Nicolas Cage has been cast as Dracula in Universal’s upcoming Renfield.
The actor will actually be taking second-billing to Nicholas Hoult who is set in the titular role. Normally, that is reversed, as Renfield is the crazed servant of the famous Transylvania vampire in most versions of the classic tale.
Chris McKay, director of The Lego Batman Movie and The Tomorrow War, is set to helm the project with Rick And Morty writer Ryan Ridley providing the screenplay, working from an outline by The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman.
There are no real hard plot details available, though the Hollywood Reporter is describing the film as “a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.” That could explain the shift in focus onto Renfield from Dracula.
Although he has been working steadily, it is a bit of a surprise to realize that the last major studio film that Cage worked on was headlining 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Since that time, Cage has been working in indie films where perhaps he has found more room to experiment and stretch than he could in typical studio fare. He certainly has received notice for such indie films as Mandy and most recently Pig.
After the implosion of their planned horror-themed Dark Universe, Universal has taken a new approach towards reinventing their large back catalog of horror and monster films, allowing directors to bring their own creative vision to each project and eschewing any type of interconnectedness. The first of this new wave was Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man in 2020. Currently, directors Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) and Chloe Zhao (The Eternals) are developing their own separate versions of Dracula, James Wan is working on a modern day update of Frankenstein, Whannell has a Wolf Man film with Ryan Gosling attached to star and Paul Feig is working on something called Dark Army.