The first synopsis for Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man remake has been shared online, giving us our first indication of what shape Universal’s reboot, starring Handmaid Tale’s Elisabeth Moss, may take.
Inspired by H.G. Wells’ 1897 science fiction novel of the same name, The Invisible Man has been a Hollywood staple ever since James Whale’s 1933 adaptation starring Claude Rains in the title role, which became a cornerstone of Universal’s horror stable. The character appeared in a number of sequels and spin-offs and was rebooted in 2000 as Hollow Man starring Kevin Bacon.
Where the Wells’ source novel saw a scientist trying to piece his life back together accidentally turning himself invisible, this new version sees the power of invisibility being harnessed for an evil cause.
Here’s the synopsis, via Flickering Myth, for the film which is currently shooting in Australia:
What you can’t see can hurt you. Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss (Us, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale) stars in a terrifying modern tale of obsession inspired by Universal’s classic monster character.
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer, NBC’s The InBetween), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid, HBO’s Euphoria).
But when Cecilia’s abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
A reboot of The Invisible Man was initially mooted to be part of Universal’s doomed Dark Universe franchise that began and ended with 2017’s The Mummy.
Read more: Why Dark Universe failed
The Tom Cruise action horror was a flop with critics and audiences alike, and the plan for a shared Dark Universe, populated by The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein et al was shelved indefinitely.
My Invisible family. Love these guys. pic.twitter.com/TLYo7sPFUp— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) August 25, 2019
Johnny Depp had been due to play The Invisible Man, but that was scrapped when Universal handed control of its monsters properties to low-budget horror maestros Blumhouse.
The studio responsible for Get Out, Insidious, The Purge and Glass hired Aussie filmmaker Leigh Whannell, the co-creator of Saw, to write and direct the new incarnation which began shooting in Sydney this July.
Any recommendations for things to do in Sydney? No? Okay, I think I’ll just go shoot a movie then. STARTING TODAY. pic.twitter.com/0KZrk5R10u— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) July 16, 2019
According to Variety, 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.”
“Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life,” said Peter Cramer, Universal’s president of production.
“We are excited to take a more individualised approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.”
The Invisible Man is scheduled for release on 28 February 2020.