LOS ANGELES – “She is quite a flirt,” the 24-year-old heartthrob, Robert Pattinson, said of his 9,000-pound co-star, Tai, the lovable pachyderm in his latest action-drama movie, “Water for Elephants.”
The feeling is mutual as the “Twilight” sensation kisses the trunk of Tai during our pictorial with both of them in the parking lot of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
“Tai has done more movies than me,” Robert said blushing. Tai, who lives in Perris, California with principal trainer Gary Johnson, is a motion picture veteran who has done several movies already including “Bigger than Life” and “The Jungle Book.”
Based on Sara Gruen’s 2006 novel of the same title, the movie is about Jacob Jankowski (Robert), a vet student, who falls in love with The Benzini Bros. Circus’ star performer, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who is married to the controlling ringleader and circus owner, August (Christoph Waltz). Jacob and Marlena become closer to each other when both take care of Rosie the Elephant (Tai) who is nearly nine feet tall.
So how did he bond with his new pet love, we asked. “I don’t know if there was a real trick to the special bonding,” he said. “I just fed her a lot of peppermints. That’s about it. That’s the way to get an elephant to like you. Feed it Jelly Beans and peppermints every time you see them and then she started following me around. But I don’t know if I learned a lot about elephants in general. Tai is unique in just being so intelligent. She is phenomenally intelligent and she could even do impressions of other animals. It was totally ridiculous. She was kind of a freak among the elephants but I like them. I had an amazing time working with her.”