For years, The Haunted Mansion reboot has been in the works with little progress. While much of Hollywood was shut down in 2020, the reboot was one of the few properties that have made some headway. But some exciting news came out about the Disney reboot. The Haunted Mansion reboot has taken a big step forward in getting things started.
According to Deadline, Disney is currently in negotiations with director-producer Justin Simien to helm the much-delayed reboot. The talks between the House of Mouse and Simien didn’t just happen. Apparently, the studio has been meeting with Simien on and off in recent times. He reportedly pitched several projects to Disney before the company settled on his vision for The Haunted Mansion reboot.
If Justin Simien were to helm The Haunted Mansion reboot, he would join an already stellar lineup of creatives. Live-action Aladdin remake producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will produce the reboot through their production company Rideback. Rideback’s Nick Reynolds will serve as an executive producer. If Simien becomes the reboot’s director, he will be adapting the screenplay penned by Katie Dippold.
If Justin Simien were to direct the film, he wouldn’t be the first high-profile director to be attached to The Haunted Mansion reboot. Originally, it was announced in 2010 that Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro would direct the film. Del Toro seemed to still be on board for the reboot until last year’s news.
With The Haunted Mansion reboot’s long-storied time in development hell, Disney has been trying to restart the missed franchise opportunity. The original Haunted Mansion was released in 2003 with Eddie Murphy headlining. The original film received poor critical reception with modest box office performance. The 2003 film was a mix of horror and humor at a time where horror-comedy wasn’t as well received.
Sources close to the House of Mouse claimed The Haunted Mansion reboot will depart from the original film’s premise. When Guillermo Del Toro was still attached, he alluded to the reboot leaning more into the horror side while still being fun. So, hopefully, Justin Simien’s vision and Katie Dippold’s script maintain that rumored tone.
But taking on The Haunted Mansion reboot wouldn’t be Justin Simien’s first foray into horror-comedy. In 2020, the Dear White People director received favorable reviews for the horror satire Bad Hair. But The Haunted Mansion isn’t the only Disney property the director is attached to as he is behind the development of the Star Wars series Lando. So, it wouldn’t be too off for Simien to just hop into some spooky Disney fun.
Looking at Justin Simien’s past work, he seems ready to take on a big-budget film. Hopefully, everything will work out, and Disney will have another huge franchise on their hands. You can witness the hilarity of Eddie Murphy in the original Haunted Mansion on Disney+ if you're feeling nostalgic.