“Two Hooves Up!” Oklahoma Bison ‘Strut Their Stuff’ on the Big Screen with Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams

PAWHUSKA, OK - One of Oklahoma’s most iconic symbols will be ‘strutting its stuff’ on the big screen in theaters throughout the nation beginning this Friday. Scenes from To The Wonder by Terrence Malick feature the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve bison alongside Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams.

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. | April 10, 2013

To the Wonder news release

Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, OK in To The Wonder, a Magnolia Pictures release.

“Two hooves up! For being free-roaming wild animals, these charismatic mega fauna really know how to work the camera,” said Bob Hamilton, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve Director.

The To The Wonder cast and crew spent several days at the preserve in November 2010 shooting different scenes on the prairie and with the bison.

“We really lucked out with the timing of everything. We had just wrapped up our annual Bison Roundup and all 2,100 bison were in a 1,500-acre holding pasture when the film crew called to shoot,” said Hamilton. “Only once a year are the bison all together like that in a relatively small area. The rest of the year, they roam free on 24,000 acres.”

The preserve staff worked with the cast and crew to position the bison by sprinkling range cubes on the ground and using a siren to call them in. The bison associate the siren with the range cubes which they get once a year during the roundup as a treat to lure them in to the corrals.

“The cast and crew were captivated by the bison. We really enjoyed getting to share our work with them and vice versa. It was an educational experience for us all,” said Hamilton.

This may be the Tallgrass bison herd’s first appearance on the big screen, but it isn’t their first rodeo. You may have seen them in television shows such as National Geographic Explorer: Fire and Thunder and PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda.

Oklahoma’s newest and furriest celebrities can be seen on the big screen at one of the following upcoming showings:
4/12/13 - Bartlesville, OK: Bartlesville Community Center
4/26/13 - Tulsa, OK: Circle Cinema
5/09/13 - Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Although the bison are not available to sign autographs, the public can capture photos of the bison in person at the preserve. Visit nature.org/oklahoma for directions and important rules for visiting the preserve such as “stay in your car”.

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Katie Hawk
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