The remake of Stephen King’s classic book Pet Sematary is out in theaters very soon and is a new take on the material. Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz star as the main characters of the film and recently they came down to Miami for a round table interview. They are both fascinating and down to Earth individuals who could not have been nicer. Hope you enjoy what they have to say!
Something I’ve been wondering from all actors and actresses is do you guys watch your own work? The films that you make do you go back and view them?
Jason: Yeah, I go back and watch it. Now do I sit at home and pop on Everest? No. It’s funny, sometimes with distance, sometimes with time. At SXSW we watched this film in a room with thousands of people and it was a really fun experience. Sam Jackson was at a round-table and someone said they wouldn’t want to watch their mistakes and Sam said, “I wouldn’t want to watch myself either if I was bad.”
Amy: I feel uncomfortable. It’s definitely weird like listening to your voice on a recorder or the radio or a voicemail like when they used to have answering machines. It is a surreal thing to watch yourself especially when you’re not yourself on screen. But it is fun watching the thing you worked really hard on and seeing it come together.
Watching themselves may not have been something they both agree on but, they definitely have love for the source materials as well as the master of horror himself, Stephen King.
Jason: Of course, I really like the transition from book to screen. It’s got to be a film; it can’t be just straight up the book. You’re looking for that to be made. Dennis, Kevin, Lorenzo, and Paramount did a really great job going after the adaptation even further in the shooting and sculpting of what its now become. It’s its own and got great love for the book. It’s one of King’s cannon and I’m very proud of the job we did on it.
Amy: I love it. Stephen King said it’s the most disturbing book he’s ever written because it hits so close to home. He’s wrote it imagining what it would be like if he lost his own kid which is a dark space and really disturbed him. The book is so accurate in talking about grieving and loss and the what if element if you could bring your child back? Also, with the adaptation you have to change it because it is a horror movie and has to give you that roller coaster effect that watching it does because you know what is coming if you read the book.
Other than being fans of King, and with horror having such a following, they had some really interesting takes on things they themselves are fans of. Especially Amy.
Jason: Actors are obsessive by nature I think. It is your job to be obsessive. From job to job you get obsessive about something else and getting ready to do the film it is about timing your obsession, so you don’t over obsess when shooting it. I love cinema, I love going back and watching cinema, cars. Whatever I’m into I’m going to obsess about because that’s just who I am and how I operate. It’s a very obsessive way of working. Work, work, work, stop, sit down, and wait. It is about doing what is required and then shutting it down to conserve the energy and working hard and forgetting about it.
Amy: I already know, female killers. I’m really obsessed with them and since we’re in Florida, I was really obsessed with Casey Anthony
Jason: They’re turning that into a movie, aren’t they? Was she the one also in Italy?
Amy: No, no, no, that was Amanda Knox. See! I’m taking names guys. It’s not common women who do this and I find it really fascinating woman with violent tendencies.
One of my favorite things about this movie is that it asked the audience to be put in the characters shoes. If we were in these situations, would we make the same choices?
Jason: Yeah, that’s what King does, that’s the genius of King.
Right, and you would say no right away that you wouldn’t do this. My question is would you make the same decisions your characters make if you were put in the same situation?
Jason: What it does in the book is wonderful. The absurd jump creeps away when you have the cat and then the kid. In the book there’s a wonderful scene where Louis is going to go and dig Gage up. They talk about when Gage was a baby there was a problem in his brain and he might have an intellectual deformity. It turns out he doesn’t, but they ask Louis if he had had it would you have loved him anyway? And he says “of course, he’s my son.” Here he knows there’s going to be that little jump with Ellie that she may be a little bit different. It’s what Judd carries down as well where the dog came back but was a bit nasty. So it’s incremental to wonder you know “I might, I’m already into my neck now so might as well go the last little bit.” Just like getting deeper into the water like you want to take a swim. I’m wet already so might as well.
Amy: It’s not a plunge it’s a slowly creeping in.
Jason: Yeah and all of a sudden you find yourself being stabbed with a spear.
Amy: You asking if I would put a spear through him?
Amy– Well, Rachel is off the hook here. She’s an angel but I definitely would bring back somebody if I knew there was a place in the woods. Jason always talks about what kind of father would Louis be if he knew of the place and didn’t try. What kind of father would that make you?
That’s another question the movie asks you.
Jason: Yeah it’s just there and itch and itch.
It’s always going to be in the back of your mind.
Jason: Yeah it’s what Judd hands down.
They also had opinions on what it means to be a part of this film and how they felt about being apart of something so influential in today’s horror.
Amy: The little kid in me being part of the Stephen King cannon. Being apart of his universe and wanting to give my little self a high five that read him when I was eight. Like “We did it.”
Jason: I loved watching this in the cinema and SXSW. It was a great reminder of cinema at its best in terms of not just the quality but the community watching. People are laughing, they’re scared. There’s a lot going on. You’re aware of this whole big community that I hadn’t thought of being apart of. This genre horror community and the fans who geek out about it. Their intelligence about it and their love of cinema. It makes sense that these great directors come from horror, from Sam Raimi to Peter Jackson. It’s a great way to understand cinema and character to make somebody care about characters. All these things you got to understand if you want to make movies and you got to do it on a budget.
Amy: When I direct I rip-off horror.
Jason: Everybody rips off something.
Amy: It’s such a good way to learn budget filmmaking.
Jason: Yeah, the creativity it takes.
Amy: Like Friday the 13th part 2 which is one of the best Jasons. There’s this long sequence where he’s just chasing her and terrifying with lightness and darkness. It is the best use of we don’t have enough lights to light this thing so were going to go into complete darkness and it will be terrifying because when you lose her, you know she can’t see anything. Then you just catch this glimpse of her hiding with light. That’s why I love genre filmmaking because t is the best use of no budget and creativity.
Amy you have roots in Indie horror and Jason this is your first horror film that you’ve done. Would you do more horror?
Jason: Never say never. I’m not going to go on one for at least a couple years. It’s exhausting and really hard work. If you watch Louis, he’s out of his mind for most of the film. He’s in a really stressed place. It’s exhausting the “Ahhhhhhhhh” then another take “Ahhhhhhhh” well I’m losing my voice then another “Ahhhhhhhhh!”
Amy: I got tired watching him do that
Jason: It’s really hard work and you’ve got to maintain it and be believable in it so, the last thing I want to do is look up at myself and go, “I don’t believe that.” The story is rooted in reality. The remise is absurd but the rest of the film is rooted in reality. So in terms of book, there are a lot of great ones out there. “The Hunt” is a great one. I feel like these are just going to get big, deeper, and funner and people who do understand it and love it will make them.
Amy: I’ve been a horror fan since I was little. I read Stephen King when I was little. My dad was a bachelor and he let us rent anything we wanted. We go to the video store and just get horror films to watch all weekend. What is fun about the audience is that it is so interactive, and that there is a language to horror that fans are so well-versed in. They have that ratcheting up of tension and you know something’s coming. There’s this conversation with filmmakers and audience that is really fun in genre filmmaking.
Pet Sematary is in theaters April 5th nationwide. Go check these two out in this film and explore their other films in their illustrious careers.