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SYFY WIRE Renfield

Nicolas Cage teases his Dracula in 'Renfield,' cites inspiration from 'The Ring' and 'Malignant'

The upcoming film will co-star Nicholas Hoult as the head vampire's right-hand man.

By Josh Weiss
Nicholas Cage Malignant The Ring Header YT GETTY PRESS

While speaking with SYFY WIRE about The Croods: A New Age, director Joel Crawford hailed Nicolas Cage as a living encyclopedia of film knowledge who is capable of calling on an expansive mental rolodex of cinematic performances. Turns out he wasn't whistling dixie because Cage won't be cutting any corners (or fangs) when it comes to his embodiment of Count Dracula in Chris McKay's Renfield.

Recently teasing his interpretation of the iconic character to The Los Angeles Times, the actor cited two unexpected titles as inspiration. “The key, I think, is movement," he said. "I saw a movie called Malignant and the director James Wan and the actress [Annabelle Wallis] created this choreography that was terrifying. So I’m hoping to do something like that where Dracula can either glide or move like Sadako in Ringu."

Of course, Mr. Cage is also a fan of the famous blood-sucking icons that preceded him: Bela Lugosi (1931's Dracula), Frank Langella (1979's Dracula), and Gary Oldman (1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula).

The third entry on that list was directed by the actor's paternal uncle, Francis Ford Coppola. "I called Uncle, and told him that every frame of that movie is a work of art," added Cage, who played an undead creature of the night in Vampire's Kiss (released in 1989). Moreover, he's the owner of a pet crow named Hoogan, which underscores his preferred connection to the darker side of life. “Crows are very intelligent," he continued. "And I like their appearance, the Edgar Allan Poe aspect. I like the goth element. I am a goth." 

Oh yeah, this dude was born to play the Count!

Renfield, which is slated to swoop into production next month, will shine a spotlight on Dracula's right-hand man — played by X-Men veteran Nicholas Hoult. McKay (known for The LEGO Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War) is directing from a script written by Ryan Ridley (Ghosted, Rick and Morty). The story outline is credited to The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman.

"It’s a movie about co-dependency and it’s about bad bosses," McKay told SYFY WIRE over the phone last summer. "It’s definitely a horror-action movie, but it’s also obviously a comedy and it’s also gonna be a lot of fun."

"The whole plot is that Renfield is Dracula's servant and decides that he doesn't want to be his servant anymore, and it's that conflict that kind of drives the story," Kirkman said during the most recent edition of Comic-Con@Home. "So yeah, Dracula's actually a big part of the movie."

Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog) have also been cast. The former is said to be playing a character who teams up with Renfield to take Drac down while Schwartz has been tapped to play some sort of "mobster." McKay and Kirkman are set to produce with David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst. Samantha Nisenboim is an executive producer.

Universal Pictures has yet to set a release date for the movie.