Pop Tarts

Reese Witherspoon Talks About the 9,000-Pound Elephant in the Room, Her Cougar Role and Her Fear of Sexy Costumes

April 3: Robert Pattinson, left, and Reese Witherspoon at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. (AP)

April 3: Robert Pattinson, left, and Reese Witherspoon at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. (AP)

Reese Witherspoon has officially joined the cinematic “cougar” clan.

In her real life, the Oscar-winning actress just tied the knot with agent Jim Toth (five years her senior) but in her reel life, she gets it on with “Twilight” sensation Rob Pattinson – eleven years her junior – in the upcoming period drama “Water for Elephants.”

But it wasn’t actually the age difference that required any adjustment for the stars. Instead, it was their significant height difference.

“In the movies they just put you on a box then you kiss the tall guy,” Witherspoon told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column with a laugh. 

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And Pattinson was quick to claim that locking lips with Witherspoon was far from challenging.

“It’s really easy for me because I have quite bad posture so we’re about the same height,” he quipped. “I just have this big heavy head and it slumps down so we end up at the right spot naturally.” 

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Based on Sara Gruen's novel of the same name, “Water for Elephants” tells the tale of a traveling circus in 1930’s America. A veterinary student (Pattinson) just shy of a degree is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie, and meets stunning equestrian star and the circus’ main attraction, Marlena Rosenbluth – who also happens to be married to the charismatic yet psychologically-disturbed circus boss.

But in a desperate bid to sell tickets amid the Great Depression, Rosie the elephant is brought in to co-star with Marlena in a new headlining act.

“My first time meeting her I was terrified basically. I screamed,” Witherspoon said. “I like animals but this was a completely new experience.” 

And it wasn’t just working with large animals that terrified Witherspoon. The 35-year-old was also pretty traumatized at having to wear body-baring, sexy circus-inspired costumes – something she vowed never to do.

“I made a conscious effort all of my career to not end up in a bathing suit movie and here I was in this movie wearing a leotard which was horrifying,” she said. “But they were beautiful, and it was a different time when women loved their curves and enjoyed being voluptuous. All of the costumes are very flattering for women in the film.” 

And Witherspoon was certainly successful in embodying the glamorous beauty of a 1930’s star – although the physical transformation wasn’t without at least a little conflict.

“I was debating on whether or not to wear a wig,” she said. “And after lots of discussion and screen testing I decided just to cut my hair and dye it white.” 

Yet, as much as Witherspoon came to develop an affinity for circuses and working with a 9,000-pound elephant during the shoot, the Louisiana native is keeping her day job.

“I thought about it (becoming a trainer),” she added with a smile. “I thought about taking my elephant act on the road, but…” 


Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay