Elizabeth Banks To Star In And Direct Invisible Woman

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Universal Pictures made a name for themselves with their classic monsters and their various spin-offs and sequels. Since then the studio has attempted to capitalize on them in many ways, usually ending before the ambitious plans could begin, with the likes of Van Helsing in 2004, Dracula Untold in 2014, and the Dark Universe in 2017. Now, Universal Studios is betting big on the business of the invisible. Just weeks after the release of the first trailer for The Invisible Man, the studio is gearing up for another semi-related project with The Invisible Woman.

The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Elizabeth Banks is attached to star and direct in the film which features a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson (The Girl on the Train). Banks will produce the project as well with her husband Max Hendelman under their Brownstone Productions banner. This project is described as an original take based on the title, perhaps a step in the right direction given the original 1940 The Invisible Woman was a comedic riff on the premise made famous by Claude Rains in 1933’s The Invisible Man. Specific plot details are unclear but THR's Borys Kit reports that the project is being described as a tonal mixture of Thelma & Louise and American Psycho.To further add to the confusion, Variety reports that the film will be a very different film from Leigh Whannell's upcoming The Invisible Man and that (like the original films) no crossover plans are in place between the two.

The Invisible Man will debut in theaters next year as the first of these filmmaker driven projects by Universal, arriving after the success of Whannell's Upgrade from last year. The cast for the project includes Elizabeth Moss plus Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Aldis Hodge, Benedict Hardie, and Harriet Dyer.Additional projects in the works that will tap into the Universal Classic Monsters are Dark Army from Paul Feig described as an unconnected "Monster movie," and Renfield, a film focusing on Dracula's henchman from Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley and Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher.

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Universal's first franchise with the "Invisible Man" franchise spawned six total feature films including The Invisible Man Returns (which marked one of the first on-screen roles for legendary actor Vincent Price) and even Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man in 1951.

What do you think of Universal's new strategy for their classic monsters? Do you think audiences will be interested in seeing a movie unrelated to The Invisible Man but with a similar title? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below.