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SYFY WIRE Renfield

Nicolas Cage to play Dracula in Universal's 'Renfield' opposite Nicholas Hoult's titular servant

The film will be directed by The Tomorrow War's Chris McKay.

By Josh Weiss
Nicholas Cage Bela Lugosi GETTY

Remember when Nicolas Cage ran through the streets like a madman screaming "I'M A VAMPIRE!" in Vampire's Kiss a little over 30 years ago? Yeah, well it turns out that movie was only the warm-up exercise for the Oscar-winning actor's turn as the most famous bloodsucker of them all — Count Dracula — in Universal Pictures' upcoming horror-comedy, Renfield.

The Hollywood Reporter was first to confirm the news of Cage's casting, making him the second actor to be added to the film after Nicholas Hoult was tapped to play Dracula's loyal henchman in early August.

Chris McKay, who made his live-action directorial debut over the summer with Amazon's The Tomorrow War, is locked in to direct. Ryan Ridley (a writer known for Ghosted and Rick and Morty) penned the screenplay, working from a story outline prepared by The Walking Dead and Invincible creator, Robert Kirkman.

Chatting with SYFY WIRE over the phone back in June, McKay said he was "super excited" to kick off production. "It’s a movie about Dracula’s assistant and it’s a movie about co-dependency and it’s about bad bosses," he teased. "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 director will also serve as a producer alongside Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst. Samantha Nisenboim is an executive producer. While the story is — as the title suggests — mainly focused on Hoult's Renfield, Kirkman has promised that the film won't skimp on the Dracula goodness.

"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," he said during Comic-Con@Home in July. "So yeah, Dracula's actually a big part of the movie."

Universal has yet to announce a theatrical release date for the project, which was first announced in November 2019. At the time, Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman) was reported as director. He ultimately parted ways with Renfield, allowing McKay to step in this past spring. The filmmaker's enthusiasm for Renfield is plainly displayed all over his Twitter profile, with both the main and banner photos showing Bela Lugosi in his iconic depiction of Dracula in Universal's 1931 adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel.

Very little is known about the plot, though Variety writes that the film is "expected to take place in the present day."

While the "Dark Universe" is no longer moving forward, Universal is still reaching into its celebrated history of silver screen monsters via a plethora of unrelated horror projects like Elizabeth Banks' Invisible Woman, Paul Feig's Dark Army, and Leigh Whannell's Wolfman reimagining.

Universal Pictures & SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal.