From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
STAR-CROSSED

In the adaptation of Sara Gruen's bestselling novel, due in theaters April 22, Pattinson stars as Jacob, a veterinary student who tends the menagerie of a 1930s traveling circus. He falls in love with Witherspoon's Marlena, the show's star performer and wife of its abusive ringmaster, played by Christoph Waltz. "Their romance is a slow burn," says director Francis Lawrence. "It has to take its time."

LOVE MATCH

Pattinson instantly bonded with Tai, the Indian elephant who plays Rosie. Says Pattinson: "I've never been next to such an enormous animal who is so graceful around people."

BLONDE AMBITION

Witherspoon (with Waltz) embraced her character's bombshell look. "Making her a bottle blonde gave her a little more edge," says Lawrence.

ANIMAL MAGNETISM

"All three actors were amazing with the animals," says animal coordinator Paul "Sled" Reynolds. "We beat up Reese pretty good, and she never complained."