Nearly four years ago, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro revealed that he is directing Haunted Mansion 3D for Walt Disney Pictures, although we haven't heard anything regarding the project since then. Of course, this is likely due to the fact that Guillermo del Toro is one of the busiest directors in town, with a number of projects in various stages of development including Pacific Rim 2, At the Mountains of Madness and his haunted house thriller Crimson Peak, not to mention The Strain TV series he created, which debuts this Sunday on FX.
The director held a Reddit AMA session early today in support of The Strain, where he offered an update on Haunted Mansion 3D's status, revealing that he is working on a new draft of the screenplay with two different writing teams, but they still have not fully cracked the story yet.
"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."
The filmmaker added that they already have concept artwork and maquettes of the Hat Box Ghost, which will likely be played by Doug Jones.
"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."
He also hinted that, due to his busy schedule, he may end up just serving as a producer on Haunted Mansion 3D.
"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."
The filmmaker revealed earlier this week that he is shooting a black and white creature movie before he starts production on Pacific Rim 2. With so many other projects on his plate, it wouldn't be surprising if he just ended up producing Haunted Mansion 3D, but that all depends on when the screenplay will be ready to shoot. The movie is based on the Walt Disney World theme park attraction of the same name, which was previously adapted into the 2003 family movie The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy.