Robert Pattinson and Sean Penn for Water for Elephants Robert Pattinson and Sean Penn are in talks to star in Water for Elephants. The picture features a circus employee love triangle set in Depression-era America. Pattinson – of Twilight fame – would play a veterinary student who falls in love with the circus’ equestrian rider. Penn would play the role of her husband, a dangerous animal trainer. Reese Witherspoon is already on board for the film based on the 2006 bestseller by Sara Gruen. I Am Legend helmer Francis Lawrence has signed to direct.