Universal's The Invisible Man remake recruits producer Jason Blum and Upgrade director Leigh Whannell; Johnny Depp is currently no longer attached. Universal Studios has tried twice to launch a shared universe starring classic movie monsters - first with 2014's Dracula Untold and again in 2017 with the release of Tom Cruise's The Mummy remake. However, both films failed to be the franchise-starter Universal was looking for in each.
In the case of The Mummy, Universal already had plans for an expansive Dark Universe that included not only their rebooted Mummy but new takes on the Invisible Man, with Johnny Depp in the lead role, and the Bride of Frankenstein - with Angelina Jolie reportedly set to portray the titular monster - among others. But after the release of The Mummy in 2017, the Dark Universe saw a number of shake-ups and eventually was reportedly to have dissolved. At the time, it was unclear what the studio would do with its slate of in-development classic monster movies. Now it looks like Universal is starting over, first with a reworked vision for Invisible Man.
Variety is reporting that Universal has recruited Upgrade director Whannell for the Invisible Man remake, while Blum and his Blumhouse Productions banner have also signed on to produce the film. Further, Variety reports Depp is no longer attached to the picture, but may appear in a different monster universe movie. Expanding on that point on Twitter, Variety reporter Justin Kroll said Depp isn't attached anymore due to the film's new direction, but the actor has the option to return.
As revealed by Variety, this new Invisible Man movie isn't part of the Dark Universe and the trade reports Universal is dropping their plans for an interconnected world of monsters. Instead, as reported by Kroll on Twitter, each film will be developed on its own and won't be constrained to a PG-13 rating. That means, Invisible Man - and Universal's other in-development monster movies - could potentially land R ratings. Given the involvement of Blumhouse and Whannell, Invisible Man could easily go that route.
Since plans for the Dark Universe have seemingly been scrapped, and Universal is going in a different direction for Invisible Man, the studio might have finally cracked the recipe for success in its monster movie remakes. Undoubtedly, the addition of Blum as a producer is a smart move considering the great success Blumhouse has had in recent years with their horror offerings. Plus, Whannell's Upgrade was successful both in terms of reception and box office earnings. As such, Blum and Whannell are good choices to help shepherd the Invisible Man into the 21st Century.
That said, it remains to be seen what will become of Universal's other monster movie remakes. But, if the studio is looking for talent of the same caliber as Blum and Whannell, their latest attempt at rebooting classic movie monsters for a modern era might just be their most successful. We'll see once The Invisible Man moves forward.