Disney Characters Replace Actors On ‘Haunted Mansion’ Red Carpet Amid Strike

Disney Characters Replace Actors On ‘Haunted Mansion’ Red Carpet Amid Strike

In the first of many movie premieres from major studios that will be without their stars, Disney’s Haunted Mansion hosted its red carpet with a workaround for the SAG-AFTRA strike. Character villains like Maleficent and Cruella de Vil joined Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they walked the Disneyland event on July 15.

The actual stars of Disney’s summer film release include LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, Daniel Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rosario Dawson to round out the A-list actors. However, none of these cast members and SAG-AFTRA actors attended, observing the union strike that put actors on pause for the foreseeable future. What was originally expected to be a jam-packed affair became a haunting image with only a few press to witness and document the quiet carpet.

The director of Haunted Mansion, Justin Simien, shared his mixed emotions with Variety on doing the premiere without his full team.

“It’s so surreal; it’s so sad and disappointing,” shared the filmmaker. “But I’m not disappointed in this cast. I’m disappointed in the conditions that brought about this situation.”

Furthermore, the Houston native would “really love to sit down” with Disney CEO Bob Iger and discuss his comments regarding the strikers being “realistic” with their demands, as reported by Variety. Iger was not present at the premiere or red carpet, but in the past has been a frequent attendee.

As a Black queer artist, Simien shared how the protagonists in the Disney films he watched as a child inspired him to have unrealistic dreams and thus led him to where he stands today.

Inside the theater, Simien shared that it is a “weird time in the industry,” but still managed to induce laughter and joy on behalf of his film and the 2,000 attendees.

Disney and other big-name studios will have to troubleshoot their premieres or cancel them altogether until negotiations are made. However, while the stars’ absence is certainly felt, it gives visibility to the cause they are fighting for.

In the meantime, to public ambivalence, guests will only have Mickey Mouse and friends to catch up with at these events.

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