As we get closer to the spookiest time of the year, we are getting more and more information on Disney’s newest film based on a classic attraction, The Haunted Mansion. Disney had made a live-action version of the ride back in 2003, starring Eddie Murphy, but the movie was a major flop. It is currently sitting at 13% on the Tomato Meter and has an audience score of 30% on the ratings website Rotten Tomatoes. Disney is going all out with this new version of the film though, casting major names like Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, and Tiffany Haddish.
Now, we have even more big casting news. According to One Take News, Disney has cast Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto to pay the iconic Hatbox Ghost. The Hatbox Ghost originally debuted with the opening of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park in 1969, but he was quickly removed. For decades, the Hatbox Ghost had vanished, but made a reappearance in 2015 and is now a permanent fixture on the ride.
Here is more on the casting decision and what we might expect from Leto’s version of the Hatbox Ghost:
Sources have told OTN that the Hatbox Ghost’s design is going to look quite similar to the one on the Haunted Mansion ride. We’ve also heard that Jared Leto’s face will be seen on renaissance-era paintings throughout the mansion. While unconfirmed, we’ve heard that his face will only be on the paintings and only his voice will come out of the Hatbox Ghost, a character that appeared to be CG. We were told the voice for his character was not his normal one and it was going to be more deep with some high pitched cackles.
If you have not been following along with all of The Haunted Mansion movie news, here is a brief synopsis of the film — which recently filmed in New Orleans — courtesy of Collider:
The film will tell the story of a doctor, played by Rosario Dawson, and her nine-year-old son, who are looking to start a new life. When they find an eerily affordable mansion in New Orleans, they jump at the chance to change their lives. Little do they know that the house is already harboring some unexpected residents. When they discover that the mansion is haunted, they contact a priest, played by Owen Wilson, who then, in turn, seeks the help of a scientist and floundering paranormal expert, played by LaKeith Stanfield, and a French Quarter psychic, played by Tiffany Haddish, and a grumpy historian, played by Danny DeVito.
Beyond embellishing the familiar and frightening characters of The Haunted Mansion ride, the film will also explore the rich culture of New Orleans, in which the California Disneyland is based. The film will feature characters both new and old, employing some of the most in-demand talents in filmmaking today. The film is directed by Justin Simien, who previously directed Dear White People. The screenplay was written by Kate Dippold.
Disney’s The Haunted Mansion is slated to be released in theaters on March 10, 2023. No word yet on when it will be released on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+. Even though the original live-action Haunted Mansion film was a flop, Disney found a lot of success with its hilarious Muppets Haunted Mansion, which came out last Halloween season.