It has been 4 long years since Walt Disney Pictures announced – at the San Diego Comic-Con nonetheless – that Guillermo del Toro would be helmed a remake of The Haunted Mansion.
Since August 1969, foolish mortals have dared to trespass on the macabre grounds of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. A hallowed landmark in Disneyland’s New Orleans square, it’s the dwelling place of 999 happy haunts dying to meet new visitors each day. The plantation-style of the mansion’s facade is a sweet deception for visitors. Inside, ghostly doom buggies line the hallways. Since its construction, the mysteries of the mansion have transcended the attraction with stories surfacing about horrifying encounters with the supernatural. Versions of the daunting edifice have been built at other Disney theme parks in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris.
We’ve been skeptical of del Toro for years now as he’s been attaching himself to way too many projects – the man only has two hands, you see – and clearly The Haunted Mansion is one of the projects hurt by his over ambition.
During a Reddit AMA, he was asked about said remake:
Well, I spent 2 weeks ago, I went back to Disneyland with the executives with whom I am developing the screenplay. It’s a hard screenplay to crack. We’ve done it a few times. We are on our third or fourth draft, with 2 different writing teams, and I think the main thing is to try to combine everything that is great about the ride into the movie, and to make it a really intense but with a sense of fun – just like the ride. It’s a tough balance, and I would be happy to report if we had the screenplay. We always feel like we are very close, but not yet. We have developed 50-60 pieces of art,
We’ve developed maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, over the body and face of Doug Jones, but we have not succeeded yet in cracking the screenplay. I have to believe that Disney will make this movie as soon as we crack the screenplay, but until then we cannot tackle it. It is a movie I would love to direct, but I would be happy to just produce it if the timing is not right. I, by the way, was named Guest for the Day for the Haunted Mansion the last time I did, which gave me unlimited access to ride the mansion several times during the day. Unfortunately it was just the moment my left knee decided to bust and I had to go back home with a busted knee.
Blaming Disney, the screenplay and his knee isn’t exactly the answer I wanted to hear, but I also don’t want them to rush into something half-cocked that will end up shitty. I really enjoyed Pacific Rim, and even “The Strain” is pleasing, therefore I would really like to see del Toro’s colorful antics realized with the 999 happy haunts. I’ll continue to be patient and pray he “cracks the script.”