Nicolas Cage Could Not Stop Being Dracula During The Making Of Renfield
Nicolas Cage remained in character while filming Renfield, according to director Chris McKay.
Nicolas Cage is our greatest living actor, and whether he’s running away from animatronic terrors or being sacrificed to ensure a good harvest, no one can ever say that he’s giving less than 100 percent for every scene. In an interview with The Insider, Chris McKay, director of Renfield, revealed that Cage would remain in character, not even breaking for a discussion about stage directions. Though that’s common with many method actors, in this case, it’s especially strange since he’s playing Dracula.
Cage’s dedication to every role is legendary in Hollywood, so McKay knew what he was getting into when casting the star of National Treasure as the Lord of Darkness. As he explained about working with Cage, “Whatever scene we did he would still be 100% living in that attitude after we stopped shooting, so if he’s a little frosty in the scene he’s going to have a little bit of that between takes. But still up for whatever we were doing.”
That’s common for method actors, but remember that Nicolas Cage is in full Dracula regalia while filming, which paints an amusing portrait for any onlookers. A few scenes required a body harness, which he’d also have to keep on even after the cameras turned off, restricting his body movements and making it easy to stay in character. At least Cage never drank real blood on set, right?
Renfield stars Nicolas Hoult as Dracula’s long-time assistant, re-evaluating their relationship in the modern world. Originally appearing in Bram Stoker’s novel as a devoted, fanatical servant to the vampire, Renfield dutifully follows his master’s wishes in return for the promise of immortality. In the upcoming film, he has immortality, but he doesn’t have a very good work/life balance.
Starring alongside Nicolas Cage and Nicolas Hoult are Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Brandon Scott Jones, Bess Rous, Jenna Kanell, Shoreh Aghdashloo, and Caroline Williams. Written by Ryan Ridley, working from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s concept, Renfield looks like no other Dracula movie before it, even if Cage’s idiosyncracies on set are nothing new.
In past films, Cage has maintained his character so well that some of his co-stars don’t think they ever met the real man. His last film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, was exceptionally difficult for the Oscar-winner as he played a fictional version of himself, which means he would be lost playing himself, but not himself, between takes. Of course, in that case, Pedro Pascal was also playing a fictional version of himself since he’s a massive fan in real life.
Even if Cage stayed in character as Dracula while filming Renfield, he could never be as disruptive to the set as another famous method actor once was, when Jared Leto played The Joker on the set of Suicide Squad. According to rumor and innuendo, Leto sent a dead rat to Margot Robbie and an entire dead pig filled with bullets for the cast months before filming began. By comparison, Nicolas Cage speaking in a bad Transylvanian accent while avoiding the sunlight for months is tame.
Renfield is out worldwide on April 14.