Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen’s whimsical 2006 novel about life and love in a traveling circus during the 1930s, was a huge hit. Not only did it receive an Oprah’s Book Club recommendation (the Holy Grail of book recommendations), but the paperback version landed on top of the New York Times Best Seller list.
Obviously, a film adaptation with Twilight megastar Robert Pattinson was a foregone conclusion.
Besides, when you flank him alongside two Academy Award winners (Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz), you kind of expect him to up his game.
Check out the first trailer for the movie, plus a plot summary, below. For a high-res version, head over to Apple.
Based on the acclaimed bestseller, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds — including the wrath of Marlena’s charismatic but dangerous husband, August — Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love.
Along with hundreds of thousands of other people, I read Water for Elephants and I really enjoyed it. It’s not the world’s deepest read, but it’s entertaining, has interesting characters, and offers an intriguing perspective on what it might actually be like to run away and join the circus (something we all considered as children).
From reading the book, I can say that Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon definitely don’t match what Jacob and Marlena looked like in my head. Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion. If you read the book, what do you think of the casting? Christoph Waltz doesn’t quite match my mental image either, but there’s something menacing about him that still works.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this movie. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) is a talented director and the footage in the trailer looks beautiful. It has a kind-of Moulin Rouge vibe, minus Baz Luhrmann’s frenetic camerawork and general craziness. As I said before, the story is engaging and definitely lends itself to a film. The only concern I have is that the film doesn’t get too schmaltzy.
As I read the book, I kept thinking to myself, “I hope somebody doesn’t turn this into a bad TV movie like The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” It doesn’t look like that’s the case with Lawrence’s movie, but I’ll wait for the finished product to be sure.