The Invisible Man Director Explains How He’d Reboot Dracula


The two co-creators of Saw have carved out incredibly successful careers for themselves since their 2004 breakout hit. While James Wan has branched out into multi-billion blockbuster territory thanks to the expanded Conjuring universe, Fast and Furious 7 and Aquaman, Leigh Whannell has remained largely in the horror genre, although his second outing as director did bring 2018’s cyberpunk actioner and all-round hidden gem Upgrade.

Whannell’s latest is Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man, with the Australian filmmaker also writing the script and acting as executive producer. The new attempt at rebooting one of Universal’s classic monsters has scored rave reviews from critics for both its scares and subtext, and is widely expected to top the box office this weekend and deliver the latest in a long line of horror hits from Jason Blum’s production company.

With The Invisible Man set to perform well, there’s a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the Universal Monsters, which bodes well for the future after the disastrous Dark Universe experiment. There’s already a number of projects in the pipeline, including Paul Feig’s Dark Army, a Monster Mash musical, Elizabeth Banks’ The Invisible Woman, Dexter Fletcher’s Renfield spinoff and rumored reboots for The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy.

We recently reported that Benedict Cumberbatch was being eyed to play Renfield’s Dracula, and in a recent interview, Whannell was asked about how he’d tackle rebooting the most famous vampire of them all for modern audiences. His simple idea would be to strip away all of the iconography that’s become almost too closely associated with the character.

“So what I would do is try and forget all the iconography, capes, bolts, fangs, strip it right back and pretend this character has never been done before. No Dracula novel was written. How would I present that character today if I was Bram Stoker in 2020 and I just thought of it? You know it wouldn’t be presented the same way. I think I would try to get at the essence of what makes Dracula scary, which is to me, what makes Dracula scary is a lack of mercy… Like, he’s not a romantic. He needs to drink blood. What parallels in life can you think of that equate to someone without mercy. It’s a psychopath, right? I’m would take the character right back to that and be like, I’m going to make the psychopath version of this.”

The most recent attempt at a Dracula adaptation from Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat drew a mixed response from critics, and the Count’s last big screen outing was the often-forgotten and decidedly mediocre Dracula Untold. With The Invisible Man set to bring in big box office and great reviews though, Universal could do worse than handing the keys to Whannell to see if he can reinvent yet another horror icon.