Oscar-nominated actor John Lithgow will play Jud Crandall in Paramount's remake of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. In the late '70s, King briefly taught classes at the University of Maine and during that time moved his family into a house situated along a busy stretch of highway. After a truck ran over the family cat, and his son Owen suffered his own close call, King felt compelled to write Pet Sematary, one of his most unrelentingly dark novels.
Published in 1983, Pet Sematary proved to be another huge seller for King (even though he claimed he himself found the book too bleak). The novel later became a film starring Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, a young doctor who experiences his own encounters with death after moving his wife and kids to Maine. In the book and film, the horror element comes in via a supernatural animal burial ground that brings dead things (sort of) back to life. Thanks to the story's horrific spiraling logic, the "sematary" ends up tragically being used for exactly what you expect.
With King properties hotter than ever in the wake of IT, Paramount will next remake Pet Sematary with Jason Clarke in the lead role. As reported by EW, Oscar-nominee John Lithgow has joined the cast in the role of Jud Crandall, the kindly old neighbor who befriends the Creed family and ultimately shares in their tragic fate. The role of Crandall was memorably played in the first film by Fred Gwynne, the actor best known for playing Herman Munster.
Despite arguably having the perfect acting style for horror, especially of the over-the-top variety, Lithgow surprisingly hasn't popped up in a ton of straight horror films over the years. Lithgow did get one of his first big roles in the Brian De Palma thriller Obsession, following that up a few years later with his unforgettable turn as a melting down airline passenger in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Lithgow returned to work for De Palma in 1992's bizarre horror flick Raising Cain where he played no fewer than five roles. Possibly Lithgow's most chilling performance came as serial killer Arthur Mitchell on Dexter, for which he won one of his seven career Emmy awards. Lithgow also could've played iconic villain the Joker, but missed out on his chance.
Lithgow was most recently seen in The Crown, for which he won his seventh Emmy, and in last year's Christmas comedy Daddy's Home 2. In Pet Sematary, Lithgow not only gets to add to his horror movie resume, he also gets to try out his best country bumpkin Maine accent playing the bib-overalls-wearing Jud Crandall. Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes) will direct the Pet Sematary remake from a script by Jeff Buhler.
- Pet Sematary (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019