Elizabeth Banks to direct, star in Universal horror ‘Invisible Woman’

Elizabeth Banks, at the UK premiere of 'Charlie's Angels,' will direct 'Invisible Woman' for Universal.
Elizabeth Banks, at the UK premiere of 'Charlie's Angels,' will direct 'Invisible Woman' for Universal.Joel C Ryan/Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

You won’t see Elizabeth Banks’ next project coming – literally.

Less than a month after directing and co-starring in a “Charlie Angels” reboot for Sony, the Pittsfield native is developing “Invisible Woman,” a fresh take on the iconic Universal movie-monster property.

Banks will star in and direct the movie, also producing with her husband Max Hendelman through the pair’s Brownstone Productions. Erin Cressida Wilson, the Smith College-educated playwright known for scripting thrillers like “Chloe” and “The Girl on the Train,” penned the most recent version of the script, though Banks is expected to do work on it to inject her own stylistic sensibility.


In the original “Invisible Woman,” a screwball comedy released in 1940, a department store model (played by Virginia Bruce) became invisible after being subjected to experimental testing. Using her newfound abilities, the model took revenge on a bad boss and wound up involved in a scheme involving gangsters.

Reporting on Banks’ involvement, The Hollywood Reporter noted the new take’s tone is viewed as “Thelma & Louise” meets “American Psycho,” skewing slightly darker than the original. The project is part of Universal’s on-going effort to bring its library of classic movie monsters, among them Dracula and the Wolfman, back to the big screen.

After the studio’s initial entry in this plan, Tom Cruise’s action-oriented “Mummy" reboot, bombed commercially and critically in 2017, Universal scrapped its concept for an interconnected universe of monster movies, opting instead for a more individualized, filmmaker-driven approach.

First up is “Upgrade” writer-director Leigh Whannell’s horror movie “Invisible Man,” starring Elisabeth Moss as a woman convinced her abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has found a scientific formula for invisibility and is using it to stalk her. It’s out Feb. 28. “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig is also developing “Dark Army,” based on his original concept, while “Rocketman” helmer Dexter Fletcher is expected to tackle “Renfield,” about Dracula’s henchman.


Isaac Feldberg can be reached at isaac.feldberg@globe.com, or on Twitter at @isaacfeldberg.