Johnny Depp joins the Universal monsters as the Invisible Man

Universal Studios' revived line of classic movie monsters has just landed a second huge star.

According to The Wrap, Johnny Depp has signed to play the Invisible Man in a remake/reboot of the classic 1933 film starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale.

Depp is the second major actor to be recruited for Universal's relaunch of its classic monsters, with Tom Cruise recently coming on board the remake of The Mummy.

Although there is no director attached to The Invisible Man yet, the Hollywood Reporter indicates that Men in Black screenwriter Ed Solomon is tackling the script. He's being overseen by Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Chris Morgan (Furious 7), who were given the mandate by Universal to create new versions of Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, etc. and weaving them into a shared universe.

The Invisible Man is based on the 1897 novel by science fiction legend H.G. Wells, in which a scientist named Griffin discovers the secret of making himself transparent even as the process drives him insane. The 1933 film, which featured a tremendous (and mostly unseen) performance by Rains and groundbreaking visual effects for its time, was largely faithful to Wells' book and remains the gold standard of invisibility movies (which admittedly is not a large field).

The signing of Depp, and Cruise before him, signals that Universal is serious about rebooting its classic monsters in a big way -- you don't nab stars like that for low-budget quickies. What remains to be seen is whether these new films will stay true to their more atmospheric horror roots or become overblown action spectacles -- like the last iteration of The Mummy, for instance. But Depp, meanwhile, sounds like a great choice to play the Invisible Man, don't you think?

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