Whether by accident or design, Disney’s desire to turn famed theme park attractions into blockbuster movies is proving to be cyclical in nature. Four months after Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hit theaters, Eddie Murphy’s The Haunted Mansion arrived, although the latter enjoyed only a fraction of the success found be Gore Verbinski’s swashbuckler.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle Cruise has long been compared to Pirates, and the early reactions indicate that it’s meant as a compliment in this instance, with the Mouse House reportedly viewing the big budget adventure as a potential multi-film money-spinner. With more than a little deja vu, then, the long-gestating reboot of The Haunted Mansion has finally gained some traction by tasking LaKeith Stanfield and Tiffany Haddish to play the lead roles.
The project has been in development for over a decade, with Guillermo del Toro initially announced to be writing and producing, and Ryan Gosling was in talks to star at one point. However, The Haunted Mansion is now being overseen by Dear White People and Lando‘s Justin Simien, working from a script by The Heat and the 2016’s Ghostbusters scribe Kate Dippold.
Academy Award nominee Stanfield will play a widower who used to believe in the supernatural that works as a tour guide in New Orleans’ French Quarter, with Emmy and Grammy winner Haddish as a psychic who communes with the dead. The thought of The Haunted Mansion being rebooted again sounds creatively bankrupt, but it’s got two massively talented stars in place as a rising talent behind the camera, so there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic about the Mouse House’s latest stab at a theme park adaptation.