It’s about time for Universal to start up the marketing machine for their horror comedy Dracula movie Renfield, which stars Nicholas Hoult as the title character and Nicolas Cage as his bloodsucking boss. The movie’s April 14, 2023 theatrical release date is not far away. But while we wait to see a trailer for this movie, there have been some interesting things said about it in interviews… like Cage’s list of things that have inspired his performance. He has said that his Dracula voice is meant to sound like a mixture of a Mid-Atlantic accent with some Sir Christopher Lee and a bit of Anne Bancroft. He has also said that some of his movements as the character were inspired by Sadako from Ringu. And now he has said that he was going for a sort of Andy Warhol pop art Dracula performance.
Speaking with Empire magazine (via Syfy), Cage said, “It’s a large studio picture, so I wanted to play with: ‘What can I get away with here?’ If you’re playing Dracula, you have a lot of latitude. When I got a sense of where (director Chris McKay) wanted to go, I realized the movie has a comedic, pop art attitude. So I thought: ‘This will be a pop art Dracula.’ Warhol did a great black-on-black Dracula. This is in that Warhol vein.“
Cage also lifted a bit from Max Shreck’s performance in the silent film classic Nosferatu. “I noticed all these little gestures that are, by today’s standards, ‘over the top.’ When Max Schreck does that [snaps his wrist and extends his fingers] and puffs into smoke, I was like, ‘What is that? Is it a dance? What is he conveying there?’ I said to Chris McKay that I really wanted to find a place to put that in Renfield. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if they kept it, but I tried.“
Based on a treatment written by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Renfield was directed by McKay (The Tomorrow War) from a screenplay by Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty). In Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, R.M. Renfield was an inmate at a lunatic asylum who was thought to be suffering from delusions but actually is a servant of Dracula.
In this film, Renfield has been serving the bloodsucker for centuries, and now he has grown sick and tired of his centuries as Dracula’s lackey. The henchman finds a new lease on life life and maybe even redemption when he falls for feisty, perennially angry traffic cop Rebecca Quincy.
Cage and Hoult are joined in the cast by Awkwafina as traffic cop Rebecca Quincy, Adrian Martinez as her traffic cop partner Chris, Shohreh Aghdashloo as a feared crime lord named Ella, Bess Rous as “people in toxic relationships” support group member Caitlyn, and James Moses Black and Ben Schwartz in unspecified roles.
While Universal is developing several monster projects, they were excited to get Renfield into production first. According to Deadline, the story’s “mix of humor and action was something the studio was looking for because so many of the other properties have more of a horror element to them.”
Kirkman, who has described the film as “a violent comedy”, is producing Renfield with David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst of Skybound Entertainment, alongside McKay’s producing partner Samantha Nisenboim.
Renfield has been rated R for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout, and some drug use.
I can’t wait to see Cage’s Dracula performance. Are you looking forward to Renfield? Let us know by leaving a comment below.