Movies

Pet Sematary one of the most disturbing films Jason Clarke's been in

Jason Clarke, lead of Pet Sematary, says the story disturbs him to his very core

Jason Clarke had already read Stephen King's seminal 1983 novel Pet Sematary eight times when he accepted the role of Dr Louis Creed in the new film adaptation of the same name. Dr Creed's life turns into a nightmarish tragedy when he relocates his wife and two young children to a remote countryside where the hills hold the power to raise the dead.

But now that the 49-year-old Australian actor is a dad himself (his sons are aged four and one), the story has taken on new meaning for him.

On his reaction to the book

I found it not a scary book but a very deeply disturbing book that really, I guess, upset the core of me.

I could imagine myself being Louis. I was reading it for that purpose, but there was just that every-person quality about the situation and what you would do as a person or a parent, something being there so close you could touch it, that ability to bring back life or to give life. It was one of those things I had to stop and put down.

On what attracted him to the story

Their approach to this world, this wood, this ancient place that has this power, and the journey that Louis and the whole family go down.

And they're very archetypal hero journeys in their own way.

On the relationship between Louis and his wife, played by Amy Seimetz

The relationship that Stephen King has in the book between Louis and his wife is really cool.

There's a baseness to them. They're not some kind of fictional character. Even their sexuality, their love life, the way he described it was really quite shocking to me when I read it the second time. It made the story more intimate. And Amy does that naturally and easily, not just with her own work as a writer, director and actress.

On John Lithgow, who plays the mysterious neighbour Jud

The very first time I worked with John, I'd not long seen his work in The Crown, which I thought was just fantastic.

Again, casting can be a lot of it. And I thought it was a fantastic choice. He's taller than me. I thought that was wonderful for Jud. And also the fact that Louis and him have such an easy rapport that it just slips into this father figure.

On the themes of the movie

I think this film and the story goes beyond horror.

It goes into a deeper level of what true horror is. It's Frankenstein-ish in the way that if you create the monster, or if you bring the monster to life, what happens then if the monster has consciousness.

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