TheDisInsider is reporting that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has signed on to direct Disney’s Tower of Terror movie, and Scarlett Johansson may be working with him on the project. He apparently came aboard the project earlier this year, but after Johansson filed an explosive lawsuit against Disney over the hybrid release of Black Widow in theatres and Disney+, the status of the film and its production was kept under wraps. After the lawsuit was settled, we hear that Waititi is set to direct the movie with Johansson’s name reportedly also attached.
After the Black Widow settlement at the end of September, Disney Studios chairman Alan Bergman allegedly name-dropped Tower of Terror in the announcement that the House of Mouse and Scarlett Johansson had set aside their legal dispute. Puck News reported that Bergman “knew that if he was gonna pay Johansson a chunk of her lost box office bonuses, he should roll the money into a deal for another Disney movie.” Apparently, Disney was extremely pleased with her performance as Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanoff) within the Marvel Cinematic Universe that they wanted to work with her in projects outside of it since she was leaving the superhero role anyway.
Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley has been tapped to write the script for Tower of Terror, as he has some screenwriting experience with Inside Out. According to Full Circle Cinema, Scarlett Johansson will also produce the film alongside Jonathan Lia under her These Pictures production banner. It’s unknown if Taika Waititi will also have a role in the film as he has done in Thor: Ragnorok, Free Guy, and The Suicide Squad.
Tower of Terror starring Scarlett Johansson is based on a drop tower attraction of the same at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney TokyoSea, and Walt Disney Studios Park. The ride itself was born out of Rod Serling’s anthology series The Twilight Zone, placing riders in a seemingly ordinary elevator at The Hollywood Tower and telling them stories of people who disappeared from the elevator under mysterious circumstances. The attraction opened at the Orlando, Florida Disney park in 1994, and three years later a Tower of Terror TV film starring Kirsten Dunst was filmed partially on location, while the rest of it was filmed on a stage in Hollywood. Scarlett Johansson and Taika Waititi will continue the run of Disney attractions being turned into movies with Pirates of the Caribbean being the tentpole in this genre. But last summer’s Jungle Cruise and the upcoming Haunted Mansion reboot are some other recent examples.
In 2015, Disney tried to create another Tower of Terror film for the big screen, this time with John August (Corpse Bride) writing the screenplay and Jim Whitaker (Peter and Wendy) serving as producer, but it was shelved. Now they resurrected the idea of filming Tower of Terror once more with Taika Waititi at the helm and Scarlett Johansson not only starring but also serving as producer. Disney has put a lot of projects on Waititi’s plate, as he has just wrapped up on Thor: Love and Thunder and is set to write and direct a new installment in the Star Wars franchise.