Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski – The novel’s protagonist. He is a “90, or 93”-year-old nursing home resident reminiscing on the time he spent as a circus veterinarian during the Great Depression.
Reese Witherspoon as Marlena – A star performer with the circus. Marlena joined the circus after she ran away from home to marry August. She enjoys a special rapport with the horses and cares for them deeply.
Christoph Waltz as August – Marlena’s husband and the head animal trainer (Circus owner and RingMaster in the film). He is alternately charming and brutal, both to the humans and animals aboard the Benzini Brothers train.
Mark Povinelli as Kinko/Walter – A dwarf with whom Jacob shares living quarters on the circus train. Initially, their relationship is rocky, but they develop a strong friendship. At the beginning of the story, he is known as Kinko. Walter is his real name and he only lets his friends call him this. He has a Jack Russell Terrier named Queenie to whom he is very attached.
Jim Norton as Camel – One of the first people Jacob meets when he jumps the train. Camel is a drunk who is instrumental in getting Jacob a job with the circus.
Tai as Rosie – An elephant that Uncle Al buys from another circus. She is believed to be useless until it is discovered that she understands commands only in Polish. She is often the target of August’s rage.
Hal Holbrook as OLD Jacob Jankowsi – The novel’s protagonist. He is a “90, or 93”-year-old nursing home resident reminiscing on the time he spent as a circus veterinarian during the Great Depression.
Paul Schneider as Charlie – The manager of the modern circus with whom “Old Jacob” shares his story.
James Frain as Rosie’s Caretaker – Provides our introduction to Rosie describing her as “the stupidest goddamned animal on the face of the earth”. He inadvertently provides Jacob with a clue to working with Rosie when he mentions her former owner was Polish.
Karynn Moore as Catherine Hale – The object of Jacob’s unfulfilled desire while studying at Cornell. Later, when Jacob first sees Marlena, it’s her startling resemblance to Catherine that causes his initial intrigue.
Donna Scott as Barbara – Barbara, along with Nell and other “Coochie Girls”, provide some of the seedier, more clandestine entertainment for the Benzini Brothers Circus. They are also front and centre during Jacob’s “hazing” at the hands of the clowns and Kinko.
Ken Foree as Earl – He’s the muscle of the Benzini universe, security and bodyguard to August. He’s rough with Jacob so I don’t care for him. 😉
Aleksandra Kaniak as Mrs Jankowski – Jacob’s mother who is tragically killed in a car crash.