Owen Wilson talks ‘Haunted Mansion’ and paranormal phenomena

Wilson Haunted Mansion
Pictured are (from left) Rosario Dawson as Gabbie, Tiffany Haddish as Harriet, LaKeith Stanfield as Ben, and Owen Wilson as Father Kent in Disney’s ‘Haunted Mansion’.
Jalen Marlowe / Disney Enterprises, Inc.

By Maria Estévez, MWN 

The film ‘Haunted Mansion’ is the latest Disney project featuring Owen Wilson as the strange Father Kent. In the plot, a doctor (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son (Chase Dillon), seek to start a new life in a strangely affordable New Orleans mansion, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for. Desperate, they contact a priest (Owen Wilson), who, in turn, enlists the help of a widowed scientist turned failed paranormal expert (LaKeith Stanfield), a French Quarter psychic (Tiffany Haddish) and a cantankerous historian played by Danny DeVito. 

The movie is based on the classic Disney theme park attraction and is directed by Justin Simien. 

Metro recently spoke with Owen Wilson to learn more. 

Do you believe in ghosts?

Sure. I’ve never experienced them, but I’d like to think they exist. I certainly believe in paranormal phenomena.

This is the second time in your career that you play a similar character.

Yes, although the last time I was in this kind of genre, my character didn’t survive. This case is different, but I don’t want to say much more about the story.

What kind of kid were you? Did you like horror movies?

Little Owen was a little mischievous, kind of like Tom Sawyer. You don’t end up in military school because you’re a model child, but I wasn’t a juvenile delinquent either. I liked to get into trouble and yes, I liked horror movies. My two brothers and I were a lot alike. My childhood was great.

Were you familiar with the attraction the movie is based on?

No. My experience with the theme park ride was nil. I never rode it, until I went to the park to do a promotion for the movie.

What did you want to be as a child?

Well, I didn’t think filmmaking was possible. I used to go to the movies because I loved them, but the idea of being an actor and working in the industry… I didn’t even dare to dream about it. I thought people in Hollywood would have laughed at me. It seemed ridiculous to me to aspire to be an actor, and I was convinced that I would follow in my father’s footsteps in the world of advertising. Then I started writing and things changed, I realized I could dream of becoming something by telling stories.

How would you explain the character of Father Kent?

He looks like any chatty salesman who wants to convince you to buy his products. Actually, when the movie starts you’re not quite sure of his intentions because his words aren’t accurate, and what he says doesn’t match his actions. Then he is able to put together the necessary equipment to fight the ghosts.

What attracts you to this type of film genre?

In this case, it was the director. Talking to Justin won me over because I really enjoyed his vision and his ability to listen to others for ideas. The shoot was great. That’s going to be one of the pleasures for the audience to see so many actors enjoying their characters. For me, it was a great opportunity because I’ve become very close friends with Danny DeVito.

What was the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

My father gave it to me when I told him I was going to take up writing. He was surprised and advised me to always trust myself. I guess he knew it was going to be hard for me to accept rejection, but in this industry, it’s very natural. He told me that life would surprise me because help always comes from who you least expect it. To quote Mark Twain: “There’s no such thing as an uninteresting life, such a thing is an impossibility. Beneath the dullest exterior, there is a drama, a comedy, a tragedy.” So you better learn to ask for help because we’re all going to need it.

Tell us about your sense of humor.

I like to think I have a very sophisticated sense of humor, although I know that sometimes I can be flipping from one channel to another and do physical comedy with no problem. No matter how witty you respond, sometimes, in spite of yourself, absurdist humor is more natural.

Haunted Mansion‘ is now showing in theatres.