2017 was an impressive year for adaptations of Stephen King stories. Sure The Dark Tower underwhelmed critically and communally and The Mist was canceled after just one season, but those were outweighed by the cinematic versions of IT, Gerald's Game and 1922, as well as the Mr. Mercedes TV series. And the Stephen King adaptation train isn't stopping anytime soon, with one of the upcoming projects being Pet Sematary, which was previously made into a movie back in 1989. We've now learned that John Lithgow is joining the new movie as Jud Crandall, one of the original novel's most important characters.
John Lithgow is the second actor to be added to the Pet Sematary remake, as Jason Clarke was previously cast to play Doctor Louis Creed, the main character who becomes friends with neighbor Jud Crandall. Lithgow inherits the role from The Munsters actor Fred Gwynne, who played Jud in 1989's Pet Sematary. The remake is being directed by Starry Eyes' Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, with Nightyflyers' Jeff Buhler having written the script. EW also noted in its report that coincidentally, Lithgow recently played Winston Churchill in Netflix's The Crown, and the name of the cat that comes back to life in Pet Sematary is named Church, short for Churchill.
Published in 1983, Pet Sematary follows Doctor Louis Creed moving to the small town of Ludlow with his wife, two children and their cat. After striking up a friendship with Jud Crandall, the old-timer shows Louis and his family the cemetery where the town buries its pets. However, later in the story, following the death of Church the cat, Jud shows Louis an area beyond the pet "sematary": a burial ground used by Native Americans that brings whatever is buried there back to life. Unfortunately, the animals resurrected from this mystic ground remain "a little dead" once they're back up and walking, and when Louis put his son Gage in there after the two-year-old is run over by a truck, needless to say it doesn't go well.
In addition to The Crown, John Lithgow's credits in recent years include The Accountant, Miss Sloane, Beatriz at Dinner, Daddy's Home 2, Pitch Perfect 3 and Season 1 of the TV series Trial & Error. The Pet Sematary remake has languished in development hell for years, but now that it's finally getting off the ground, Lithgow sounds like he'll be a worthy addition to the cast, although it's worth noting that he's ten years younger than Jud Crandall was in the book.
With production set to kick off this summer, Pet Sematary is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 19, 2019. Keep checking in with CinemaBlend for continuing coverage about the movie, and don't forget to look through our 2018 release schedule to find out what else this year has in store theatrically.