|Directed by||Chris McKay|
|Screenplay by||Ryan Ridley|
|Story by||Robert Kirkman|
by Bram Stoker
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Renfield is an upcoming American dark fantasy horror-comedy film directed by Chris McKay and written by Ryan Ridley, based on an original pitch by Robert Kirkman. The film stars Nicholas Hoult as Renfield, a henchman to Count Dracula who decides to leave his line of work after falling in love. Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Bess Rous, James Moses Black, Caroline Williams, and Brandon Scott Jones co-star. The film is scheduled to be released on April 14, 2023, by Universal Pictures.
Count Dracula's lackey Renfield finds a new lease on life in modern day New Orleans when he falls in love with Rebecca Quincy, a feisty but perennially aggressive traffic cop.
In July 2014, Universal Pictures announced its plan to reboot the "Classic Monsters" franchise and its properties, including the character of Count Dracula, as part of a shared universe known as the Dark Universe, with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan attached to oversee its development. After the release of Dracula Untold (2014), its connections to the shared universe were downplayed, and The Mummy (2017) was re-positioned as the first film in the series. In 2017, The Mummy was released, but was deemed both a commercial and critical failure, resulting in Universal's decision to shift its focus on individual storytelling and move away from the shared universe concept.
In November 2019, Dexter Fletcher was hired to direct Renfield for Universal and Skybound Entertainment. Written by Ryan Ridley, it is based on an original pitch by Robert Kirkman. The film was described as a comedic approach to the world of Count Dracula, with similarities to Taika Waititi's vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows and a major focus on the titular character. In 2020, Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man became a commercial and critical success for Universal and served as a relaunch to its monster universe. In April 2021, Chris McKay entered negotiations to serve as director, after Fletcher left to work on a reboot of The Saint for Paramount Pictures. McKay was hired because he reportedly gave a successful pitch combining the story's mix of humor and action, "something the studio was looking to have more of".
"We're doing this cool movie for Universal that's a focus on Renfield. It's a story about him being Dracula's henchman and how shitty a job that is. It's a fun, extremely violent comedy because I've got a crutch, and it's violence." — Robert Kirkman
Nicholas Hoult was cast in the title role in August 2021. Nicolas Cage was cast to play Count Dracula in November, Awkwafina and Ben Schwartz were added to the cast in December, and Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Bess Rous, James Moses Black, Caroline Williams, and Brandon Scott Jones were confirmed to star the following year. An "enormous" fan of Dracula and the source material, Cage prepared for his role by observing the distinctive ways Dracula was portrayed on screen by Bela Lugosi, Frank Langella, and Gary Oldman. "What can I bring that will be different?", he added, "I want it to pop in a unique way. We've seen it played well, we've seen it play not so well, so what can we do? So I'm thinking to really focus on the movement of the character ... [and] that perfect tone of comedy and horror". Cage mentioned An American Werewolf in London (1981), Ringu (1998), and Malignant (2021) as inspirations for the role. The film will mark Cage's first live-action film by a major studio since starring in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011).
Filming began in New Orleans on February 3, 2022, with Mitchell Amundsen serving as cinematographer. On February 8, more than twenty vehicles belonging to the production crew were burglarized. One security guard was present at the time of the incident, which occurred late at night in a secured parking lot. Crew member Elmo Peoples said the vandals had stolen his insurance papers, two bank cards, and a laptop. He added, "I'm supposed to be here all week and I don't even want to come back because I feel like they don't really care about us as much as the main characters or actors." Love Bugs Film LLC reassured the production crew that they would hire additional security. Filming wrapped on April 14, 2022, exactly one year prior to the film's release.
The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 14, 2023, by Universal Pictures.
The break-ins happened Tuesday night in a parking lot that is reserved for a nighttime film crew who are working on Renfield, starring Nicolas Cage.