Not only is Haunted Mansion one of the biggest upcoming 2023 movies, but this year marks a major anniversary for it. To be clear, I am NOT referring to the popular attraction at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, but the first movie based on that ride – from director Rob Minkoff and starring Eddie Murphy – which was released 20 years ago.
Disney has been hit and miss when it comes to turning theme park attractions into movies but the original Haunted Mansion movie, despite having a lot more going for it than you might remember, is seen as one of the misses. But the ride is still popular, and following the success of Jungle Cruise, Disney has assembled an impressive ensemble for the new Haunted Mansion cast to make it a hit with the public. See what foolish mortals are getting spooky – as classic characters and new ones alike – in director Justin Simien’s new cinematic take on the freaky favorite.
Rosario Dawson (Gabbie)
Leading the impressive cast of Haunted Mansion as Gabbie – a single mother, doctor, and new owner of the “strangely affordable” New Orleans mansion – we have Rosario Dawson, whose relationship with Disney dates back to her role on Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian, as Ahsoka Tano, which she is reprising in her own upcoming, self-titled series on Disney+. The actor broke into Hollywood as a teen with her underrated performance in Kids before becoming a “Geek Goddess” by playing multiple comic book characters like Wonder Woman in some DC animated movies, nurse Claire Temple in Daredevil and other MCU-canon shows, and, eventually, narrating Max’s new DC docuseries, Superpowered: The DC Story. Also recently, she received acclaim for her performance in Hulu’s Dopesick cast, reprised her Kevin Smith movies role in Clerks III, and – according to Variety – is lending her voice to an upcoming interactive animated adventure series called Ghosts of Ruin.
Owen Wilson (Father Kent)
If The Exorcist taught us anything, it’s that when you’re dealing with otherworldly beings, call a priest. In Haunted Mansion, that priest will be played by Owen Wilson, who also has previous ties to Disney as the voice of Lightning McQueen in the Cars franchise and playing Time Variance Authority officer, Mobius, in the MCU. The actor – who has an Oscar nomination for co-writing one of the best Wes Anderson movies, The Royal Tenenbaums – also made his debut under Anderson’s direction (one of many times) in 1994’s Bottle Rocket, before going on to an eclectic career involving a few blockbusters like Armageddon, many classic comedies like Meet the Parents and Wedding Crashers, and films that combine drama with comedy fair like Midnight in Paris and the more recent Paint, in which he plays a Bob Ross-like character hosting a public TV art show.
Lakeith Stanfield (Ben Matthias)
Widowed scientist-turned-failed paranormal expert, Ben, will be played by Dawson’s Sorry to Bother You co-star and one of the first people cast in Haunted Mansion, Lakieth Stanfield. After making his debut in the acclaimed 2013 drama Short Term 12, the actor, went on to star on one of the funniest shows on Hulu, FX’s Atlanta, play a memorable role in Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out, and earn an Oscar nomination for Judas and the Black Messiah, among so many other highlights. Next in the pipeline for Stanfield is an Apple TV+ original sci-fi series called The Changeling and a biblical epic coming out in 2024 called The Book of Clarence.
Tiffany Haddish (Harriet)
Playing a psychic named Harriet, we have Stanfield’s co-star from Jay-Z’s “Moonlight” video, Emmy winner Tiffany Haddish, who has also worked with Jordan Peele to great effect in 2016’s Keanu, in addition to her many great scene-stealing and lead roles in comedies like Girls Trip and The Oath. She has also tried her hand at drama in the likes of The Kitchen and The Card Counter, and a mix of both with movies like Here Today and TV shows like The Afterparty as Detective Danner, whom she is reprising for Season 2 on Apple TV+. She is also known for lending her voice talents to many notable roles, such as Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and Netflix original-turned-Adult Swim series, Tuca and Bertie as Tuca.
