Johnny Depp to Play Iconic Role in Universal’s Monster Universe

John Phillips/Getty Images

John Phillips/Getty Images

Universal has just nabbed another A-list name for its monster movie universe. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Johnny Depp is set to star in the studio’s upcoming iteration of The Invisible Man.

Based on H.G. Wells’s 1897 sci-fi novella of the same name, The Invisible Man centers on a gifted scientist who finds a way to turn himself invisible, at the price of his own sanity. Universal first adapted the story in the 1933 black-and-white classic starring Claude Rains. The original film version earned widespread critical acclaim and spawned several sequels (although none of the follow-ups quite lived up to the first). It’s also inspired countless other movies in the genre, such as Paul Verhoeven’s 2000 film Hollow Man.

Now, Universal is bringing The Invisible Man back, as part of its effort to reestablish the classic movie monsters that have long since been a piece of its legacy. Depp will play the titular chemist, while Alex Kurtzman (Mission Impossible III) and Chris Morgan (both of whom are overseeing all of the studio’s planned monster reboots) will produce. It remains unclear who will pen the adaptation, although THR reports that the job is rumored to be going to Ed Solomon, who is best known for writing Men in Black and Now You See Me.

This isn’t the first time that Universal has attempted to remake The Invisible Man. In 2007, the studio attempted to develop a new version of the story with David Goyer (the Blade trilogy, The Dark Knight) and Imagine Entertainment. That project never ended up coming to fruition and last year, Universal eventually announced new plans to launch its monster-themed cinematic universe, starting with next year’s The Mummy.

For Universal, Depp will be the second major movie star that has recently signed on to the upcoming monster remake projects. Last month, it was announced that Tom Cruise had officially joined the cast of The Mummy project, which is set for release in summer 2017. Between his participation and the addition of Depp to The Invisible Man, Universal is making it known that it’s planning to go all-out with its monster universe.

Aside from The Mummy and The Invisible Man, there are several other monster flicks slated to rebooted in the studio’s upcoming series. Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Van Helsing are all also set for redevelopment. An Avengers-style team-up movie is also reportedly being planned, for which Cruise and Depp will likely be contracted to appear in.

There’s no word yet on a timeline for The Invisible Man and how soon it will follow The Mummy. In the meantime, Depp is staying plenty busy. He has both Yoga Hosers and the Alice Through the Looking Glass sequel set to premiere later this year. He also has Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales set for 2017 and will also be lending his voice to the animated character of Sherlock Gnomes in Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes in 2018.

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