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Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

Since The Invisible Man successfully creeped on the box office early in the year, Universal has been going big on developing a number of projects centered on their classic movie monsters. Following news that a modern take on The Wolfman, led by Ryan Gosling, is moving forward with Upgrade’s Leigh Whannell earlier this week, the studio is also reportedly developing a family-friendly film called Little Monsters from the writer/director of Toy Story 4.

Pixar alum Josh Cooley is penning the script and directing a live-action / animation hybrid film for the studio that is said to be a “love letter” to classic Hollywood, per THR. Specifics of the plot of Little Monsters have not been disclosed, but the movie will take a “multigenerational approach to the monsters.” Sidenote: this looks to be a completely original idea as opposed to being connected to 1989’s Little Monsters starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel, or Lupita Nyong’o’s 2019 zombie flick.

The project will be based on the character outlines of the creature designer and concept artist behind Jurassic Park and the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Crash McCreery. His vision has not been unveiled, but you can check out this recent design he did for the Wolfman last year for Universal Studios’ Horror Nights:

It’s a unique pairing to put the creature designer together with Josh Cooley, who started at Pixar 17 years ago to work on storyboards for 2004’s The Incredibles. Over that time with the studio, Cooley also storyboarded Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2 before co-writing the screenplay for Inside Out and making his directorial debut with Toy Story 4. He has since left Pixar and became attached to an animated Transformers film in April.

Universal looks to be going in a number of different directions with its classic movie monster properties, between more timely takes on characters such as David Koepp’s Bride of Frankenstein script, which is said to be relevant to the #metoo era, and Karyn Kusama’s Dracula film, which will draw from the classic Bram Stoker novel.

It’s especially exciting how experimental Universal is getting with its plans for monster films, and I’d imagine it's stretching itself across multiple genres and types of filmmakers can only help the studio succeed, following scrapped plans to build an extended Dark Universe with interconnected characters after the highly disappointing reception of The Mummy remake, starring Tom Cruise, in 2017.

Before the release of The Invisible Man, it was reported that Universal was actively seeking “filmmaker passion” to take on the properties collecting dust for the studio, and Little Monsters looks to be another product of its new framework. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates on Universal’s upcoming monster projects as they come to us.

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