Count Dracula is one of pop culture’s most famous characters and villains, having been portrayed by countless actors for almost 100 years now in every form of media. It’s now Nic Cage’s turn to don the fangs and gaudy jewelry of the vampire lord in director Chris McKay’s Renfield.
In this version, we see that Dracula’s assistant Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) is trying to separate himself from his master and forge a life of his own, but the two are forever bonded through dark magic. Through this bond, Dracula knows where he is at all times, can communicate via telepathy, and has given Renfield his own set of powers.
McKay along with screenwriters Robert Kirkman (Prime Video’s Invincible) and Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty) are going the more comedic route here and set it in a more contemporary time. The usual Dracula cast of Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, and Abraham Van Helsing is nowhere to be seen, but that’s more than okay since Renfield was Dracula’s herald before the events of the book took place.
Hoult is the latest to portray the character that has been famously played by the likes of Tom Waits, Alexander Granach, Dwight Frye, Klaus Kinski, and Peter MacNichol.
Universal previously tried to reboot its classic monster movie franchises with the Dark Universe, which was to kick off with Dracula Untold and 2017’s The Mummy. After those movies flopped, the studio decided to shift its focus to individual storytelling and move away from the shared universe concept.
In November 2019, Dexter Fletcher (Bohemian Rhapsody) was hired to direct the film for Universal and Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment. The film is more of a comedic approach to the story of Count Dracula in the vein–pun intended–of Taika Waititi’s vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. After Fletcher left the project to work on Paramount’s The Saint reboot, McKay signed on in April of last year.
Renfield is Universal’s newest monster adaption and another that reinvents the classic monster movie after 2020’s Invisible Man starring Elizabeth Moss and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
In addition to Cage, Hoult, Renfield stars Akwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Brandon Scott Jones, and Jenna Kanell. Renfield arrives in theaters on April 14, 2023.