Leigh Whannell’s upcoming horror thriller “The Invisible Man” may have a title devoted to a male character, but the revisionist take on the H. G. Wells story is actually centered around a woman. Elisabeth Moss leads the film as Cecilia Kass, a woman who manages to escape an abusive relationship only for her abuser (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) to begin tormenting her as an invisible entity. Whannell wrote “The Invisible Man” screenplay, which is rooted in the perspective of a female abuse victim, so when Moss boarded the project in the lead role he was adamant about getting her thoughts on the script to ensure the movie would not just be a women’s story told from a male’s perspective. Whannell encouraged Moss to make any change needed to ensure his “Invisible Man” did right by a female point of view.
“I think most men who are intelligent want to,” Moss recently told Esquire when asked about the importance of men watching film and TV projects about women. “I mean, this was written by a man. He wrote it brilliantly. It’s a beautiful script and what’s on the screen is very, very close to what he wrote. But he also had the intelligence to ask me, as soon as I was cast: ‘Can you please tell me what I did wrong here? What did I miss? You’re a woman, you’re coming at this from a completely different perspective. What can I put in here that will be true to being a female?’”
Moss continued, “Most men that I’ve dealt with, and worked with, have that frame of mind. So, I think that is important, and I think that most smart men know that. But there are some dummies out there.”
According to Moss, Whannell personally spoke to abuse victims before writing “The Invisible Man” screenplay so that his narrative would reflect the reality of being a victim of domestic violence and harassment. Moss had previously done her own research on the topic during her Emmy-winning run on Hulu’s drama series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but “The Invisible Man” continued to teach her about abuse and victimhood.
“There were a couple things that I learned on this journey that I thought were interesting, especially about stigmatisation,” Moss told Esquire. “Victims feel like they’re stupid, or that somehow it’s their fault and they deserve to be in a relationship like that. I felt I had to address my own bias, even judging other women. Like, there have been times when I’ve looked at a woman in a relationship, even just a toxic relationship, and you’re like, ‘What is she doing with him?’ or ‘What is he doing with her?’ It’s really not creating a safe space for that person.”
Universal Pictures is opening “The Invisible Man” nationwide February 28.