The film industry is going through a phase where the majority of its products are remakes, adaptations, and, thanks to the monumental success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… well, shared universes. That success has left many studios — who don’t own a comic book company as well — scrambling to establish one with any set of characters they may have in their pocket. As a result, Universal Studios has decided to revive its own Shared Monster Movie Universe for a new generation of fans.
The first title on the list is The Mummy, with Tom Cruise on board as lead. That film is set for a 2017 release, and is set to be directed by Alex Kurtzman and written by Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts. But Cruise won’t have to wait long before he is joined by another superstar in this revival of the Monster Movie Universe, as Johnny Depp has recently been cast in the remake of the H.G Wells classic, The Invisible Man.
Deadline reports that Depp is set to star in Universal’s revival of the science-fiction horror classic, with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan serving as producers. There is no director or writer confirmed as of yet, although THR‘s sources claim Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Now You See Me) has been chosen to pen this project. At present, there is no release date attached either, but it could well be the untitled monster movie the studio has slated for 2018.
The Invisible Man is an adaptation of Wells’ work of the same name, which was first published in serialized form in 1897. The story has also been adapted several times, notably in a 1933 film starring Claude Rains as Dr. Jack Griffin – a scientist whose research in optics and experiments focused in changing the human body’s refractive index, lead him to find the formula to become invisible. Naturally, this drives him insane, leaving him paranoid, jealous, and ultimately murderous. The classic film was directed by horror legend James Whale, who was also responsible for Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. The idea of invisibility — and its apparent damaging effects on the human psyche — have been explored many more times, such as in the Paul Verhoeven film Hollow Man, and the character even made a treacherous appearance in the critically maligned League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003. With Depp in the lead and the plan for a shared universe in place, one has to wonder whether or not the film will aim to have his character take on a more heroic presence in the film.
But right now, the larger question is: Will this be a big hit for Depp? Among the actor’s recent works are the musical Into the Woods, Mortdecai, and Black Mass, which, in contrast to the film before it, was praised by critics and audiences alike. He will also star alongside his daughter Lily-Rose Depp in Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers, and will soon return to Wonderland in Alice Through the Looking Glass. He will also reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, to be released next year. While the last two films will likely be financial winners for Depp, they are from well-established franchises that are also getting a little long in the tooth. Perhaps The Invisible Man will be the start of a new lucrative franchise for the actor.
The Mummy opens in U.S. theaters on June 9th, 2017, followed by a currently untitled Monster Movie (rumored to be The Wolf Man) on March 20th, 2018.
Screen Rant will bring you more details on The Invisible Man as they are made available.