Reese Witherspoon developed a deep bond with the elephant featured in her new movie WATER FOR ELEPHANTS after spending three months training with the giant creature.
The actress plays a circus performer who must learn a routine with the elephant, and, to prepare for the role, she spent weeks climbing onto the beast.
And Witherspoon insists the experience was unforgettable.
She tells Britain's Total Film magazine, "It was one of the best experiences of my career. I worked with her for three months, just training. I had to get in shape - I had no harnesses, no safety equipment, nothing. It was literally just me and the elephant and I had to climb onto her.
"She's 10 feet tall and over 9,000 pounds and it was this exercise in trust. It's a really beautiful thing where you learn to communicate with a creature non-verbally."
And Witherspoon admits she's delighted the take second billing to the animal: "She's the big star of the movie."