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Pet Sematary’s Director Says The Cats Were A ‘Pack Of Divas’

Pet Sematary cat Church

There's an old adage in Hollywood that you should never work with kids or animals. However, sometimes that's simply unavoidable. If you're making a movie called Pet Sematary, you're going to have an awfully hard time making it work without including a few pets. In the story, a cat called Church has a major role, and in the new remake of the Stephen King story, it turns out that, shockingly, the eight cats that were needed to fill the role were something of a pain to work with. Different cats were needed depending on exactly what director Dennis Widmyer needed the cat to do, and every time, the cat needed to go through its "process" before performing like it was some kind of diva. According to Widmyer...

But these cats, they were able to train them and every cat had a different specialty. There was the cat that could hiss, the cat that could jump, the cat that could stare… They were like this pack of divas on set. You know, the cat would get on set and have to get acclimated, so all the actors would have to shut up and just kind of let the cat sniff everything for like ten minutes. So, we just sat there, and watched the cat.

Cats are not exactly known for their ability to be trained, and if you've ever owned one, you probably know exactly what that's like. It turns out that it is possible to train a cat, though apparently you can't train them to do more than one thing. Pet Sematary had to find eight identical cats in order to get Church to do everything he needed to do in the movie.

However, just because these cats were trained, doesn't mean they weren't normal cats. Put a cat in a new environment and they're going to explore, sniff, and rub up against anything it can get near. This is especially true if it's a place where other cats have been. One can imagine the crew bringing in one cat for a scene, waiting for it to rub up against every piece of furniture, filming the shot, then switching cats because another ability is needed, and the entire process repeats itself.

Of course, while it can be incredibly frustrating to put up with "diva" behavior from people, for some reason most of us are perfectly ok with it coming from our pets. As Dennis Widmyer describes this behavior to EW, none of this was beyond what all of us who have cats deal with on a daily basis. Most of us get to just ignore them. When you need them to stop marking the sofa and get on their mark, I suppose that can be a lot more annoying.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.