Straight from Comic-Con, Guillermo del Toro is reportedly developing his own movie version of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. He will co-write, produce, and potentially direct it – the project is likely at the forefront of his long list of upcoming movies, as he wants to make it “as soon as possible.” More information after the break!
According to IGN, del Toro reiterated: “We are not returning Eddie Murphy’s calls. We are not making it a comedy.” While the 2003 take on the ride, starring Murphy, wasn’t exactly horrendous (nor was it great), it was full of many laughs. And the director of Pan’s Labyrinth doesn’t intend to go down this route. He spoke with The Hollywood Reporter before taking the Comic-Con stage:
“It’s going to be a thrill ride for the whole family but it’s definitely going to be scary,” he said. “(Walt) Disney is one of the creators of some of the scariest images in my childhood. People forget that he not only made sweet images but also images of nightmare. We need to honor that side of the legacy.”
Del Toro wants it to be “a unique combination of dark and fun,” and “a haunted house movie for the 21st century.” So it seems as though we’re going to see some of the twisted fairytale sensibilities carry over from Pan’s and Hellboy, which is of course great news. He goes on to say that the project was “not a movie [he] could postpone,” and that it will take “special development” – sort of implying that it will take priority over other projects at the moment. And he wants everything, starting with the script, to be perfect.
Talks about the movie begun when del Toro spoke with Disney production about the upcoming remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which he also co-wrote and produced. Matthew Robbins is the second co-writer, having already worked with del Toro on Mimic and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.
With regards to what features from the ride itself will make it into the movie, THR writes:
One of its conceits, which the movie will also use, is that the mansion is home to 999 haunts and 999 ghosts (with room for one more!).
Specific plot details — as well as what kind of creatures will be featured — are being guarded as if shut in a coffin, but one ghost that will appear is the Hatbox Ghost, who is dressed in a cloak and top hat, and whose head disappears and reappears in a hatbox the ghost holds in his hand.
When I went to Disneyland Paris a few years ago, the Haunted Mansion ride was by far the highlight (I went on it 3 times), and it was full of amazing creativity and imagination. I have no doubt that Guillermo del Toro will be able to successfully transfer this twisted haunted house to the big screen.
Oh, and it will be released in 3D. Of course.
Update: Talking exclusively with Latino Review, del Toro clarified that this will not be his next directing job (if he does have the time to direct it at all), and that he’ll be announcing his next directorial job within the following couple of weeks:
Only producing and co-writing with Matthew Robbins for now. I would love to direct it if the timing allows it but I already have the next directing project ready to be announced in a week or so. Big and unexpected and full of invention.
Head over to Latino Review to read a couple more comments from del Toro on The Haunted Mansion.