All the way back in 2010, Disney announced that it would be making another live-action film based on its classic attraction, the Haunted Mansion. Originally, legendary filmmaker Guillermo Del Torro was brought on to direct the film and write the script. Del Torro did complete a script, but it was deemed too scary for the audience Disney wanted to target. So, the untitled Haunted Mansion project sat on ice for quite a while. Then, in 2020, Disney announced that someone new had been brought on to write a new script, and the project would be moving forward.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion is scheduled to be released in theaters on July 28. The film will star Rosario Dawson as Gabbie — a woman who moves into an old home in Louisiana with her young son. Gabbie’s son will be played by Chase Dillon. LaKeith Stanfield will play Ben Matthais, a paranormal tour guide. Haunted Mansion will also star Owen Wilson as a priest, and Danny DeVito as a history professor. Jared Leto will play The Hat-Box Ghost, and Jamie Lee Curtis is the famed Madame Leota.
Disney’s newest movie based on the iconic attraction will hit theaters in just about two months, and we finally have a first look at Madame Leota! Images of Curtis as Madame Leota were first shared with Entertainment Weekly. Justin Simien, the film’s director, also sat down for an interview.
“She starts off as one of the relics, one of the items, one of the aspects of the house that has to be discovered, but becomes a functional character and a useful ally in the film,” Simien explains of Leota. In the film, the medium assists a single mother (Rosario Dawson) and her young son in ridding their New Orleans home of infesting spirits.The visual cues Simien employs to introduce the audience to his version of Leota might ring a bell of nostalgia, but the story built around her is “entirely new,” the filmmaker stresses. Its foundation is rooted firmly in Haunted Mansion history, with the house becoming a vital character in itself.
Simien — who has worked at both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida — has said the film will have some great Easter Eggs that fans of the attraction will love.
Disney released a trailer for the highly-anticipated film back in March. You can watch it below.
This is not the first time that Disney had made a live-action film based on The Haunted Mansion. Back in 2003, Disney made The Haunted Mansion, which starred Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, and Wallace Shawn. The film was a flop with audiences and currently sits at a 14% critics rating and a 31% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.