Following the stumble by The Mummy, which was supposed to lead Universal’s monster renaissance, the studio has set plans in motion for The Invisible Man, to be written and directed by Leigh Whannell (Upgrade, Saw).
According to Variety, the film is part of a new strategy that moves the classic monsters away from the shared “Dark Universe” concept. The focus will be on bringing directors with distinct visions to the classic characters. “Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life,” said Peter Cramer, Universal’s president of production. “We are excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.”
Jason Blum will produce under his Blumhouse Productions shingle. Blum and Whannell worked together on Upgrade. Blumhouse has a reputation for stretching a dollar, and the company’s track record includes Halloween, Get Out, Paranormal Activity, Glass, and BlacKkKlansman. (We won’t mention Jem and the Holograms…)
No cast or crew have been announced aside from Whannell, and it also appears that Johnny Depp is no longer attached to play the title character, although sources do allow for the possibility that he could appear in some role in some film among the various Universal Monster films being pitched right now. Those same sources also tell Variety that Tom Cruise, Javier Bardem, and Russell Crowe also still have the option to return if things align with the new strategy.
Word is that these new monster movies will steer more toward the horror sensibilities, and there won’t be restrictions on tone, rating, budget, or interconnectivity. Other projects are in development, so there’s a chance some other title would be released first, but The Invisible Man is currently the front-runner. Unless and until something else is more … visible?