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About The Bear And The Cow
Perhaps the most harrowing of Paul and Meryl's western adventure – aside from the hitman who wants to take them out – is the bear that accosts Paul outside of Clay and Emma's cabin. Naturally, this required the production to find a bear, and they got the best – Bart the Bear, who previously appeared in Dr. Dolittle 2, Without a Paddle, and Into the Wild. 

"The bear scene started as a terrifying experience,” remembers Grant. "However much they tell you this bear's been brought up as a human, which it was…when it steps out of its trailer and it's sixteen feet tall and you've been told not to look it in the eye, it's intimidating.” 

"I stood behind Hugh,” says Lawrence. "I figured, if it all went wrong, let the bear get Hugh first. We were all tense. We had this big safety meeting. Somebody in the crew said, ‘So, you guys have tranquilizer guns,' and they said, ‘No, we don't, he'll be fine.'”

"I was really, really afraid of the bear,” adds Parker. "Hugh had made a lot of proclamations – ‘I'm scared of the bear. I don't want to be near the bear. Where's the bear? How far am I from the bear?' He let the bear get so close to him before he ran. His cowardice is all talk.”

Grant admitted by the end of the day working with the bear, the intimidation had had eased. "I would have happily sat down and had lunch with it. I mean, it was a pussycat by the end of the day, really.” 

According to Grant, the bear was a bit of a diva. "It wouldn't come out of his trailer until it had been washed and brushed, and then when it did come out, it had to be given eight cans of iced tea every time it hit its mark – and not only eight cans of iced tea, but also whipped cream in a sauce pan,” Grant explains. "If it got its whole thing right, everyone had to applaud and cheer and say ‘Yeah, right on! Way to go, bear!' And it loved the applause.”

"By the time we got to the tenth take, everyone was just walking by and saying hi to the bear and he's hanging out drinking an iced tea – he likes iced tea – and by the end of the day the trainers were a little concerned that we were all so close to the bear,” says Lawrence. "It's like anything else in movies – at the beginning, you're tense, and by the twentieth take, you're exhausted and you don't care that there's a large man-eating mammal two feet from you because he's just as exhausted and tired as you are.”

A similarly interesting animal experience for Parker was her, at times, violent interactions with the on-set cow, for a scene in which Clay teaches Meryl how to milk. "I was kicked by the cow, but I don't blame the cow,” Parker admits. "I mean, if the cow could speak I'm sure she would say, you know, I don't really want to be milked for six hours straight…It was pretty funny. Sam Elliott would just back up. I would run and scream.”

The scene was originally written to take place between Emma and Meryl, with Clay and Paul sharing a moment over chopping wood. "So Marc comes with this idea of switching the characters around,” Elliott remembers, "I resisted initially, resisted the milking of the cow scene. I resisted us having cows, period…But Marc's the director, so we did it his way, and he was right – it was a great choice.”

"I've been around livestock and animals a lot of my life but I've never had the occasion to milk a cow until this movie,” Elliott concludes. "There's a certain irony finding myself in a Marc Lawrence film milking a cow with Sarah Jessica Parker.”


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