In the 1989 live-action adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary, The Munsters star Fred Gwynne played Jud Crandall. The upcoming adaptation of the novel will once again tap the star of a popular sitcom, with 3rd Rock from the Sun's John Lithgow taking on the role.
The actor may have gained fame in the '90s by playing the otherworldly father figure in the sitcom, yet Lithgow has a diverse filmography which includes multiple forays into the horror world. Some of the actor's horror outings include Blow Out and Raising Cain, with one of his more memorable roles being a serial killer on the hit series Dexter. Interestingly, Lithgow's Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall recently narrated an audiobook of Pet Sematary.
In King's novel, a family moves to a small town in Maine and discovers a pet cemetery across the street, with a local resident claiming that animals buried nearby have been known to come back to life. Following a tragic accident in which a toddler dies, the father buries his son at this supernatural location in hopes of his little boy returning to the family.
Jason Clarke is reportedly attached to the film as the family's patriarch, which would result in the duo sharing much of their screentime together.
Like many of King's books, the origins of the novel were rooted in his own experience. The inspiration for the story came from an incident in which King stayed at a house that was across the street from an actual pet cemetery. Stephen King's website describes what it was about the house that inspired him to write the novel:
"Stephen was serving as a writer-in-residence at the University of Maine at Orono and living in a rented house in nearby Orrington that bordered a major truck route which frequently claimed the lives of dogs and cats. In the woods behind his house, local children had created an informal pet cemetery. One day, his daughter's cat was killed by a passing truck. Stephen was faced with the task of burying the cat in the pet cemetery and then explaining to his daughter what had happened." The site adds, "It was on the third day after the burial that the idea for a novel came to him."
Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch are directing the film, which is slated to hit theaters on April 19, 2019.
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[H/T Entertainment Weekly]