He might still be best known for Dear White People (and its spin-off series), but writer/director Justin Simien‘s most recent film was horror trip Bad Hair. He’s sticking with a scary mood for an upcoming movie, albeit with more of a family friendly twist, as he’s the latest director attached to adapt the Haunted Mansion attraction for Disney.
The Haunted Mansion first began spooking guests at Disneyland in 1969 and sends those brave enough to cross its threshold on the “doom buggy” ride through the building, encountering ghosts along the way. In 2003, a version starring Eddie Murphy saw him as a workaholic real estate agent who is summoned to a mansion with his family that turns out to be full of ghosts, and they learn lessons about their relationships along the way. Though it made more than $180 million, it didn’t score much critical love and was overshadowed by the success of the Pirates franchise.
And this isn’t the first time that the studio has flirted with the idea of the place as the setting for a new film – Guillermo del Toro had it on his sprawling to-do list (with Ryan Gosling briefly on board), but that seems to be buried somewhere in Disney’s development graveyard.
This latest version is planned as something quite different from the 2003 version – it has a current script by Ghostbusters (2016) co-writer Katie Dippold, but chances are Simien will be working on it, given that he has tended to write his movies in the past.