Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Johnny Depp Set To Play The Invisible Man In The Revamped Universal Monsters Universe!

One of the most interesting forthcoming franchises in Hollywood has to be the revamped version of the classic Universal Monster Universe. Back in the 30's, Universal beat Marvel Studios to the punch by decades by having various scary figures like Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman rub shoulders. This isn't the first time these individuals have received the remake treatment (The Mummy got a trilogy of Brendan Fraser led remakes while The Wolfman was bestowed a super expensive update in 2010), but this is the first time someones trying to replicate the shared universe aspect of these old features.

The first film in this new universe will be the Tom Cruise* led reboot of The Mummy, set for release on June 9, 2017. Universal has also set a March 30, 2018 for a new Wolfman movie. Last night, a third figure in this universe was officially cast; The Invisible Man. Yep, Johnny Depp is officially onboard to play The Invisible Man, a  role previously played  by Claude Rains in the original 1933 Universal film and by David Spade in the Hotel Transylvania movies. Ed Solomon is writing the script for this new Invisible Man movie and no director has been chosen at this time. For Depp, this is yet another big franchise picture starring him as a well established character, though at least The Invisible Man is more well-known than Barnabas Collins or Mortdecai. After his strong leading turn in Black Mass, I was hoping he'd do more dramas (and he is in talks to be the lead in Triple Frontier, the new J.C. Chandor film), but if I was being offered $20 million per role, I'd probably find it hard to turn down stuff like this too. Hopefully The Invisible Man is just better than his garbage movies like Mortdecai and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

It looks like Universal is out to get movie stars for their new monster films (as a sidenote, Cruise isn't playing the Mummy in The Mummy, that role is being taken up by Sofia Boutella), likely as a way to get them to stand out in the marketplace. Not much is known about this universe of feature films, especially in the way of concrete plot details for individual movies. However, it has been confirmed by the head of Universal, Donna Langley, in a November 2014 interview, that the various films would be set in the present day and be more reliant on action-adventure elements than straight up horror. Seems a bit misguided to me to tone down the very element (the scares) that made these characters so beloved for over 80 years, but I'll keep an open mind.

If they're really going for a more action/adventure vibe (presumably akin to the 2014 feature Dracula Untold, which may or may not be part of this universe), how is that gonna work for The Invisible Man? He doesn't command mystical powers like Dracula or The Mummy, he's just a dude whose turned invisible. The original Invisible Man H.G. Wells novel and feature films centered on the character were thrillers, so how exactly is that gonna translate to an action film? What, is The Invisible Man gonna be a reluctant hero whose hired by the government to use his invisibility to take down terrorists and save the world?

Oh...oh God, that probably is gonna be the plot, isn't it?

*= Quick little theory over here, but I have a hunch Cruise is playing a modern day version of Van Helsing in this Mummy reboot. He had been previously attached to play the character in a solo reboot film back in 2012, and I could see him as Helsing being utilized n this universe as the "Nick Fury" figure; i.e. the one individual who ties all the separate movies together. This isn't a rumor I've heard, this is all totally my own speculation.

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