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A film adaptation produced by Flashpoint Entertainment and Fox 2000 Pictures was released in theaters on April 22, 2011. It was directed by Francis Lawrence, and starred Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski, Reese Witherspoon as Marlena, and Christoph Waltz as August. Hal Holbrook played the older Jacob Jankowski. Other cast members include Mark Povinelli as Kinko/Walter and Jim Norton as Camel, James Frain as Rosie's caretaker, Ken Foree as Earl, and Paul Schneider as Charlie O'Brien.
The character of "Uncle Al" has been eliminated: August is both owner and animal trainer.
The film featured Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum #610 and former McCloud Railway No. 18. No. 18 was repaired to operational condition for filming. Once her scenes were finished, she was returned to her owners, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in Virginia City, Nevada. Afterwards, she was put into service on July 24.
It was filmed in Ventura County, California; Georgia; and Chattanooga, Tennessee.