The latest instalment in Universal’s new classic monsters collection, Renfield, is taking fantastic shape. Not only is Nicolas Cage as joined as Dracula, but it’s also been revealed that Awkwafina has also signed on.
Deadline broke the news of the Crazy Rich Asians and Shang-Chi star joining the Nicholas Hoult led movie, but her role hasn’t been confirmed yet.
This continued a terrific week for the Chris McKay directed project, which is being described as a modern-day adventure that will be more of a horror-comedy, as The Hollywood Reporter were the first to unveil the Cage story.
I can’t think of a better person to be Dracula than the icon Nic Cage. I can only imagine the fun everyone is having during rehearses, and I’m sure McKay’s eyes just lit up when Cage’s name was first discussed (I also wouldn’t be surprised if it were Chris’ idea as an off the cuff joke).
It’s unclear how much of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula novel they’ll take has Renfield in the original book is a patient in an asylum obsessed with drinking blood as he believed it would find him immortality. He’s also Dracula’s servant who feed insects and bugs with the hope of everlasting life dangled in front of him.
This story is coming from the mind of Rick & Morty writer Ryan Ridley (from an original outline from Robert Kirkman), and having McKay direct is a masterstroke. It’s clear watching The LEGO Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War, he can handle comedy perfectly, and his character work is incredible.
He and Hoult make us love Renfield, while we’ll also enjoy every minute Cage is on screen, which we were going to anyway.
As for Awkwafina’s character and the film leaning on the 1897 book could be one of these four characters; reimagined Jonathan Harker, Harker’s fiancée Mina or her friend Lucy, or because it is kept under wraps, maybe Van Helsing?
We will probably hear of more casting shortly as it seems production is fast approaching filming, and with everything we know, I can’t wait to see this film solely down to my trust in McKay.
I’m glad Universal has moved away from trying to do a Marvel-esque cinematic universe with their classic monsters after falling on their arse with The Mummy and the announcement of the Dark Universe.
Instead, the studio is focusing on making great modern-day monster classics and letting filmmakers make whatever they want without the need to connect it to anything else.
The branded reboot began with The Invisible Man in 2020. Since then, the studio has committed to a Ryan Gosling led remake of The Wolfman and two Dracula movies. One will be helmed by Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama under Blumhouse and another by Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao, described as an “original, futuristic, sci-fi Western.”
To find what sort of filmmaker and awesome bloke Chris McKay is, then check out my interview with him below.