SAN DIEGO — One of the biggest surprises at Comic-Con thus far came on Thursday during the Disney panel, when Guillermo del Toro came out and announced that he would be writing, producing and maybe directing a remake of “The Haunted Mansion.”
Del Toro joked that they weren’t returning Eddie Murphy’s calls for this, referencing Murphy’s 2003 comedy. He has been a lifelong fan of the Disneyland ride, and was collecting memorabilia from the ride before he even thought about making a film.
“For some people, it’s just a ride, but for others like me, it’s a way of life. We’re serious fanatics. I’m a big, big collector of it. I’ve been collecting not only memorabilia but artifacts and original artifacts from the mansion for the past 10 years,” he said. MTV’s Josh Horowitz joked that del Toro could just use those to recreate the Mansion, but del Toro responded, “I’m going to use the budget of the film to create more props for my room.”
At the Disney panel, del Toro announced that the Hat Box Ghost will be the main haunting in the film, and he elaborated about it to MTV News.
“It’s such a great character that there’s literally — amongst Haunted Mansion fanatics, the hardcore ones — a cult for the Hat Box Ghost. You can Google it, it’s pretty intense, and I am one of them,” he said. The legend around the ride’s Hat Box Ghost was that it was “a beautiful creature” that was discarded on the first day of ride operation because they thought it was too scary. “The reality is that Imagineers could not make the illusion work, so they took it out,” he said.
In terms of the plot, del Toro said Disney plans on taking the core mythology of the ride and are expanding it so there are many haunted mansions around the world. “They are all part of sort of a web and the spider sitting in the center of the web is what fans of the Haunted Mansion would know by the nickname the Hat Box Ghost,” he elaborated.
Fans who are expecting to see a return to the 2003 film’s tone will be surprised by del Toro’s vision, he teased. “The movie I see in my head of ‘Haunted Mansion’ is not, I believe, what everyone is imagining it to be,” he said. “It’s not just a regular world with a haunted mansion plopped in the middle. I really am thinking of a movie that has a heightened reality.”
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