Nic Cage is taking a break from the challenging and often horrific indie films that he’s been undertaking as of late, like Pig and Mandy, to take on a more classical kind of horror.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Ghost Rider actor will play Dracula opposite Nicholas Hoult, who will appear as his servant, in Renfield, a new comedy based on the Bram Stoker’s famous tale.
Produced by Universal – the home of B-movie Monster icons like the vampire Count, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, and The Mummy – and helmed by Lego Batman director Chris McKay, THR refers to Renfield as “a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.”
As a character, Renfield is normally depicted as an unhinged mental patient corrupted kept under the thrall of his master. Factoring that element in, it could be that Hoult and McKay will try to humanize him in a way reminiscent of Edgar Wright‘s storytelling.
The film will be a departure not only in tone for the reclusive Transylvanian weirdo who’s really an undead bloodsucker, but also in the centerpiece of the narrative, as Renfield will take the spotlight rather than Dracula himself.
It sounds like the perfect role for Cage, an actor notorious for his daringly animated exaggerations of very basic character templates, when boiled down, that go beyond ‘the Method’.
Prior to his casting as Dracula, Cage’s most notable encounter with vampires was in the 1988 comedy Vampire’s Kiss, a film featuring a performance by the actor that captures everything polarizing and wacky about him as an actor.
However, Cage’s best-remembered flirtations with horror were in Ghost Rider and its 2012 follow-up, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
The actor once described the first Rider as a ‘Grimm’s fairy tale,’ while its semi-sequel was a surreal road movie that tapped more into the supernatural elements and insanity of Johnny Blaze’s story.
Renfield is the latest step in Universal’s initiative to modernize and rehabilitate their almost a century-old gothic horror properties, many of which fell out of favor with the disasters known as Dracula Untold and their failed Dark Universe.
This process began in 2020 with the success of Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man reboot and will carry on with Renfield as well as a planned update of The Wolf Man starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Derek Cianfrance.
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