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Warning: SPOILERS for The Invisible Man are ahead!
Among the many ways that the latest cinematic adaptation of The Invisible Man differs from both the original H.G. Wells novel and the 1933 movie starring Claude Rains is the method in which the eponymous character becomes invisible. Rather than ingesting chemicals to pull off the feat, this version of the villain created a high-tech camouflage suit to mask his form.
Needless to say that such a suit doesn’t exist in real life, but The Invisible Man writer and director Leigh Whannell believes that it could be put together one day. During his recent appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, Whannell was asked about the science of how The Invisible Man’s suit works, and he answered:
For me, it’s projection. It’s cameras mapping out any room that you walk into and taking thousands of thousands of photographs per minute. And then projecting each image so that wherever you move, you’re changing the perspective. I talked to some scientists and they said it was plausible and possible. If you had the right tech and you could figure it out. It’s amazing what cameras can do. And to be honest, I don’t think they’re that far away. I don’t think there’s that much of a bridge between an app on your phone that can change the look of your face or age you or erase objects from a room, and being able to do this. So that’s what I really felt was freeing about this movie was using tech to ground it. I wanted to make it very grounded, realistic. I wanted to get away from the idea of a serum or a potion, these more gothic, retro ideas.
So while The Invisible Man’s camouflage suit isn’t something one can just whip up in a garage or workshop, with the right amount of money and resources available, Leigh Whannell suspects this technological marvel isn’t that far off from becoming a reality. In Whannell’s mind, if we can change our appearance or erase objects through apps and computer programs, then it’s not that far a leap to harness such misdirection and erasure on an actual person.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait to see if a camouflage suit will indeed be created in the coming decades. Assuming the military doesn’t swoop in and keep its existence a secret, one would imagine that such technology would warrant a lot of news coverage. To be safe though, we shouldn’t discount the possibility that like in The Invisible Man, someone involved with the creation of said suit could don it for nefarious purposes. The chances of that happening are extremely slim, but better safe than sorry.
Either way, Leigh Whannell felt using technology as the source of invisibility in The Invisible Man rather than relying on chemicals again was a good way to make the movie feel more real. And as ReelBlend co-host Kevin McCarthy noted, the fact that it’s conceivably plausible that someone could render themselves invisible in such a way that made the movie more terrifying.
You can listen to Leigh Whannell’s full interview on ReelBlend below.
Back when The Invisible Man was part of Universal’s Dark Universe slate, the plan was for Johnny Depp to play the character, but The Mummy’s critical and commercial underperformance put a stake in this shared universe before it even had the chance to truly take off. As a result, whatever the story was for the Depp-led Invisible Man was tossed aside, and Leigh Whannell, who co-created the Saw franchise and has also directed Insidious: Chapter 3 and Upgrade, was brought in to deliver his own take.
Leigh Whannell’s version of The Invisible Man stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, who, after escaping from Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s Adrian Griffin, her abusive ex-boyfriend, inherits his fortune after he commits suicide. However, Cecilia soon begins to realize that not only did Adrian fake his death, but he’s also stalking her and is somehow able to blend into his surroundings.
The Invisible Man is now playing in theaters, and in addition to earning a lot of positive reviews, it’s made nearly $50 million worldwide so far off a $7 million budget. Be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie, and you can also scan through our 2020 release schedule to learn what movies are coming out later this year.