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Doing the Jitterbug: Renfield Director Chris McKay Reveals Why Insect-Filled Dance Was Cut
Digging into Renfield, with the horror comedy now streaming on Peacock.
As director Chris McKay told Empire (pick up a copy of the August 2023 issue for yourself right here), this was part of a deleted scene in which Count Dracula's fed-up assistant is "moved by the music" after his initial meeting with traffic cop Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina) at Mulate's restaurant.
"There's this fantasy dance sequence with dancing maggots, cockroaches, and flies," the director added, referring to how Renfield can temporarily access the supernatural vampire abilities of his employer by munching on creepy-crawly insects.
The musical moment — set to a cover of Jackie Wilson's 1960s hit "Higher and Higher" — was choreographed by Kat Burns and can be found on the movie's home release bonus features, as it was ultimately cut from the theatrical version because "it sort of stepped on the montage where Renfield goes to therapy and gets inspired to get an apartment and change his life," McKay explained.
"It almost felt redundant, unfortunately."
Watch the deleted dance scene from Renfield below
In addition to Hoult and Awkwafina, the action-horror-comedy also stars Nicolas Cage (Count Dracula, Renfield's toxic boss), Ben Schwartz (Teddy Lobo, a local crime boss with the temperament of a bratty child), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bellafrancesca Lobo, Teddy's ruthless mother and head of the New Orleans criminal underworld), and Adrian Martinez (Chris, Rebecca's fellow traffic officer).
Ryan Ridley (an alumnus of Community and Rick and Morty) wrote the movie, working off an original screen story from producer Robert Kirkman (co-creator of fan favorite comics like The Walking Dead and Invincible).
McKay also served as producer alongside David Alpert (CEO of Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment), Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst. The Furst siblings are no strangers to the vampire genre, having produced 2009's Daybreakers. Samantha Nisenboim, who has been involved with all of McKay's directorial efforts so far (i.e., The LEGO Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War), executive produced the film.