Jason Clarke has defended controversial changes in the upcoming remake of Stephen King horror Pet Sematary, saying King himself “didn’t have a problem” with the decision. Clarke, who stars as disturbed father Louis Creed in the film, added that, as an actor, “you don’t care” about fan reaction before the release of the finished product.
The fan backlash around Pet Sematary began following the release of a new trailer for the film earlier this month, in which it became clear that a very significant plot change has been made to the conclusion of King’s 1983 novel.
In the original story, and the 1989 movie adaptation, Louis Creed reanimates his toddler son Gage using the magic of the titular graveyard. This time around, however, it looks to be Gage’s older sister, Ellie, who returns from the dead with violence on her mind.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura defended the move in an interview following the trailer’s debut, admitting he and directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch were “nervous” about the change, but felt that they couldn’t “do much” with a three-year-old zombie character.
Clarke, evidently, agrees. In an interview with Flickering Myth to promote his new movie The Aftermath, he weighed in on how the change has been executed to improve the story.
“It’s pretty easy to justify [the change]. You can’t play that movie with a three-year-old boy. You end up with a doll or some animated thing. So you’re going to get a much deeper, richer story by swapping for a seven-year-old or nine-year-old girl.
“The reward will come. People who are upset will hopefully see the benefit of it. But a lot of people didn’t have an issue. Stephen King didn’t have an issue with it.”
He also stated that the potential reactions of devoted fans cannot be allowed to impact upon his work in front of the camera.
“As an actor, ultimately, you don’t care,” said Clarke. “It’s like saying ‘how do you approach playing a real person?’. You have to serve what’s on the page and what the director wants and what happens on the day. You don’t have any choice.”
“Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.”
Pet Sematary is set to open on April 4th 2019 and sees Jason Clarke (Winchester) takes on the lead role of Louis Creed, while the cast also includes Amy Seimetz (Alien: Covenant), John Lithgow (The Crown), Jeté Laurence (The Americans), Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie.