Tai the elephant is scene stealer in 'Water for Elephants'

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on April 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

PHOENIX – While “Water for Elephants” was not the No. 1 movie over the weekend, it can still boast the biggest star of any movie currently in theaters – Tai, a 9,000-pound elephant.

Tara Hitchcock talked to Tai’s trainer, Gary Johnson, about what it’s like to work with the animal and see her interact with her human stars.

“It’s interesting to see how Rob, Reese, and Christoph – how they really like Tai,” Johnson said. “They worked together very well and they respected her very much. They were – all three – great to work with.”

At 42 years old, Tai had been with Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. – Johnson is the founder and owner --for more than 30 years and has quite a list of credits to her name.

“Tai's gentle nature makes her an excellent choice to work with human actors and her affinity for learning makes her an excellent actress,” wrote Kari Johnson, Tai’s “human mommy,” Johnson’s wife, co-owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc.

Not at all a diva, Tai is more than just an actress, she’s also an ambassador for her species, the endangered Asian elephant.

While she has traveled by both plane and boat, she has a state-of-the-art 48-foot long trailer that was specially built for her and her Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. family.

“Water for Elephants” is in theaters now.

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