For the first time since the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con announcement, director Guillermo del Toro speaks out in detail on the status of the new “Haunted Mansion” movie he is developing for Disney, based on the classic dark ride. In an interview with MTV, del Toro explains that not only is the new film’s story being worked on, but artwork has been created and there are even talks of integrating the movie’s story back into the ride in the future.
We’re on the second draft of the screenplay. We have a huge show and tell series of boards. We have about 40 pieces of art, maquettes. We have fluid contact with Imagineering at Disney. We are making sure that we are not only faithful to the Mansion and the ride but that we have the ride in the future reflect into the movie and the movie into the ride. It’s been a very elaborate, very slow process.
We went through a lot of the original art for the design of the Mansion. We went to the Disney Archives and went through the — I really would have liked to done a little bit of swindling but […] I was being watched. But we went through the Marc Davis sketches and color work which I’m a huge fan of. Then we explored the Mansion by foot at 5am in the morning. We took two hours, went behind the scenes. I went insane. It’s one of the happiest days of my life.
Unlike the 2003 “Haunted Mansion” movie starring Eddie Murphy, del Toro’s “Haunted Mansion” will not be a comedy, but rather retain the spooky feel of the Disney attraction. Del Toro is a self-proclaimed, long-time fan of the ride and is likely one of the few Hollywood directors who can do the job right. It was previously revealed that the infamous Hatbox Ghost character from The Haunted Mansion would be a main role in the new film and with fans of the ride often hoping for that character’s return to the ride, this would offer a perfect opportunity for Imagineering to make it happen.
Also brought up in the interview was director Jon Favreau’s current work on a “Magic Kingdom” movie for Disney and how closely del Toro is working with Favreau to connect the two films. Del Toro said, “I told Jon he could use some of the stuff and I can use some of his stuff and make it a cohesive universe. That would be fantastic.”
Favreau and Del Toro recently made similar remarks in a panel discussion at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. No release dates for either film have been set. But with a 2.5-hour presentation from the Walt Disney Studios coming up at the 2011 D23 Expo on Saturday and progress made on both projects, it’s not impossible to think fans in attendance at the event might get a further update about either.