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Nicolas Cage reveals how his father inspired his bonkers take on Dracula in 'Renfield'
Nicolas Cage pulled from a deeply personal place to create a Dracula performance like you've never seen before.
To give some of the iconic and, let's face it, wild performances that Nicolas Cage is known for, an actor has to draw inspiration from a myriad of interesting places. When it comes to his take on the iconic Count Dracula in the upcoming movie Renfield, he revealed the character is inspired by someone deeply personal to him.
Renfield promises a never-before-seen take on the legendary vampiric character done in a way that only an actor as daring and egoless as Cage can pull off. Director Chris McKay previously cited films like The Graduate, An American Werewolf in London and Evil Dead II as inspirations for their modern spin on Dracula. In an interview with Total Film, Cage himself revealed that getting into character for the role eventually led him to model his take after his father, August Coppola.
Being the cinephile that he is, the actor explained he took the role to challenge himself and stand with some of the greats, which immediately made him think of one of the most iconic Dracula performances of all time.
“I went back to Christopher Lee, in terms of his manner of speaking, but that was really only a starting point," Cage said. "I knew Christopher. I did a small scene with him in Season of the Witch, and I liked him very much. We had a lot of nice conversations, and he reminded me quite a bit of my father, August. So from then on, my dad sort of became the main inspiration for me."
As the trailer for Renfield sets up, the movie tackles the story of Dracula in the modern day from the perspective of his long-suffering assistant. Therefore, the villain is seen as less of a fiend of the night and more of a, well, toxic and crappy boss. Not only does a father figure lend itself well to the depiction Renfield is going for, but Cage’s dad was a literature professor who spoke with erudite distinction and they sometimes had a complicated and combative relationship, as the actor noted in a 1996 LA Times interview.
Sounds like the right fit for both a toxic employer and a Dracula to us!
"More importantly than borrowing from my father, or from Christopher Lee, it’s really about the psyche of the character," he added in his latest interview. "An addiction to blood is not unlike an addiction to alcohol or heroin or sex, so I thought about how that lust can drive someone into darker dimensions.”
Character inspiration aside, Cage even has his father to thank for introducing Dracula into his life in the first place. In that same LA Times interview, the actor explained that his father’s eclectic taste in artistic films meant highbrow cinema from directors like Frederico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa were playing in his house all the time, including F. W. Murnau's original Nosferatu.
You can finally see how Cage’s real-life inspiration plays out on screen when Renfield hits theaters on April 14, 2023.
*Reporting by Tyler McCarthy.