D23Expo: ‘Haunted Mansion’ Brings New Scares and Happy Haunts

It’s the D23Expo, so of course we are going to get to see some exclusive new footage from all kinds of films from their animation and live-action slate. While the studio’s film adaptations of their rides have been more or less a mixed bag, director Justin Simeon, who used to work at Disneyland, seems to embrace the true spirit of the Haunted Mansion.

“For me, it was like there was something about that ride that I felt like was just there in the script,” said the director. “That script was funny and filled with interesting characters but it had a little bit of like a dark edge to it… I felt like I knew how to make it. I’ve got a responsibility here and I gotta make sure all the little details, all easter eggs in there, because I’m a nerd for real.”

In an effort to distance itself from the forgettable 2003 version that starred Eddie Murphy, the newest take on everyone’s favorite scary ride takes audiences on a journey that tells the story of a single mom named Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son (Chase Dillion), who are looking to start a new life, move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for.

Simeon also revealed that Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, and Hasan Minhaj are a part of the cast. And that Jared Leto may or may not appear as the Hat Ghost. But we will have to wait and see if any of that is true.

Seeing that the house they just purchased may be possessed by “happy haunts,” the mother and son duo seek the help of Ben Matthias (LaKeith Stanfield), a widowed scientist-turned failed-paranormal expert; Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), a psychic; Danny DeVito, who plays a historian, and Owen Wilson, a local priest who is convinced that Ben wants to be a hero despite.

Haunted Mansion opens its doors to 999 haunts on March 10, 2023.