Johnny Depp will soon not be seen on screen as The Invisible Man, a new version of the classic H.G. Wells story that was first filmed way back in 1933. Forming part of a planned Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe (UMCU?) along with the already announced Tom Cruise starrer The Mummy, due June 2017, and a future Bride of Frankenstein for which Angelina Jolie is being courted, it marks a big gamble by the Hollywood studio.
No date has yet been given for when we can see Depp first unwind his bandages but as is the nature of shared worlds and connected films, expect it soon, perhaps late 2017. An invisible man, either direct of H.G. Wells’ story or in other forms, has been a firm and regular fixture on both big and small screens since the book was first published, and tales involving invisibility are perhaps as old as man himself. And for good reason; ask anyone what their preferred superpower would be and invisibility will be at the top of many people’s lists. The last big screen effort was Hollow Man (2000), which was also director Paul Verhoeven’s last mainstream, Hollywood film. And it is perhaps to this that the new version will most closely hove as Well’s original tale was that of a man who loses his sanity before going on to commit ever more horrific acts after discovering the secret to invisibility.
Universal was, of course, the original home to all your favourite horror staples. The vast success of Marvel and the big bucks expected of DC’s phalanx of movies that will soon litter multiplexes across the country and around the globe has obviously peaked their interest in thoroughly raiding their back catalogue. So along with these three, we can also expect new versions of Dracula, The Wolfman, and Van Helsing with an Avengers-style team-up rumoured to be an end goal.
Only the box office Gods know if all these will come to pass. Signing such huge names may seem like a good move, but there is something interesting about the triumvirate of Cruise, Depp and Jolie. Megastars they may be but their column inches and tv gossip ubiquity has not been translated into automatic ticket sales for a few years now. Depp’s biggest (and these are big) hits have been in his Pirates of The Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland adventures. It will do his stock no harm whatsoever that sequels to both are his next films to hit our screens.
The Hollywood Reporter adds that Ed Solomon (Men In Black) will likely pen the script. Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, the architects of the Universal’s Monster Movie Universe, are on-board as producers.