Leo the Cat, who played the undead version of Church in Pet Sematary, has passed away.
The animal’s death was confirmed earlier today (May 30) on social media by animal trainer Kirk Jarrett, who adopted Leo shortly after filming.
In an emotional Instagram post, Jarrett said Leo would be ‘forever missed’ by both his human and fur family, while hoping that his star would ‘always shine bright’.
Although four cats were used for the part, it was Leo’s scowling face that was plastered all over the film’s posters and became synonymous with the evil cat.
In a recent interview with AV Club, Jarrett explained:
Leo is a confident sit-stay cat. His role is as the undead Church; that was his whole purpose, to be the poster child. The cat you see all across the different platforms, and in the trailer, almost any time he’s in in the undead makeup—that was Leo.
Melissa Millett, another animal trainer who worked with the cats on Pet Sematary, added that Leo had ‘such a cool look, different from any other cat’ she’s seen before. ‘He’s got this beautiful face, and these eyes that are so expressive,’ Millett continued.
Pet Sematary, an adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name, tells the story of Louis Creed and his family who have just moved to the edge of the Maine woods.
Starring Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz as the Creed parents, the film follows the family as they discover their cat has tragically died, and documents the events that follow. Spoiler alert: they bury the animal in the nearby ‘Pet Sematary,’ a hidden place that resurrects the dead. Yikes.
John Lithgow stars alongside Clarke and Seimetz as Jud Crandall, the Creed’s friendly neighbour who’s burdened with terrible knowledge.
In an interview with UNILAD earlier this year, directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer spoke on how they made the scariest film of the year.
So we watched [the original film] and were like ‘well they already did this, so why don’t we try this?’ but mostly we went back to the book. That’s what our take was with the studio, you know the film had been in development for years and the script they’d written had deviated a little from the original story.
So we really wanted to bring something new to the story but also honour the source material for fans so we’re not betraying the Pet Sematary book that they know and love.
Also though we were very aware that when you’re adapting anything there always comes a point where you have to put the source material aside and go forward with it like it’s any other film because these things always take on a life of their own beyond any source material.
Rest in peace, Leo.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).