Guillermo del Toro is juggling so many projects it's difficult to keep up with them all. Last night saw the premiere of his new FX series "The Strain", he has CRIMSON PEAK coming at us soon, he's developing PACIFIC RIM 2, and it seems that his long-awaited adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS may finally be gaining traction. One film that seemingly got lost in the shuffle is his take on Disney's THE HAUNTED MANSION, a film we first heard about four years ago, getting a few sparse updates ever since the initial annoucement.
Del Toro recently took part in a Reddit AMA and was asked if there were any updates on THE HAUNTED MANSION. Here's what he had to say:
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. It is a movie I would love to direct, but I would be happy to just produce it if the timing is not right. I, by the way, was named Guest for the Day for the Haunted Mansion the last time I did, which gave me unlimited access to ride the mansion several times during the day. Unfortunately it was just the moment my left knee decided to bust and I had to go back home with a busted knee.
So there you have it. They're still trying to crack the script, which tells me it could still be quite a while before we hear of any movement on this project. With del Toro so busy with other projects it seems likely that if it does happen he probably won't be directing, but serving as a producer instead. Time will tell, but I'm hoping that we'll get to see his vision of the 999 happy haunts one day.