Disney executives are renting out the Haunted Mansion for another playful romp through Hell and back, an exclusive report from The Illuminerdi reveals. Real-estate agents Jim and Sara Evers (Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason) are handing over the keys to the manor to Gabbie and her young son, in an upcoming reboot of the popular comedy horror franchise by writer Katie Dippold. No word yet on the actors playing mother and son, but Tiffany Haddish of The Carmichael Show will reportedly be stepping into the floating orbuculum of Jennifer Tilly, the fortune teller from the original film. Haddish will be playing a psychic, Harriet, who isn’t as good at her job as the premise would have us believe.
Tiffany Haddish’s Harriet is accompanied by three other supporting characters: a university academic well-versed in the history of New Orleans, a local priest with the ability to exorcise spirits, and a ghost tour guide named Ben Matthias who is still grieving the death of his wife. Before taking on the city’s haunted French Quarter, Matthias was an up-and-coming engineer whose camera could take snapshots of wandering phantoms in the area. The character abandoned the project when he became a widower and though he profits off of the ghosts of The Seven Years’ War residing in Vieux Carré, he no longer believes in the supernatural. Sources close to Deadline allege Disney is courting Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah) for the part.
The reboot takes place in an entirely new Haunted Mansion with none of the backstory involved in Eddie Murphy’s take. Seeing as multiple Haunted Mansions could exist at the same time, the new storyline may still incorporate the same lore and pick up where the original left off. Last we saw the Evers, the ghost of Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) entrusted the family with the deed to the mansion; it’s unknown if the Evers sold it or kept the house for themselves, but they did go on vacation with some undead souvenirs in tow. Madame Leota, Jennifer Tilly’s character and Tiffany Haddish’s paranormal predecessor, joined the Singing Busts (The Dapper Dans) as Jim Evers drives them down Lake Ponchartrain Highway toward the sunset. This is the trailer for the original Haunted Mansion from 2003:
While Tiffany Haddish’s character may be having a lot of fun, the main character Gabbie, is a single mother who will reportedly purchase the new Haunted Mansion from an unseen realtor. Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason haven’t been rubber-stamped for the new movie and it still isn’t entirely clear if the new take is a sequel or a by-the-books reboot, but it certainly already has a feel of the original. Many of the Gracey manor’s living and breathing quirks make their way to the second installment, like the hitchhiking ghosts and hallways that stretch forever.
The new Haunted Mansion is already in active development over at Disney. Justin Simien (Dear White People) is directing. The project is part of the company’s current slate of blockbusters based on preexisting theme park rides, beginning with Pirates of the Caribbean from 2003 onward and tomorrow’s Jungle Cruise adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the lead roles. A Tower of Terror feature is also underway with Scarlett Johansson top-billing, as well as a Magic Kingdom movie-verse with Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore already working on a first entry, The Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The Haunted Mansion film starring Tiffany Haddish is still in pre-production.