Nicolas Kim Coppola, aka Nic Cage, has his renaissance underway. Pig got great notices and The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent was an absolute blast. He is now set to tackle a horror icon in the form of Dracula.
This will be a different take on the character, as it is for the dark comedy Renfield at Universal. It will co-star Nicholas Hoult as R.M. Renfield. In Dracula lore Renfield appears in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel as Count Dracula’s deranged, fanatically devoted servant and familiar.
He is helping Dracula with his plans in exchange for a continuous supply of insects to consume and the future promise of immortality. Throughout the novel, he resides in an asylum, where he is treated by Dr. John Seward.
In some takes on the source material, Renfield is portrayed as a colleague of Johnathan Harker’s at the law firm where Harker works, or his boss, and fell under Dracula’s spell on a previous visit to Transylvania or while working to finalise the Count’s property purchases in London.
In this version, from The LEGO Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War director Chris McKay, the story of Renfield is slightly different. According to the blurb:
“Tired of the centuries he has worked as the dark prince’s lackey, finds a new lease on life in modern-day New Orleans when he falls in love with a feisty but perennially aggressive traffic cop.”
Cage has given an interview to Empire Magazine and talked about his Dracula, saying he will be less of a classic vampire, and revealed where his inspiration came from:
“When I got a sense of where 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.”
He has spoken about studying previous famous versions of the character. He realised the need for the need for the performance to be physical as well, and how Max Schreck’s Count Orlok from 1922’s Nosferatu is an inspiration around that side of the performance:
“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 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. It’s a largely 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.”
This whole project was pitched by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and has been written by Rick and Morty scribe Ryan Ridley. This feels like it has potential.
Renfield is locked in for April 14th 2023 so we could see a trailer with the next big release of the year.