possible local Tennessee casting for ‘background/extra’ roles on WFE. Noticing that the post mentioned Kristan Berona of Sande Alessi Casting I contacted her to verify whether or not this was a legitimate casting notice. She replied that, No they had not published the notice on that site. I then tweeted that the casting/filming info was not valid. Upon further messaging she explained that Sande Alessi Casting had published a notice on Breakdown Services, Ltd. and that is perhaps where the other site/forum copied the info. Meanwhile I received additional valid information that Water for Elephants was indeed using an undisclosed location in Tennessee (not specifically Chattanooga) for location filming from around July 30 – August 2nd. Tennessee is ‘standing in’ for Upstate NY, specifically Ithaca, which is home to Cornell University where Jacob was attending the School of Veterinarian Sciences and also ‘standing in’ for the Upstate, NY town in which his parents lived, his childhood home. I received many Twitter questions as to ‘why’ they were filming in TN and not New York State; simple answer: Tax Credits. Filming a major motion picture is first and foremost a ‘business’ and film producers will always take full advantage of whatever monetary breaks that they can receive… This is common practice within the film industry where alternate states and cities are frequently used as ‘stand ins’ for the ‘real city’… Hope that explains and informs with regard to the Water for Elephants filming location questions. As for the Tennessee casting call; it is also common practice for casting agencies to use ‘local talent’ when filming on location. The expense of casting ‘extras’ in California and then transporting them to the location would be cost prohibitive. Sande Alessi Casting and specifically Kristan Berona is handling all of the ‘extra/background’ casting for Water for Elephants. She is fully in charge of all location casting be it California or Tennessee. Now on to what is probably being filmed tomorrow and Friday, aka The Modern Circus: The scenes being shot will focus on ‘older’ Jacob played by the wonderful Hal Holbrook. If you read the book then you know that Jacob escapes the nursing home in Upstate, NY (where he has been unwillingly placed by his adult children after the death of Marlena) to attend the Circus that has come to town. On that particular day his children, that had promised to take him to the Circus, have let him down; so he takes matters into his own hands and makes his way to the modern day Circus where he meets Charlie, (manager of the circus) who is so intrigued with Jacob’s story about the ‘great Benzini Brother’s Circus disaster’ that he takes him in and they have a chat… Hope that answers and clarifies the questions with regard to the WFE filming schedule and what they’re filming the next couple of days. As to whether Rob will be filming in Tennessee I’d have to say, given the scenes that are being filmed, yes he will be there. Next big question: Do I know the exact location of where they will be filming in TN? No, I do not… More to come!
July 20, 2010 ~ Water for Elephants filming continued yesterday with a Circus Parade scene that was filmed on one of the back lots at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. The ‘set’ is called New York Street and can be transformed into any ‘big’ cityscape. I was told that this particular ‘set’ hasn’t been used since the filming of the 1969 musical, Hello Dolly! According to WFE Director Francis Lawrence’s tweet yesterday they had ‘dressed’ the street as Weehawken, NJ circa 1931. Below is one image of the New York Street set at Fox Studios…
Here’s is Francis’ tweet @Hibbits “Shooting the parade today was fantastic. Transported to weehawken in 31 and also fun to be in town for a change. Lots of visitors!” Also, quite a few of the WFE film ‘extras’ tweeted that this was their last day on set and, of course, they were going to miss working on the film:
@Thom_Thumb_ (clown) ~ My last day as Gumdrop the clown. I am riding the band-wagon in the parade! So much fun! Us clowns have been picture rapped. We took photos with Francis, Rosie, and others before leaving Fox studios. What an amazing experience Water For Elephants has been. I will always remember fondly the good times we all had on set… Eager 4 rap party
@WyattBiessel (Big Top Band) ~ At Fox Studios for the last day of Water for Elephants. PARADE!!
@BigTopLife (clown) ~ On my way to LA for the last day of being a Benzini Bro’s Clown! Flying back to San Fran for some real time Circus fun, but sure will miss the 1930’s! What a ride it has been! Look for my recap on WFEfilm!
The Circus Parade filming from yesterday caused quite a stir on the Fox Studio lot as quite a few employees tweeted about seeing Reese riding Rosie the Elephant and the appearance of all sorts of exotic animals! It was fun to keep up with the day’s filming through their tweets, some are rather funny!:
@DamonBerger Water for Elephants shooting outside my office. Just saw Reese Witherspoon riding an elephant. U know, just another Monday
@MulattoJ: I just got to work there are a giraffes, camels, horses etc in front of my building. Shooting WFE…neato.
@mosh426 “Water for Elephants” is shooting on the lot today. A real elephant carrying a snow shovel just walked by
**Great LA Times Article published today about Water for Elephants filming in Fillmore, CA. Here is the link to the online story: In Hollywood, all trains lead to Fillmore
July 16, 2010 ~ Back from London and I am wading my way through WFE filming updates and photos whilst trying to adjust to my time zone *jet-lagged*… I will be writing a ‘catch-up’ Big Top post over the weekend as well as posting all of the recent set images. Thank you for your continued interest and support! Water for Elephants is still filming and is expected to continue through the next couple of weeks, so more to come!
