Renfield
Renfield (film).png
Official film logo
Directed byChris McKay
Screenplay byRyan Ridley
Story byRobert Kirkman
Based onRenfield
by Bram Stoker
Produced by
  • Chris McKay
  • Robert Kirkman
  • David Alpert
  • Bryan Furst
  • Sean Furst
Starring
CinematographyMitchell Amundsen
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 14, 2023 (2023-04-14)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

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.

Premise

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.[1]

Cast

Production

Development

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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

Renfield is based on an original pitch by comic book writer Robert Kirkman.
Renfield is based on an original pitch by comic book writer Robert Kirkman.

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.[6][7] 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.[8] 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".[9]

"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[10]

Casting

Nicholas Hoult at the 2019 WonderCon in Anaheim, California.
Nicolas Cage at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California.

Nicholas Hoult was cast in the title role in August 2021.[11] Nicolas Cage was cast to play Count Dracula in November,[12] Awkwafina and Ben Schwartz were added to the cast in December,[13][14] and Adrian Martinez,[1] Shohreh Aghdashloo,[15] Bess Rous,[16] James Moses Black,[17] Caroline Williams,[18] and Brandon Scott Jones were confirmed to star the following year.[19] 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.[20][21][22] The film will mark Cage's first live-action film by a major studio since starring in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011).[23]

Filming

Filming began in New Orleans on February 3, 2022, with Mitchell Amundsen serving as cinematographer.[24][25] On February 8, more than twenty vehicles belonging to the production crew were burglarized.[26] 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.[27] Filming wrapped on April 14, 2022, exactly one year prior to the film's release.[28]

Release

The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 14, 2023, by Universal Pictures.[29]

References

  1. ^ a b Grobar, Matt (January 5, 2022). "Renfield: Adrian Martinez Boards Universal Monster Movie From Director Chris McKay". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 5, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 16, 2014). "Universal Taps Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan To Relaunch Classic Movie Monster Franchises". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  3. ^ McClintock, Pamela (May 3, 2016). "Universal Stakes Out Release Date for Third Monster Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  4. ^ Mendelson, Scott (July 13, 2016). "What Universal Must Do To Sell Its Classic Monsters Universe". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 12, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys; Couch, Aaron (November 8, 2017). "Universal's Monsterverse in Peril as Top Producers Exit (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 20, 2019). "Dexter Fletcher to Direct a Movie About Dracula's Henchman for Universal (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 9, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Kit, Borys (November 20, 2019). "Rocketman Director Dexter Fletcher, Robert Kirkman Tackling Universal Monster Movie Renfield". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 24, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 29, 2020). "Ryan Gosling's Wolfman Gears Up at Universal as Director Decision Nears (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on October 26, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 13, 2021). "Tomorrow War Director Chris McKay Boards Renfield; Universal's Latest Monster Movie Focused on Character From Dracula". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  10. ^ Dela Paz, Maggie (May 6, 2021). "Robert Kirkman: Universal's Renfield is an 'Extremely Violent Comedy'". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 3, 2021). "Nicholas Hoult To Star In Renfield; Universal's Latest Monster Movie Focused On Dracula Henchman". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  12. ^ Kit, Borys (November 30, 2021). "Nicolas Cage to Star as Dracula in Universal Monster Movie Renfield (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 30, 2021. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 1, 2021). "Awkwafina To Join Nicholas Hoult And Nicolas Cage In Universal's Renfield". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  14. ^ Donnelly, Matt (December 15, 2021). "Ben Schwartz Joins Universal's Dracula Tale Renfield (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on December 16, 2021. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  15. ^ Grobar, Matt (February 1, 2022). "Renfield: Shohreh Aghdashloo Joins Chris McKay's Monster Movie For Universal". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 2, 2022. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  16. ^ Grobar, Matt (February 3, 2022). "Renfield: Bess Rous Rounds Out Cast Of Chris McKay Film For Universal". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 4, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  17. ^ Grobar, Matt (February 23, 2022). "James Moses Black Joins Universal's Renfield; 20th's Darby Harper Wants You To Know Adds Genneya Walton". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  18. ^ Williams, Caroline (March 2, 2022). "Working with geniuses over here! I've never rocked a look like this. Just can't wait to show you more! @Renfieldmovie @UniversalPics @officialuniversalmonsters". Retrieved August 6, 2022 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Donnelly, Matt (May 4, 2022). "Ghosts, The Other Two Breakout Actor Brandon Scott Jones Joins Renfield (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  20. ^ Riley, Janelle (December 30, 2021). "Nicolas Cage Doesn't Consider Himself an Actor: 'I Like the Word Thespian'". Variety. Archived from the original on January 6, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  21. ^ Riley, Janelle (December 31, 2021). "Nicolas Cage Talks Playing Dracula in Renfield and How Malignant Inspired the Role". Variety. Archived from the original on January 6, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  22. ^ Whipp, Glenn (January 26, 2022). "Nicolas Cage meditates on movies, music and what makes him happy". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  23. ^ Perry, Kevin (January 5, 2022). "Why Nicolas Cage Was Born to Play Dracula". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 5, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  24. ^ Kit, Borys (December 1, 2021). "Awkwafina Joins Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult in Universal's Renfield". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  25. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (February 3, 2022). "Dracula Spinoff Renfield Announces Production Start With Set Photo". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  26. ^ Lippincott, Jordan (February 10, 2022). "Multiple vehicles belonging to film crew burglarized". WNTZ-TV. Retrieved February 11, 2022. 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.
  27. ^ Murphy, Paul (February 9, 2022). "Lower Garder District movie crew upset after vandals break into vehicles". WWL-TV. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  28. ^ Weiss, Josh (April 15, 2022). "Nicolas Cage's Dracula Film Renfield Wraps Production, Confirms April 2023 Release". Syfy Wire. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  29. ^ Couch, Aaron (February 25, 2022). "Universal Sets Nicholas Hoult's Renfield for 2023 Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2022.