Danny DeVito (Bruce)
As a “crotchety” college history professor named Bruce – according to D23.com – is an actor more than capable of embodying the concept of “crochety”: Danny DeVito, whose own previous Disney credits include Dumbo (which also reunited him with his Batman Returns co-star, Michael Keaton, and director, Tim Burton) and the One and Only Ivan voice cast in 2020. Years earlier, he was best-known for his Emmy-winning role on Taxi and movies like Throw Momma From the Train, The War of the Roses, and Matilda (all of which he also directed), but the Academy Award nominee (for co-producing Erin Brockovich) has a special fanbase these days that know him as Frank from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Also this year, he lends his voice to Migration and will soon star alongside Chris Pine in his directorial debut, Poolman.
Chase Dillon (Travis)
Rounding out the key cast members as Gabbie’s son, Travis, is Stanfield’s The Book of Clarence co-star, Chase Dillon, who makes his theatrically released filmed debut with Haunted Mansion, as his only other film role was the Netflix original western, The Harder They Fall, in 2021. The young actor has appeared in several TV projects – including his debut on BET’s series reboot of First Wives Club; the Max original sketch comedy, That Damn Michael Che, as the SNL star’s younger self; one of the best Amazon Prime original series, The Underground Railroad; and Apple TV+’s animated series, Pinecone & Pony.
Jared Leto (The Hatbox Ghost)
It wouldn’t be much of a Haunted Mansion movie without some direct references to the popular attraction, and the new film has found some big names to take on some key roles, such as Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost, according to EW. The Academy Award winner (for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club) last played a creepy creature in his Marvel movie debut, 2022’s Morbius, (six years after his DC movie debut as the Joker in Suicide Squad) but has a more longer history with horror, having starred in the 1998 slasher Urban Legend, a memorable scene from American Psycho, and the extremely disturbing thriller, Requiem for a Dream. From his breakout performance as Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life to his lead role in the upcoming Tron sequel, Ares, the Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman has led a pretty eclectic career.
Jamie Lee Curtis (Madame Leota)
Succeeding Jennifer Tilly in the role of the iconic Madame Leota – the head inside the floating crystal ball – is, arguably, the all-time best Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis. Of course, in addition to being the face of the Halloween movies not named Michael Myers and starring in plenty of other great horror movies, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh has a couple of other Disney movies on her resume – namely Freaky Friday and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Curtis – who recently won Best Supporting Actress for Everything Everywhere All At Once – will also soon appear in the film adaptation of the Borderlands video game.
Winona Ryder (Pat)
As a teaser for Haunted Mansion reveals, Winona Ryder is making a cameo as a tour guide named Pat – only her latest role in a long line of creepy credits. After breaking out in the Beetlejuice cast as Lydia (whom she is reprising in the upcoming sequel), she led the dark teen movie, Heathers; starred in a some more classic Tim Burton movies (such as Edward Scissorhands); and played Mina Murray in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula adaptation. Of course, the two-time Academy Award nominee (for Little Women and The Age of Innocence) is also expected to return for Stranger Things Season 5 as Joyce Byers.
Dan Levy (Vic)
Along with Ryder, another actor revealed to be joining Haunted Mansion at D23 Expo in a small, unconfirmed role is Dan Levy, who is best known from the Schitt’s Creek cast as David Rose. The son of his co-star and co-creator, Eugene Levy, first got into acting with a small role on Degrassi: The Next Generation and more recently appeared in Hulu’s Happiest Season cast, lent his voice to Netflix’s Q-Force, and was on an episode of The Idol for HBO. He also created and judges a reality cooking competition for Max called The Brunch.
Hasan Minhaj (Sketch Artist)
Appearing as a police sketch artist whom Ben and Bruce enlist to identify a ghostly encounter, we have Hasan Minhaj – formerly of The Daily Show and Netflix’s Patriot Act. Some of his most notable acting credits include two of Kate McKinnon’s best movies (Rough Night and The Spy Who Dumped Me), and Jennifer Lawrence-led 2023 comedy, No Hard Feelings, more recently. The comedian also has a couple great Netflix original stand-up specials called Homecoming King and The King’s Jester.
There are plenty more other grim, grinning ghosts to behold, in addition to star-studded Haunted Mansion cast. Any volunteers to see the new film when it hits theaters Friday, July 28th?
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.