As production continues to draw closer for The Haunted Mansion film, plot and character details have been revealed. Now, thanks to a new report, we have some information on the ghosts that will be making an on-screen appearance. According to That Hashtag Show, a casting call has just been released providing some hints as to what familiar characters to expect in the film.
The first of these characters is William Gracey and his wife, described as “a wealthy Creole couple in their early 30s, the Graceys are free people of color from 19th century New Orleans.” These character descriptions closely match those of Master Gracey from The Haunted Mansion lore, both in the ride and the comics. Gracey will be a non-speaking role. In addition, other non-speaking ghosts include those of The Mariner, The Butler, The Bride, and the Dueling Ghost. Like Gracey, most of these ghosts have previously existed as characters in Haunted Mansion lore.
Ghosts will more significant roles will be talking portraits and will utilize motion-capture performances. These “talking heads” are characters that exist as portraits in the classic attraction. They include Woman with Rose, Man in Dynamite Suit, Quicksand Man, and The Ballerina.
Interestingly, nothing here indicates that fan-favorite characters such as Madame Leota or the Hatbox Ghost will be appearing in the film. However, it is possible that these characters appear in larger roles and are more intricate to the story than these early reports indicate.
As revealed last month, Disney is looking at Tiffany Haddish for a key role in the film. If cast, Haddish would play a character named Harriet, a psychic that is hired to speak with the spirits at the Haunted Mansion. The plot will revolve around “Gabbie, a single mother, and her young son [who] recently purchased a New Orleans estate [the Haunted Mansion] at auction only to discover it isn’t quite as empty as they expected.” Disney is also interested in LaKeith Standfield for the role of Ben Matthias.
This new take on The Haunted Mansion will be directed by Justin Simien (Bad Hair), with a script written by Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters). It will be produced through the Rideback production company by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirish (live-action Aladdin). Production is expected to begin this October in Atlanta, GA and is planned to be a theatrical release.
This version of the story will mark the second time the attraction makes its way to the big screen, following the 2003 film. Directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), 2003’s The Haunted Mansion received negative reviews and has long remained all but ignored by The Walt Disney Company.
This will also depart from the long-awaiting Guillermo Del Toro version, which was to be written and directed by the filmmaker, with a story centered on the Hatbox Ghost.