Jared Leto Cast In A Movie About Disney’s Best Attraction

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By Charlene Badasie
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A new Haunted Mansion movie is in the works at Disney and Jared Leto and Jamie Lee Curtis have joined the cast. The project will be the second theatrical adaptation of the popular theme park attraction. Eddie Murphy previously led a heavily maligned version in 2003. The story followed a realtor who, along with his family, becomes trapped in a haunted mansion. Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, Marsha Thomason, and Jennifer Tilly appeared in supporting roles. The film is scheduled for release on March 10, 2023.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the latest iteration sees Jared Leto portray the Hatbox Ghost who appears throughout the ride. Meanwhile, Curtis will step into the role of Madame Leota, otherwise known as the psychic medium whose head resides in the ride’s iconic crystal ball. The reboot was first announced in 2010, with Guillermo del Toro signed on to write and produce. But the script he submitted in 2013 was it was “too scary.” So Ghostbusters writer Katie Dippold was brought on to write another screenplay with Justin Simien was confirmed as the director in 2021.

Billed as a supernatural horror comedy, the film will now be suitable for younger viewers too. Along with Jared Leto and Jamie Lee Curtis, the Haunted Mansion also stars Rosario Dawson as single mom Gabbie and Chase Dillon as her son. Lakeith Stanfield appears as widowed scientist-turned failed-paranormal expert Ben Matthias. Owen Wilson appears as a priest named Kent, with Tiffany Haddish as psychic Harriet. Danny DeVito is also featured as a college history professor.

Other than its Haunted Mansion premise, the Jared Leto vehicle is quite different from its predecessor. This time the story follows Gabbie and her 9-year-old son, who is looking to start a new life. They eventually find, and move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans. But after a few nights in their new home, the pair discovers that the place is more than they bargained for. Desperate for help, they contact a priest who enlists the help of a scientist-turned-failed-paranormal expert, a French Quarter psychic, and a crotchety historian to help exorcise the mansion.

Interestingly, Disney recently released a different Haunted Mansion project for its streaming service called Muppets Haunted Mansion. The miniature Muppets feature served as a Halloween special for some of television’s most musical puppets. It was also a charming way to pay homage to the Disney ride. According to CBR, the story is full of references to the ride, so it’s no surprise that the Hatbox Ghost makes an appearance there too. Unfortunately, there’s no Jared Leto in that version. Instead, the popular character is played by Fozzie Bear under the name Gauzey the Hatbox Bear.

Jared Leto’s casting is his first since he appeared in Sony and Marvel’s superhero offering  Morbius. Although the film received praise from critics, most audiences treated it as a joke and perceived the 50-year-old’s method acting techniques as farcical. As a result, he became the subject of countless memes on the internet. Following the backlash, he reflected on the challenges of playing Morbius saying it was not easy at times. “But at the end of the day, when you try to get rid of your character. You learn to find a way to relax and take some distance,” he explained.