I got a chance to meet Jackie Zane, Lucinda, at the Sara Gruen book tour in Pasadena, CA. We had a great time chatting and she shared a few stories with me. Now she shares them with you!
Jackie didn’t skim over details so the WFE extra experience is broken up in 2 parts. Enough of my chatter…let me give Jackie the floor:
It has been several months since the filming of Water for Elephants (WFE) has wrapped and many of us have moved on to other projects. For me, it’s been an indie film here, background work there, and a couple film festivals. Yet friends still ask me about WFE and want to hear about my experiences down to the last detail. Although some time has passed, the recounting of stories keeps it fresh in my mind however some of the details are now a bit of a blur.
Many people, myself included, have shared stories with various blogs and publishings on and off the internet. I have nothing new to add in terms of high praise for the entire production! I have a few personal highlights during the experience. One of which was getting to spend time with some amazing people.
Francis Lawrence is a very hands-on type of director, constantly around and accessible. He greeted me each day by name and it was awe inspiring to watch him work.
Robert Pattinson is a kind soul who always had a smile to share. He was friendly as can be and I was lucky to have shared an amazing make-up artist (named Jean) with him and we often chatted while waiting on one another for our turn with her.
Reese Witherspoon lived up to her reputation as one of the nicest people to work with in Hollywood. She went out of her way to introduce herself and was endearing when we chatted .. and of course beamed with pride when we talked about her children when they visited the set.
Christoph Waltz was mesmerizing and enchanting and Jim Norton was a hoot. But the ones who really made me feel like family were Donna Scott and Mark Povinelli who played Barbara and Kinko respectively.
Another highlight was when I was called in to work an additional day. They were shooting a scene with about 400 or so extras playing the part of ‘Rubes’ watching the elephant act under the big top. They positioned a small handful of us near Jacob as he watched Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) and Rosie (Tai the elephant) from the sidelines. The focus of the scene is, of course, Jacob (Robert Pattinson or “RP” as the crew called him). Being on set, one gets used to set photographers snapping shots from different angles. This day was a little different. There was a photographer I had not seen before. She was a petite woman with her long, dark, locks of hair tied into two braids that hung down in front of her shoulders all the way to her navel.
I noticed she was taking quite a few shots with the camera pointed in my general direction. When we took a break while they set up the next shot, she grabbed me and took me out into the center of the big top to take more photos. She seemed to speak with a slight accent and kept commenting that the light wasn’t what she wanted. She was then interrupted by her assistant who told her Christoph Waltz was ready for her. As she turned to leave, she said she wanted to see me later. I introduced myself to her and asked her name…she gave me a wry smile and said that her name was Mary Ellen. I didn’t think much about it and went to sit down.
Suddenly, WHOOSH!! There were three people around me that I had never met before. They began telling me about this woman, Mary Ellen Mark, and that she is a very well known photographer. The fact that she wanted to photograph me was a big deal. I had never heard of her, but then again, I haven’t heard of a lot of people. However, Francis Lawrence was sitting within earshot of our conversation and he even leaned back and said to me “Yeah, she is kinda a big deal!” She showed up again and asked Francis’ permission to take me away from the set for a brief photo shoot. He of course obliged and she went to set up. I was immediately descended upon by hair and make-up people giving me a touch up. By now, I was actually nervous!!! But she was kind and we had a little photo shoot with an old fashioned still camera. I only got a glimpse of the photos and have no idea what became of them. Yet it was a bit of a thrill because everyone was making such a fuss over her.
Yet another highlight came after filming had wrapped. The author of WFE, Sara Gruen, had released another book and was on tour to promote it. She was having a book signing in Pasadena, so I went to meet her. While waiting for her, I met Kinker Tink and got my very own ‘Team Rosie’ button which I cherish! I also got to meet Laura Waggoner who also had a small role in the film. It was such fun chatting with these girls about all things WFE!!
Ahh but back to Sara Gruen. She had a cameo in the film, however we were never on set at the same time and therefore were never introduced. I attended her book signing and listened to her tell fascinating tales of researching her latest book. She opened the floor to questions and inevitably the focus shifted to WFE. She was gracious, answered questions and shared stories. Afterwards we lined up for her autograph and to get our pictures taken with her. I had asked her to sign my WFE book to “Lucinda”, and then it dawned on her that I was in the film as well. She gave me a big ol’ hug and seemed almost as tickled to meet me as I was to meet her!!
I could go on and on about highlights. I know everyone is always interested in hearing about the actors and the ‘stars’, but I want to give a very special nod of respect to everyone on the crew. Each person did his/her job amazingly well and the attention to detail was astounding. There must indeed be chemistry between the actors in front of the camera however they would be nothing without the people behind the scenes to make the magic work.
The main story Jackie shared with me was of one special night on set: when Camel took Jacob through the train cars for the first time. Jackie was kind enough to relive that experience for our blog and share it with the readers. Part 2 will post tomorrow with the detailed account