Home MoviesMovie News ‘Haunted Mansion’ Director Justin Simien Emphasizes the Significance of Real-life Effects

‘Haunted Mansion’ Director Justin Simien Emphasizes the Significance of Real-life Effects

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Haunted Mansion

This year has seen a recurring discussion about the employment of special effects in high-budget movies. Controversial cases include the widely criticized CGI in The Flash, and Christopher Nolan’s complete absence of CGI in Oppenheimer. Directors have expressed their thoughts about striking a balance between their creative vision and the financial implication of executing it as realistically as possible. The discourse continued during the Directors on Directors’ panel at SDCC, where Justin Simien, director of Haunted Mansion, shed light on the visual effects incorporated in the upcoming family film.

In a movie where ghosts are causing havoc in a large mansion, it’s only logical to anticipate a substantial use of CGI. However, there are certain elements that production houses often overlook in an attempt to make them appear as genuine as possible. As Simien conveyed to the panel moderator (and our Editor-in-Chief) Steve Weintraub, Disney did not hesitate to construct the entire mansion for the set:

“The mansion is scrupulously designed. The specificity of the details is overwhelming. So, there was an abundance of details… and there was no resistance. I believe Disney, more than anyone, appreciated the importance of these details. In essence, I was incredibly passionate about starting with practical, in-camera effects. I think that’s part of the charm of that ride…It involves Pepper’s Ghost and actual smoke and mirrors. So, we went out there and I was like ‘Folks, I really don’t… I want to construct the mansion! I understand that it’s a major request, but I want to create these interiors and I want to physically pull Tiffany Haddish in the chair through this thing.’ I don’t want everything to be purely imaginative and make-believe, and I was thrilled that they allowed me to do that.”

Image via Disney

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Justin Simien Shares His Non-Negotiable Inclusion for Haunted Mansion

Simien disclosed another aspect he was “adamant” about when he joined the project. The director insisted on having a Black lead in the film, not just for the sake of representation, but also because Disney’s theme park ride is supposedly located in New Orleans, a city with an 85% Black population. Despite his love for the ride and Disneyland, the absence of “any black people” in the paintings on the walls didn’t make sense to him. He strongly felt the need to do justice to New Orleans in the film.

Haunted Mansion revolves around a mother and her child who move into a mansion, only to discover it’s haunted. To dispel the ghosts and make their new home less scary, they seek the assistance of experts. The cast boasts of stars such as LaKeith Stanfield (Atlanta), Owen Wilson (Loki), Danny DeVito (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka), Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek), Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out), and Jared Leto (Morbius).

Haunted Mansion will premiere in theaters on July 28. The trailer can be viewed below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Haunted Mansion

Who is the director of the movie ‘Haunted Mansion’?

Justin Simien is the director of the movie ‘Haunted Mansion’.

What does Justin Simien say about the use of practical effects in ‘Haunted Mansion’?

Justin Simien emphasizes his preference for using practical, in-camera effects in ‘Haunted Mansion’. He also mentions Disney’s support for his vision, building an entire mansion set for the movie.

What was Justin Simien adamant about when joining the ‘Haunted Mansion’ project?

Justin Simien was adamant about having a Black lead in the movie. He argued for this not just for representation, but also because the ride, which the movie is based on, is located in New Orleans, a predominantly Black city.

Who are the cast members of ‘Haunted Mansion’?

The ‘Haunted Mansion’ boasts of a star-studded cast including LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jared Leto.

When will ‘Haunted Mansion’ premiere?

‘Haunted Mansion’ will premiere in theaters on July 28.

More about Haunted Mansion

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Ghostrider67 July 23, 2023 - 8:14 pm

Always been a fan of haunted mansion ride. Can’t wait to see how they bring it to life in the movie, sounds amazing!! Simien’s vision is intriguing.

Nerd_gal83 July 24, 2023 - 12:57 am

So excited for this! Practical effects always beat CGI for me. Feels more authentic, y’know?

FilmBuffBrian July 24, 2023 - 4:25 am

Just read about the cast, sounds impressive! And that mansion set, bet it’s gonna look stunning on the big screen.

GeekyGary July 24, 2023 - 4:33 am

OMG, that cast is stacked!!! Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Jared Leto – I’m so there!

CriticRick July 24, 2023 - 8:32 am

It’s refreshing to see directors still value practical effects. Also, the inclusion of diversity in casting shows progress in film industry, kudos Simien!

MovieFan101 July 24, 2023 - 8:57 am

Woah didn’t know they actually built the mansion, that’s dedication!! cant wait to see it on screen. Simien’s vision sounds epic.

CinephileCharlie July 24, 2023 - 10:35 am

Love Simien’s take on diversity, it’s so important! Respect for insisting on a black lead, New Orleans representation matters.


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