Water for Elephants clown shares experience: “There was a feeling of a true clown alley”

Speaking with a local news website from his native town, Novato in northern California, Stephen Simon shared some cool info about being a clown on the set of Water for Elephants:

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How did you land the part in Water for Elephants?

I heard about auditions for WFE through the clown grapevine (there is such a thing).  I called the casting office and got an appointment. It’s usually never that easy, but they were looking for a very specific skill set and were more open that is the norm. Auditions were spread over several days for the various circus performer roles and they saw lots of people. They wanted to see a quick routine of our work and then asked some questions. I felt good about what I did, but had no idea about my chances, there were so many people of all shapes, sizes, talent and experience levels.

What do you like most about your character?

In the movie, I played a “white face” clown, which is not something I normally do. The clowns — there were six of us — had a sit down with the director, Francis Sebastien, the circus coordinator and production team to brainstorm ideas for characters and gags and talk about real life situations, and interactions among clowns and fellow circus performers.  They asked us about what types of clowning we naturally do. I think to a person we all fit in the character/tramp/auguste archetypes. They needed to round out the alley with character types, and I stepped up to try something different. Full white face makeup is no picnic — especially in the summer — but I had some fun costumes. I really liked that we worked in and out of makeup/costumes in the movie. Not much of our work made it to the final cut, but we had fun.

Where was it filmed and did you have an extracurricular fun off the set? 

The majority of shooting was on a farm northwest of Los Angeles, in a town called Piru.  They had cleared the fields and created the world of the movie — the tents, trains and midway. A wonderful place to show up for work every day.

The clowns always had a great time, on and off camera. I don’t think any of us had worked together before, but we established an instant rapport and had a really tight group. I don’t think I’m quite at liberty to disclose everything we got up to (there were pranks and hazing,) but there was a feeling of a true clown alley and we’re all still in contact with each other after we wrapped.

What were the highlights of the filming for you?

I think the highlights of filming for me were really getting to know my fellow clowns and the other circus performers on the set. We had a great time when they brought in all of the rubes for the show sequences. They were sitting on bleachers for hours on end and we had fun keeping them entertained during and between shots. It felt like being thrown back in time to a depression-era mud show.

Did you do much hanging out with the two main stars?

No, they were friendly and professional, but Reese, Robert, and Christoph (Waltz) were always working when they were on set.  There was very little interaction when we weren’t actively shooting something.

Click HERE to read the rest of Stephen’s interview.


Posted in Cast, Christoph Waltz, Extras, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged , | 1 Comment

‘Water for Elephants’ to open the Shanghai Film Festival

From Chinese Films:

Director Francis Lawrence’s latest romantic drama “Water for Elephants” starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson will open the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The opening ceremony is bound to be a spectacular with over 300 celebrities from home and abroad walking the red carpet.

Among them are media mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng; Hollywood star Susan Sarandon, Matt Dillon, and Mischa Barton; director John Woo and Feng Xiaogang; and of course Barry Levinson. Levinson is the president for the seven-member jury for the Golden Goblet Awards.

The ceremony will be held at the Shanghai Grand Theater at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, June 11.

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Reese Witherspoon receives MTV’s Generation Award from WFE co-star & stand-up comic, Robert Pattinson

Reese Witherspoon was the recipient of the MTV Generation Award last night at the MTV Movie Awards. Her Water for Elephants co-star, Robert Pattinson was one of the people on deck to honor Reese. His remarks (more like a roast) had Reese and the audience laughing and bemused.

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Love the cheers Water for Elephants got when Rob mentioned the film! :)

Then Reese (classy, sassy, and cool) stepped up to the plate to accept her award and let Rob know the punchline to his joke. Showed everyone how it’s done. ;)

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Love them! Congrats again, Reese!


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VIDEO: Francis Lawrence, Rob, Reese, and Christoph talk Water for Elephants

This interview popped up and is a wonderful retelling of the story. Nothing too new information-wise but it makes you smile and want to go see WFE. :)

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Posted in Christoph Waltz, Francis Lawrence, Press Junket, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | 1 Comment

MTV Movie Awards: Robert Pattinson to present Generation Award to Reese Witherspoon

We hoped for this on twitter and looks like it’s happening!

Robert Pattinson, along with Chelsea Handler and Patrick Dempsey, will present the Generation Award to Reese Witherpoon at the MTV Movie Awards this Sunday, June 5th at 9pm!

the orange line highlights the Generation Award

Congratulations Reese! We’re happy Water for Elephants gets some love and representation. :)

Click HERE to watch the video with the above screencap


Posted in Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged , | 1 Comment

BOX OFFICE: Water for Elephants passes $100 million dollars worldwide

This past weekend marked the first time Water for Elephants was not in the top 10 films but after 5 weekends in the top 10, this 6th weekend still gave us reason to celebrate.

Water for Elephants is now over the $100 million mark worldwide!

At London premiere ~ Christoph, Rob, Reese, Francis, & Erwin ~ Congrats!

