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Justin Simien drew on childhood movies for Haunted Mansion

2023-07-25 17:55
Justin Simien took inspiration from the movies he watched during childhood during the making of the Disney picture 'Haunted Mansion'.
Justin Simien drew on childhood movies for Haunted Mansion

Justin Simien drew on his childhood cinematic influences during the making of 'Haunted Mansion'.

The 40-year-old filmmaker used his experience of watching both horror and comedy to strike the right blend for his new picture which is based on the Disney theme park attraction of the same name.

In an interview with Slash Film, Justin said: "I mean, I grew up on that stuff. The first horror movie I saw was 'Nightmare on Elm Street'. I was five years old and I didn't – well maybe I did turn out kind of weird, but it worked in my favour.

"I think, again, I watched these movies growing up. I watched 'Snow White' and 'Pinocchio', these movies are terrifying. Okay, they are blends of horror and comedy and sweetness and dark and light.

"As a kid, they make you feel like you can face the darkness of the world. And as a black gay kid whose dad died, my world growing up was kind of scary. And these movies made me feel like I could get through it."

Justin explained how he relied on "instinct" to bring the movie that he wished to make to the big screen.

The 'Dear White People' director said: "A lot of it was me just really leaning on my instinct. I don't know how to write drama without being funny and I don't know how to write comedy without being serious. I don't know how to do it. They just live side by side in my brain.

"So I leaned into those instincts and the rest was the usual conversations between the studio. There's testing, there's all that kind of stuff, but a lot of it was like me making the movie I wanted to see."