There are now several live-action takes on Disney Animated features in development, but just a few years ago the same was true for movie adaptations based on Disney theme park attractions. Most of those projects have since fallen by the wayside, save for the exception of Guillermo del Toro’s Haunted Mansion – inspired by the famous Disney park ride (which gave rise to the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie of the same name).
It’s been a while, but del Toro’s Haunted Mansion is showing new signs of life (pun!). Ryan Gosling, whose directorial debut Lost River (which, sadly, has been getting trashed by critics) begins a limited theatrical rollout tomorrow, has reportedly entered talks to headline the film. There aren’t yet any details on what Gosling’s role would be, based on the Haunted Mansion script draft currently being assembled by screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis (High Fidelity).
The Wrap notes that del Toro and Gosling have developed a good friendship of late; del Toro hosted the SXSW panel for Lost River; and the pair were even spotted visiting Disneyland and riding the Haunted Mansion ride, back during the 2015 Oscar weekend in February. Gosling was rumored to have been offered the role of The Beast/Prince (a role which ended up going to Dan Stevens) in Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast live-action musical. Could it be that report stemmed from him circling Haunted Mansion, instead?
Haunted Mansion, as envisioned by del Toro, was announced as far back as the International Comic-Con in 2010; since there, a fair amount of pre-viz and script work has been carried out on the project, according to no less an authority that del Toro himself. The movie will, of course, be a relatively family-friendly supernatural “horror” adventure – unlike del Toro’s R-Rated haunted house feature Crimson Peak releasing this fall – but last year, the filmmaker made it clear: he has a real creative vision in mind here (unlike the Murphy vehicle):
“… 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.”
Clearly, there’s been some progress made over the nine (or so) months since del Toro made those comments – enough so for Gosling to show interest, anyway. Gosling has already wrapped his role for Shane Black’s detective thriller The Nice Guys (arriving in 2016) and is playing a role in Adam McKay’s currently-shooting The Big Short adaptation. However, once that’s done, his schedule will be freed up, so he should be available to work on Haunted Mansion sometime next year.
What’s more doubtful, however, is del Toro being available to direct Haunted Mansion by the time it’s ready to enter production. This fall, del Toro’s slated to begin rolling the cameras on Pacific Rim 2 – which will require a lengthy post-production too – and once that sci-fi tentpole sequel has been completed, Haunted Mansion might have to duke it out with projects like the Justice League Dark comic book adaptation (which already has a finished script by del Toro) for the filmmaker’s time/attention.
It’s worth noting that del Toro has said he would be “happy just to produce” Haunted Mansion (though he hopes to direct it) – so, as with all in-progress del Toro projects, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with this one. Either way, it sounds as though Haunted Mansion will definitely bear del Toro’s artistic thumbprint, in terms of its visual style and production design – so that’s definitely a good thing.
We’ll bring you more information on Haunted Mansion as the story develops.
Source: The Wrap