Disney clearly sees the potential for success once again in making movies based on theme park attractions, as following the strong performance of Jungle Cruise, and the green light for a sequel, things are now moving quite quickly for the studio's reboot of the Haunted Mansion. Just yesterday it was announced that Owen Wilson had joined the cast, and now another big name has been as added as The Mandalorian's Rosario Dawson is apparently also on board the project.
As with Owen Wilson, there's no announcement from Deadline as to what role Rosario Dawson will actually be playing. Dawson and Wilson join Tiffany Haddish and LaKeith Stanfield, who had already signed on previously. Haunted Mansion is being directed by Justin Simian from a script by Kate Dippold. The movie itself is quite close as filming is set to begin sometime next month.
It's possible that we'll see even more names come on board the new Haunted Mansion before production gets underway. When the news of Owen Wilson's casting arrived, it came with details that the movie would be an "ensemble," so seeing four significant names on board the project makes some sense. Four cast members is a solid number, but we could still see more depending on just how big the new Haunted Mansion movie plans to be. Tiffany Haddish will play a professional psychic in the movie, while LaKeith Stanfield will play a "lifeless" French Quarter tour guide who has lost his wife.
Considering that the Haunted Mansion attractions at Disney Parks around the world are places where a bunch of strangers come together and go wandering through, it's easy to see a similar set up for the new movie. All the various characters end up inside the mansion for one reason or another, and then need to work together to deal with the 999 happy haunts, and find a way out. Of course, there's always my way...
Disney's Haunted Mansion is one of the most popular attractions in its parks and it makes the perfect location for a movie. Based on the fact that the movie is set in New Orleans, it seems the Disneyland version of the attraction will be the primary source of inspiration. While the ride itself is largely the same at Disney World, the exterior structure is designed to match the colonial era of Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. Haunted Mansion attractions at the international parks are quite different in the story they tell.
The idea of turning the ride into a movie has already been tried once. And while the movie is perhaps better than its given credit for, it was not a hit with audiences. Hopefully this new movie has found ways to fix the problems the last movie had. It absolutely is putting together an incredible cast, which is making a new Haunted Mansion movie perhaps more exciting than I ever would have expected.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.