Richard Matheson is one of those legendary authors whose brains are fountains of good ideas. His concepts and the stories containing them have been adapted for screens both big and small for years now, including I Am Legend and 1957’s sci-fi adventure The Incredible Shrinking Man. MGM now wants to take a new look at the latter, nabbing the rights and setting Matheson to co-write the script with his son.
The original book (called The Shrinking Man) arrived on shelves in 1956. It follows Scott Carey after he’s exposed to a cloud of radioactive insecticide spray whilst on holiday. The chemicals make him shrink, which causes problems in his marriage and eventually ends up with the unfortunate Carey subsisting on cheese purloined from mousetraps and battling the family cat for survival (though let's face it, you don't always need to be shrunk to do that.)
While the book’s themes are more about masculinity and confidence, the film touched upon atomic fears and the technological achievements that encroach upon our lives. “My original story was a metaphor for how man’s place in the world was diminishing,” Matheson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “That still holds today, where all these advancements that are going to save us will be our undoing.”
While Universal released the original (and 1981’s more comedic take The Incredible Shrinking Woman), it had been trying to work up a new version, again with a funnier bent, for years. Eddie Murphy was attached for a while to play a magician who shrinks thanks to a spell. But the studio couldn’t make it work and let the rights lapse, which is how MGM got hold of them.
Matheson and Richard Matheson Jr will craft another serious spin on the material, updating the story to include such ideas as nanotechnology. There’s no director or cast attached just yet.