July 7, 2010 ~ *Special Notice* For the next 8 days I will be away from my blog (vacation time)… So I am referring you to two very newsworthy blogs that will be my ‘proxies’ until I return. They are Rob Pattinson Life and Robert Pattinson News they are both equally great and will keep you updated on WFE news. I will be checking in, but will not be able to post images and such, since I will have limited Internet access. However, when I return I will endeavor to catch up the blog with whatever news or photos that were missed. As always I appreciate your comments and hope you continue to visit while I’m away… Talk to you soon!
July 7, 2010 ~ Water for Elephants filming resumed on Tuesday (July 6th) and they did indeed film the ‘stampede’ scene, in fact WFE Director Francis Lawrence tweeted about it – @Hibbits Just started the stampede!! We also learned from several of the ‘extras’ that filming will continue through July 19th… It may go beyond that, but I don’t have any confirmation yet.
A couple of the ‘extras’ also tweeted about the scene:
@Thom_Thumb_ – Running from spooked wild animals in a clown suit is fun! and tweeted yesterday “5 am call time for Water For Elephants tomorrow… Stampede Scene, curious about how they are gonna make that…”
@WyattBiessel – CRAZY DAY. Tire almost blew on freeway. Few feet from getting trampled by loose horses. Couldn’t be more fun.
Here are the ‘extras’ that tweeted about the filming dates:
@actorpat – I stand corrected, looks like potential #WFE filming up thru the 19th? Not sure if that includes rousties or not.
@BigTopLife – clowns film on the 19th & there’s still modern day filming to do!
So, WFE filming is not wrapping yet, and that make me very happy!
July 4, 2010 ~ After a bit of deliberation and encouraging words, the set images from Friday’s (July 3rd) filming have been added to the WFE Image Gallery. If you haven’t seen them yet some of them are quite revealing and give away part of the ‘Speakeasy Raid’ scene featuring Jacob and Marlena. The images I enjoyed the most are of the ‘extras’ having a great time on the balcony of the hotel in between takes. I have to commend Jacqueline West and her wardrobe team on their impeccable costume choices, the gowns look to be authentic vintage pieces. I also enjoyed seeing Christoph arriving on set and we also get to see him dressed in a tuxedo as August… He’s really quite handsome! Even though some of the images are pretty invasive, I felt that at this point they’re already ‘out there’ and decided that they belong in the Gallery. Water for Elephants continues filming on Tuesday (July 6th) with, according to some of the ‘extras’, quite an exciting scene… *Disaster March* comes to mind… It’s been rumored that filming will wrap on July 9th, but I don’t see how that’s possible. There seems to be quite a few scenes left to shoot and since we’ve heard nothing about Hal Holbrook (older Jacob) filming his scene(s) we can assume that they haven’t completed those yet. The role of Mrs. Jankowski is listed on Water for Elephants IMDb page, so it’s safe to assume that there is a scene(s) involving Jacob’s parents, not to mention the Cornell Veterinary School scene (can’t image they’d leave this part out)… Plus any interior scenes that need to be shot, since most of the exterior scenes have been filmed on location. Most of what has been filmed takes place after Jacob’s parents die and he jumps aboard the Benzini Bros. Circus Train, but we’ve heard nothing about any scenes being filmed before that?? I cannot imagine that they would skip over that part of the book, it’s too essential to the storyline… So, unless they can shoot all of those scenes in four days, I’d say that filming is not quiet finished yet… Who knows? We’ll find out soon enough… More to come!
July 3, 2010 ~ Filming continued yesterday (July 2nd) at the Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles until around 3am Saturday morning. As mentioned on Thursday, they were filming the ‘Speakeasy Raid’ scene and the paparazzi managed to actually capture some of the scene being filmed. There are quite a few set images from today, which I will post later to the WFE Image Gallery, since they’re still rolling in. As you know I don’t like to just slap them up for the sake of seeing them, I prefer to wait until we have them all and put them in some semblance of order so they’re easier to view. Here are a few, just to give you a glimpse. My favorite Rob Pattinson blog has the photos posted if you’d like to view them now… I promise all will be added to the gallery later today/tonight. More on the way!
July 1, 2010 ~ WFE filming took place today in downtown Los Angeles at a wonderfully restored classic hotel. They were filming the ‘Speakeasy Raid’ scene there, which they will continue tomorrow. Rob and Reese were photographed, he in a tuxedo and Reese in a lovely red satin gown. Reese’s images have been added to the gallery and the rest of the images of Rob will be added to the WFE Image Gallery by tomorrow. I also added WFE set images from June 30th… Here are a few set images from today’s shoot… More tomorrow!