Danny DeVito Is The Latest Grim, Grinning Cast Member Of The Haunted Mansion

Well, it seems like the cast for Disney's latest feature length version of "The Haunted Mansion" has another doomed soul to add into the mix. The always dependable Danny DeVito will be joining LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, and Rosario Dawson for the "Haunted Mansion" film from director Justin Simien ("Bad Hair," "Dear White People").

The Hollywood Reporter got the scoop on the casting, although details are still very limited at the moment. DeVito is apparently playing a "smug professor" which, honestly, could be either living or dead. The basic plot is supposed to follow a mother and son who find themselves at the Haunted Mansion and attempt to unravel its spooky mysteries. If you're at all familiar with the Disney Parks attraction you'll know there are AT LEAST 999 happy haunts to keep them company along the way.

Horror or Comedy? What's the Ratio?

That cast is interesting. Most of them lean towards comedy, although they all have turned in quality dramatic performances. Haddish might be the most flat-out comedy actor in the bunch, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. A "Haunted Mansion" movie has to be silly, at least a little bit. The tone of the ride is cut almost evenly in two. It starts off scary and gets progressively lighter in tone as your doom buggy goes through the mansion. The anticipation of the ghosts is more scary than actually seeing them.

That said, Disney's first attempt at a "Haunted Mansion" movie was a full blown broad family comedy and that doesn't work either. You need a combination of scary and funny to do this world justice, which is why I was particularly intrigued when Guillermo del Toro was developing this. You know a del Toro Haunted "Mansion" is gonna creep you the hell out.

Surely the Hitchhiking Ghosts Will Make an Appearance

Justin Simien has proven he has chops when it comes to funny characters and I don't doubt he'll excel at whatever the tone is for this thing, but that's the biggest question I have now. More than period vs. modern day setting, more than who is playing who (is Dawson the mom or Haddish? Or someone who hasn't been cast yet?), more than how the Mansion is going to look or what aspects from the attraction are going to pop up... I just want to know the tone they're going for because to me that's the make-it or break-it hurdle for this film.

We're in a good time for family friendly horror. Netflix's recent "Nightbooks," the success of "Stranger Things," and the pending release of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" proves that, so will this new trip to the Mansion dip its toes into the creepier side of the attraction or go back to what they tried before with the 2003 film, a flat out goofy comedy that happens to have ghosts in it? I guess we'll find out when the film is eventually released.

"The Haunted Mansion" is currently filming in New Orleans and Atlanta. No release date has been set, but Halloween of 2022 isn't out of the question.