A Bit About Tai’s Career
Tai’s first film appearance was a minor role in The Jungle Book (1994), where she scares off some poachers. Tai followed this up playing the major role of Bo Tat in Operation Dumbo Drop in 1995. The American Humane Association rated the treatment of animals in the film as acceptable. The scene in which Tai is sedated she is actually just obeying her trainers instructions to lie down. The sounds of her snoring in the film is not actually coming from Tai, but was dubbed in during post-production. All scenes that show Tai in danger were carefully staged, and the boat in which she travels in the film was pre-tested to make sure it would support her 8,000 pound weight. To ensure she remained healthy, all of Tai’s food, drinking water, and even her bathing water, was shipped from the U.S. to Thailand, where filming was taking place.
Tai played the major role of Vera in the 1996 comedy Larger than Life alongside Bill Murray, and had a minor role in George of the Jungle in 1997, where she can be seen being ridden by Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann, and again with Brendan Fraser in Tweety Bird’s jungle in Looney Tunes: Back in Action in 2002.
Tai’s performance in Water for Elephants in 2011 was praised. It was the second time Tai, Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson had all worked on the same film, as all three had been filmed in Vanity Fair in 2004, though Pattinson’s part was edited out of the final cut.
One of Tai’s paintings as well as an autographed poster for Water for Elephants was auctioned off on eBay to raise awareness of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus. The money Tai raised from the auction was given to the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) which distributed it to the appropriate labs and research facilities actively working to find a cure for EEHV.