Jamie Lee Curtis dropped a ball on social media: specifically, an image of herself as Madame Leota in her crystal ball. Disney's long-awaited, live-action Haunted Mansion film, also featuring LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, and Danny DeVito, is scheduled to release on July 28.
[Director Justin Simien] calls the Oscar-winning actress' take on the beloved medium Madame Leota — a fan-favorite character who appears during the ride's iconic séance scene — "a little subversive" and "a little funny" in its translation from park to screen. Though, it also packs "the gravitas you'd expect" from the legendary conduit between the realm of the living and the spirit world beyond.
"She starts off as one of the relics, one of the items, one of the aspects of the house that has to be discovered, but becomes a functional character and a useful ally in the film," Simien explains of Leota. In the film, the medium assists a single mother (Rosario Dawson) and her young son in ridding their New Orleans home of infesting spirits
The visual cues Simien employs to introduce the audience to his version of Leota might ring a bell of nostalgia, but the story built around her is "entirely new," the filmmaker stresses. Its foundation is rooted firmly in Haunted Mansion history, with the house becoming a vital character in itself.