Ontario trainer says feline stars shared five trailers on set of ‘Pet Sematary’


LONDON, Ont. — An Ontario animal trainer says five rescued cats got the star treatment on the set of an upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.”

Melissa Millett, who runs a stunt dog show out of London, said she was scouted to work on the remake of the 1989 horror flick because of her rare ability to wrangle feline performers.

“I secretly think they are smarter than dogs. That’s why you can’t train them,” said Millett. “It certainly is very hard, but a lot of fun once they get rolling.”

Millett said the cats spent two months training for the roughly 10 weeks of filming, some of which took place in Montreal.

She said five cats were cast to play Church, the family pet that plays a key role in previous iterations of the supernatural tale, but one of them backed out after getting spooked on set.

Cats don’t aim to please, said Millett, so the film crew made sure they were having fun on the job, providing them with an outdoor “catio” where they could play in between takes.

She said the cats shared five trailers during the shoot to accommodate their human team and training needs, and one sourpuss had to be separated in its own RV because it didn’t get along with the other animal actors.

“The only good working cat is a happy cat,” said Millett. “They were quite spoiled.”

Despite this cattiness, Millett said most of the felines worked well together and with their human co-stars, including Jason Clarke and John Lithgow.

Millet said the film’s animal co-ordinator adopted two of the cats, and two have gone to her friends.

Millet kept the fifth cat, Tonic, who she said already seems keen to find his next project, perhaps because he misses the glamour of being on set.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more for these kitties, and they work as a team, so this will continue to be a great team,” she said. “I don’t know how Tonic feels about now being a regular cat. He says, ‘Come on! Excuse me!'”

The movie is slated for release next April.

— By Adina Bresge in Toronto

The Canadian Press