Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Renfield

How did Nicolas Cage become 'Renfield's Dracula? Teeth shaving and 'iridescent' makeup

Renfield's makeup artist talks transforming Nicolas Cage into Count Dracula.

By Matthew Jackson
Renfield Trailer

From the moment Nicolas Cage was announced as Dracula in Renfield, fans couldn't wait to see how the legendary actor would embody the role. What would he sound like? What would he look like? Now that the transformation is on display in several trailers for the upcoming horror comedy, we have our answer, but we also know that Cage didn't do it alone.

To achieve the Dracula look for Renfield, director Chris McKay turned to makeup artist Christien Tinsley, who worked with the director and with Cage himself to give us the pale-skinned, sharp-toothed monster we now see onscreen. It started, as you might expect, with Dracula's teeth, which are razor sharp all the way around in a look that recalls Lon Chaney's transformation in London After Midnight

RELATED: 5 movies we can't wait to see in April: RenfieldMarioEvil Dead Rise and more

To pull the teeth off, Tinsley and his team turned to 3D printing, digitally building Dracula's chompers based on scans of Cage's own mouth, then printing them out using acrylic resin. But it wasn't just about getting the right look. The teeth also had to allow Cage to speak clearly, and as anyone who's ever put on a set of plastic fangs knows, that's far from a guarantee. To pull that off, Tinsley turned to a basic cosmetic procedure.

"We shaved Nic’s teeth down and the dentures were fitted so as not to impede on Nic’s speech and allow full freedom," he told Variety. "Nic wanted to emote and annunciate properly, so it was important the veneers were thin.”

From there, the team had to decide on the coloring for Dracula's undead face, which goes through various stages of "health" throughout the film depending on how much blood he's consumed. For the more "healthy" version we've largely seen in the trailers, Tinsley wanted a "glow" about Cage, so he leaned heavily on one particular color, and on adding as much of a shimmering effect to the skin as possible. The result is a Dracula face that almost looks like it could glow in the dark.

“There’s a blue hue about him,” Tinsley said. “It’s very iridescent. If you see it in person, he almost looks like a metallic robot. I added a lot of teal iridescence to the makeup. In person, he would shimmer and shine, and on camera, it allows for a healthy glow to the skin, so he doesn’t look like a cadaver.”

Get a closer look at Cage in all his Dracula regalia when Renfield hits theaters Apr. 14. Get tickets now.