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The filmmakers discuss the decision-making process behind Pet Sematary’s big twist – that it’s big sister Ellie who dies, not her little brother, Gage as in the original novel

By having the elder child in the Creed family as a central character of our film we were able to explore the dual themes of family and death in a deeper way. And Ellie being older than her brother allowed other characters to interact with her in a way that a toddler simply couldn’t.” – Pet Sematary Filmmakers

  • Dennis Widmyer [Co-director]:That twist was in the script when we came on board, and straight away you could see that it was one of the smartest things in the script. It was new and fresh but also absolutely kept the essence of the novel.
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura [Producer]: “I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on something like 80 different book or graphic novel [adaptations]. And I think the truth of any success is that if you treat it literally you get in trouble because it feels very static and stale. But if you make too many changes then you’ve lost the essence of what it is. This treads the perfect line.
  • Kevin Kolsch[Co-director]:You’ve also got to be sure that you’re making changes for the right reasons, not just a shock factor. And changing it to Ellie makes absolute sense to the story.
  • Dennis Widmyer [Co-director]:Absolutely. One of the things we liked about the novel is that it’s always the character of Ellie who is asking about these things. She’s asking about her cat dying one day and asking all these big questions. So, it felt right for it to be her, to echo these questions to her Dad, to resolve these earlier conversations that we’ve had. It felt like a nice way to connect that theme.
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura [Producer]:It’s like when we adapted Harry Potter, when I was at Warner Brothers. Before it got made, we were treated as though the book was the Bible or something. You know, like, ‘You can’t change a word!’ And we made some really large changes. And no-one noticed because we had done it in the spirit of the book. It is about embracing what the book is trying to say, and not trying to change its tone, its rhythm and its perspective, while also evolving things forward.