haunted mansion doug jones hat box ghost

Oscar-nominated actor and former Mouseketeer Ryan Gosling is in talks to star in Guillermo del Toro‘s adaptation of the popular Disneyland ride Haunted Mansion. Find out more about the Ryan Gosling Haunted Mansion developments after the jump.

The Wrap reports that the deal is in the works. Gosling and del Toro seem to have developed a friendship recently, with the Mexican filmmaker moderating a panel with Gosling at SXSW last month and the pair were photographed together at Disney California Adventure over Oscar weekend riding Radiator Spring Racers in Carsland (you must see the photo here). We shouldn’ve known something was up when we heard reports that del Toro took Gosling on Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

A friend was just asking me last night, what is my favorite ride in all of Disneyland, and my answer was it has to be one of the old school dark rides like Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m so excited that this project seems to be back on the right track.

Its been almost five years since del Toro made the initial announcement at San Diego Comic Con 2010. Del toro has said that he wants to make a scary movie in live-action 3D, set in “a heightened reality, which is super designed, incredibly innovative, narratively and visually.” It would not be a comedy, and he would attempt to make “the Haunted Mansion the most haunted place on Earth” and “doing it by being true to the spirit and the art and the aesthetic of the original Imagineers that created the mansion.”

When I talked to del Toro during promotion for Pacific Rim, the filmmaker said that he wrote a screenplay with Mimic/Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake scribe Mathew Robbins but was looking for a screenwriter  “that will bring a lot to it” and that he was “still pursuing a writer that is very hard to get”.  Del toro also spoke about the project last year on Reddit:

Well, I spent 2 weeks ago, I went back to Disneyland with the executives with whom I am developing the screenplay. It’s a hard screenplay to crack. We’ve done it a few times. We are on our third or fourth draft, with 2 different writing teams, and I think the main thing is to try to combine everything that is great about the ride into the movie, and to make it a really intense but with a sense of fun – just like the ride. It’s a tough balance, and I would be happy to report if we had the screenplay. We always feel like we are very close, but not yet. We have developed 50-60 pieces of art, We’ve developed maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, over the body and face of Doug Jones, but we have not succeeded yet in cracking the screenplay. I have to believe that Disney will make this movie as soon as we crack the screenplay, but until then we cannot tackle it.

 

del toro's the haunted mansion poster from comic con 2010

The above poster by Brandon Johnson was given out to attendees at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con panel, and hangs on my wall.

Since the Comic Con announcement, del Toro has said that a reintroduction of the Hatbox Ghost would be center of his plan. For those of you who aren’t Disney nerds, The Hat Box Ghost is a  character that appeared in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland but was removed shortly after the attraction’s debut. Del Toro called the Hatbox Ghost “one of the scariest” images created for the ride, but a character which he also considers “incredibly whimsical.”

“There’s a legend that it was discarded on the first day of the ride’s operation because it was too scary,” said del Toro. “I like that legend, but the reality is that the imagineers could not make the illusion work, so they took it out.”

Here is a bit of history on the character from wikipedia:

Because The Hatbox Ghost featured prominently in artwork and narration for popular Haunted Mansion record albums sold for many years at Disney parks, and because Disney continues to market the ghost’s image, he has never been forgotten and has become somewhat of a legend, complete with cult following. Many fans of the ride wish to see him returned and have gone so far as to circulate petitions calling for the figure’s restoration.

 

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