We’re all probably familiar with Stephen King’s legendary horror stories. One of the more iconic pieces is the 1983 horror novel Pet Sematary that was turned into a horror thriller and hit the screens in 1989. By this century, both the novel and the film are widely recognized as classics, and with the current “age of revival” it’s no shocker that Pet Sematary hit the silver screens once more.
After watching the new remake of Pet Sematary, some people were amazed by the feline star, Church
Turns out, the cat Winston “Church” Churchill was actually played by multiple cats. They were all trained to do a specific thing and excelled at it, like hissing on command, or staring, or running very fast. Three of the kitties actually have Instagram pages and are hiking up followers to boost their careers as aspiring cat actors. JD, Tonic, and Leo were the three biggest stars and made the reanimated feline truly memorable (Tonic made his mark by playing the cutesy cuddly pet at the beginning of the movie, while Leo is the striking uncanny kitty in the poster).
The director later revealed in the interviews that all of the cats that portrayed Church were actually adopted from shelters. When the production team decided on Maine Coon cats for the show, they started looking through various shelters and rescue organizations and ended up with over 5 cats. After all of the felines were collected, trainers worked for 2 months to teach them specific tasks, which proved to be a successful mission as all the kitties shone in their specific roles.
The production team also revealed that some of the kitties (like the stunning Leo) had to spend some time in the makeup chair. Why? Well, to look disheveled and.. um.. undead, the cats’ fur had to be covered in chalk and edible gunk, so it would be safe to ingest in case some licking happened.
After the filming wrapped, the team found all the participating cats a new home. Unfortunately, after the movie premiered, Leo’s handler Kirk Jarett shared some heartbreaking news. Leo passed away from feline arterial thromboembolism, also known as saddle thrombus, a condition that’s not rare among Maine Coons. Jarett’s message on Instagram said, “It is with deep sadness that we tell you that Leo has passed away. He will be forever missed by his human and fur family. May his star always shine bright!”
You can get a glimpse of the kitties in action in this movie trailer