Jason Clarke is circling Pet Sematary, the new movie adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel. 2017 saw several fresh adaptations of King’s work hit the big and small screen alike. There were naturally misses along the way, with Sony’s The Dark Tower movie and Spike’s The Mist TV show being the best examples. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the IT adaptation was both a recording breaking box office smash and critical darling. Netflix films Gerald’s Game and 1922 (both based on King’s literature) were similarly popular with critics and viewers.
King’s resurgence in popularity further helped to finally get Paramount’s slow-developing Pet Sematary remake off the ground last year. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) are now directing the film and will begin production soon, in order to make a scheduled Spring 2019 release date. Casting for the movie is getting properly underway too, with Clarke being the first actor reported as being in negotiations to join the project.
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THR is reporting that Clarke is in talks to star in Pet Sematary as the movie’s protagonist, Dr. Louis Creed. King’s story follows Creed and his family as they move from Chicago to the outskirts of a small town in Maine, for Louis’ new job. However, the Creeds are unaware that the pet cemetery near their new home is cursed and rests on an ancient burial ground. When tragedy strikes the family, they then find out just how dangerous the cemetery (which is identified by a sign misspelled “sematary”) next door really is.
Clark is no stranger to the horror genre, and only starred in the true story-inspired haunted house film Winchester earlier this year. He’s further earned top marks from critics for his performances in several films, ranging from Zero Dark Thirty to The Great Gatsby, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mudbound, and this month’s Ted Kennedy drama Chappaquiddick. (Yes, we’re ignoring Terminator: Genisys.) Clarke is also a rather prolific character actor and is slated to appear in three more films (including Damien Chazelle’s space drama First Man) before 2018 draws to a close.
Pet Sematary was previously adapted for the big screen in 1989. The film was mostly dismissed by critics as a schlocky and uninventive horror/thriller, but has gained semi-cult status in the decades since then. King’s original story has all the ingredients necessary to make for a chilling modern re-telling, and it remains one of his better known minor works even today (see the Pet Sematary reference in last year’s Justice League, for case in point). Clarke’s casting, if nothing else, is a step in the right direction for the movie remake.