Reuters and Box Office Mojo reports domestic box office at $54.4 million and The Hollywood Reporter has WFE at $50.7 million in foreign box office sales, $105.1 million total.

What a milestone! Congratulations to the producers (Andrew, Gil, Erwin and Kevin), the director, Francis Lawrence, the cast, Reese, Rob, Christoph, and Tai, the supporting cast, Hal, Mark, Jim, Donna, Ken, Scott, Richard, Tim, and Paul, plus the remaining cast and crew that made this film possible and spectacular. Last but not least, thank you Sara for sharing your wonderful story.

Posted in Andrew Tennenbaum, Christoph Waltz, Francis Lawrence, Gil Netter, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

BOX OFFICE: Water for Elephants reaches $50 million domestically

Congratulations WFE cast and crew! Next milestone? $100M worldwide. :)


Posted in Christoph Waltz, Francis Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged , | 10 Comments

CHARITY: Robert Pattinson grants the wish of a fan while promoting Water for Elephants in Sydney

While promoting Water for Elephants in Sydney, Australia, Robert Pattinson helped one fan’s dreams come true.

From Starlight Foundation:

In the media lately it has been known that Reese Witherspoon is blown away by co-star Robert Pattinson’s popularity: “I think all I can do is stand back and sort of watch it happen because I’m not used to seeing somebody have so many fans”.  One of these fans is Starlight wish girl, Samantha.

Not only was Friday 6th May Starlight Day it was also a VERY special day for Samantha as she was granted her Starlight wish.  Whilst over 3,000 people turned up to get only a glimpse of the Twilight star, Robert Pattinson, Samantha got to meet him in person. She was the envy of every young fan meeting Robert at his hotel in Sydney.  She also got to go down the red carpet for the movie premiere of ‘Water for Elephants’.

A Starlight wish is like a dream come true for a seriously ill young  child. Sharing a special, once-in-a-lifetime wish brings a family together, and is an experience that stays with them forever. If you want to get involved and make a difference visit www.starlight.org.au/Howyoucanhelp to find out how.


Posted in Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

BOX OFFICE: Water for Elephants is a domestic and worldwide success!

Water for Elephants has been performing so well! The movie definitely has legs as predicted after the first weekend. Here are some figures plus some observations to suggest a bigger total than currently posted.

Rob: Reese! WFE might surpass $100M worldwide!


$85.2 million! Fantastic but not complete. Check out the foreign totals:

Countries producing bigger totals (Brazil, Russia, UK) are not updated AND Australia is not included.

Water for Elephants was number 1 at the box office in Australia, beating Thor! Sky News (Australia) reported WFE bringing in $2.628M this past weekend. What a fantastic showing down under. :)


$48.9 million! Collecting $400k on Monday, our movie is sure to pass the $50M mark by the end of week! This is so wonderful for WFE. Alt Film Guide noted that the film is the only non-action drama in the top 25 and continues to exceed expectations. After the film opens in all markets and finally bows domestically, it likely will have grossed over $100M. Spectacular. :)


Posted in Christoph Waltz, Francis Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | 14 Comments

ARTICLE: Water for Elephants co-star praises Reese, Christoph and Rob

Earl, August, Walter/Kinko, Jacob, & Blackie

From The Western News:

Scott MacDonald grew up watching movies in the Dome Theater and later this month a film in which he stars in will be shown at that same theater.

MacDonald plays Blackie in the film “Water for Elephants.”

“I grew up watching movies in the Dome Theater and am thrilled that there will be folks from my old home town, gathering to see a movie that I am in,” he said. “I loved the escapism of films as a kid in Libby and wish I could be there to watch it in the Dome. Grab a popcorn Libby — and as they say in the movie about the circus — enjoy the most spectacular show on earth!”

MacDonald is a 1977 graduate of Libby High School. He frequently returns to Libby to visit family and fly fish “his” Kootenai and hike the Cabinets. MacDonald graduated from Washington State University with dual bachelor’s in theatre and broadcasting and achieved his master of fine arts at California Institute of the Arts.

“Water for Elephants” is scheduled to play at the Dome Theater May 20 through May 26. Based on the bestselling book, the movie follows veterinary school student Jacob as he meets and falls in love Marlena, a star performer in a circus. They come together though their compassion for a special elephant.

MacDonald stars as Blackie, a bodyguard for the film’s villain, August.

During the film, MacDonald got the chance to work alongside a number of well-known actors including Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Robert Pattinson.

MacDonald describes Oscar winner Witherspoon as a courageous actor and a very sweet human being. Waltz, also an Oscar winner, is a soft spoken, highly intelligent guy, according to MacDonald.

He says “Twilight” star Pattinson is a genuinely great guy.

MacDonald gets in a number of fights with Pattinson in the film and says both of them were pretty bruised up, but Pattinson didn’t complain once.

Blackie kills me in the movie. So menacing. You feel the punches, can’t you? I cringe every time. Great job, Scott!

Click HERE to read the entire article.


Posted in Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Water for Elephants | Tagged | 5 Comments