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SYFY WIRE Renfield

'Renfield' star Nicolas Cage teases his chief bloodsucker as Andy Warhol-inspired 'pop art Dracula'

So far, we haveinspiration from Malignant, Ring, The Graduate... and now, Andy Warhol.

By Josh Weiss
Nicolas Cage; A poster for the 1974 horror film 'Blood For Dracula'

Stop what you're doing, right this instant! There's been a new development in the ever-expanding list of cinematic influences Nicolas Cage drew on for his performance as Dracula in next year's Renfield.

So far, Cage and director Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman MovieThe Tomorrow War) have cited MalignantRinguThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and The Graduate as major touchstones for the movie's chief bloodsucker. Thanks to a new interview conducted by Empire, Cage has added another name to the mix: avant-garde artist, Andy Warhol.

"It's a large studio picture, so I wanted to play with: 'What can I get away with here?'" the actor explained to the magazine for its February 2023 issue (now on sale). "If you're playing Dracula, you have a lot of latitude. 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."

And then, of course, you've got all the Draculas who have come before: Bela Lugosi (1931's Dracula), Frank Langella (1979's Dracula), Gary Oldman (1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula), and the grandaddy of them all — Max Schreck (1922's Nosferatu).

"I noticed all these little gestures that are, by today's standards, 'over the top,'" Cage said of his Nosferatu rewatch ahead of Renfield's production. "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 an original story by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and written by Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty), the film stars Nicholas Hoult (The Menu) as the Count's underling, who realizes he no longer wants to work for the undead icon. "It’s a movie about co-dependency and it’s about bad bosses," McKay told SYFY WIRE 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."

Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog), James Moses (Queenpins), and Adrian Martinez (Stumptown) round out the supporting cast. McKay and Kirkman produced the project alongside David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst. Samantha Nisenboim is an executive producer.

Renfield swoops into theaters everywhere Friday, April 14, 2023. Just this week, it scored an R-rating for "bloody violence, some gore, language throughout, and some drug use."

Need more blood-sucking drama in your life? The first season of Vampire Academy is now streaming on Peacock. Or check out SYFY's own Reginald the Vampire.