Pattinson & a pachyderm

Vegetarian vampires might subsist on venison and such, but Twilight’s Robert Pattinson wouldn’t be caught dead—or undead—biting into his new animal co-star. Pattinson plays a Dust Bowl-era carnie in Water for Elephants, a film based on Sara Gruen’s New York Times best-selling tome. Costumer Jacqueline West discusses working with the (normally) blood-sucking heartthrob.

“Rob is a national treasure, even though he’s not ours. He’s a superb actor and so lovely to work with. He gets a bad rap because of Twilight, but he’s such a good serious actor. I’ve seen some other things he’s done in England. He’s so dark in Twilight. But he couldn’t be sweeter and less dark.”

Pattinson isn’t the only Elephants’ principal who bonded with the movie’s pachyderm centerpiece. Reese Witherspoon’s life depended on it. The Oscar-winning actress portrays a daredevil leading lady in the Benzini Brothers Circus.

“She did all her own stunts in this movie, which few people know,” clarifies West. “That’s really her riding on the horses standing up. She was a gymnast when she was little. She would flip off the elephant and flip off those horses and I’d just be spellbound.”