‘Upgrade’ writer/director Leigh Whannell has signed on to direct a reboot of ‘The Invisible Man.’ The project reunites Whannell with Jason Blum, who is producing the Universal Pictures movie through his Blumhouse banner. Also, Whannell is co-producing the film.
Whannell has previously worked with Blumhouse Productions on successful films, such as the ‘Insidious’ franchise. Their most recent collaboration was last year’s ‘Upgrade.’ As for Blum, he just got his 11th No. 1 opening as M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’ grossed more than $100 million globally over the four-day MLK weekend. His next release is the sequel to 2017’s ‘Happy Death Day,’ releasing February 13.
Johnny Depp was previously attached to ‘The Invisible Man,’ but it seems he will not appear in this film. However, he may be featured in another one of the monster movie projects in development, sources say.
Variety reports the move is part of a fresh strategy for Universal’s monsters properties. The plan is to bring creative directors with distinctive visions to the classic characters.
Universal has tabled the idea of an interconnected universe. They are reassessing how to keep the enduring characters relevant for a new generation. In other words, the ‘Dark Universe’ is officially dead. Universal remains committed to creating compelling filmmaker-driven projects based on characters from the studio’s vast monsters legacy.
The decision comes after ‘The Mummy’ underperformed at the box office. This led to the studio taking a new look at the strategy for the remaining monster characters. This includes ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Dracula,’ ‘The Wolfman,’ and ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon.’
Variety had this to say on the new direction of the Universal Monsters:
“By not mandating a unified, connected universe of monster stories, the studio will be able to open up the characters to filmmakers who will be inspired to create their own unique stories. Insiders say Universal has met with a number of prominent directors for various properties, and ‘The Invisible Man’ is one of those new films. But hiring Whannell does not necessarily mean this will be the next monster movie to go into production, as other pitches are also coming together revolving around different characters.”
“Upcoming titles for Universal’s new monster strategy will be rooted in horror, with no restrictions on budget, tone, or rating, and no expectation that they will exist as part of a shared universe. An insider close to the process said freeing up the characters’ origins and stories to different interpretations will help them appeal to modern audiences.”
“The talent previously attached to various monster roles like Depp, Javier Bardem, Tom Cruise, and Russell Crowe still have the option to appear in the movies after a filmmaker with a new vision is brought on.”
This sounds an excellent idea, and should have been the plan from the very beginning. Well, better late than never, as most have already welcomed the idea with open arms. For example Clark Gregg and Scott Derrickson have already given their seal of approval.
— Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) January 28, 2019
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) January 28, 2019
Further, Whannel took to Twitter himself to confirm that not only is he indeed on the project, but he is also the writer of the film:
Remember that horror movie I told you guys I was writing a while back? So excited to bring this to life! https://t.co/Yp8mcbAlMP
— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) January 28, 2019
It is unknown what other projects are in development, or which people are currently making pitches to Universal.
‘The Invisible Man’ does not have a release date yet.