The Universal monster movie universe is not dead and buried quite yet. Extended universes for franchise films have been cropping up in recent years and now another film is on the docket. Nicolas Cage has been cast as Dracula in an upcoming film. In an interesting twist, the film is not about Dracula directly. Instead the title character will be Dracula’s henchmen, Renfield.
Renfield will be portrayed by Nicholas Hoult who has come a long way since starring in British teen drama Skins in 2007. Recently he has been appearing in high budget dramas such as Tolkien and The Great. His character Renfield — first appearing in Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel Dracula — was devoted to the titular vampire and took to drinking blood, hoping that one day his vampire master would give him eternal life. Stoker’s novel was so significant in culture that it gave the name to Renfield Syndrome, which is the scientific name for clinical vampirism. Only Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult have been confirmed in the cast as of yet as the film is in pre-production.
Despite hope for the recently canceled extended Dark Universe, Nicolas Cage’s Renfield does not appear to be a part of it (via Screenrant). Plans had been put in motion for an extended universe of Universal Pictures’ movie monsters. But after the critical failure of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, the idea was scrapped.
While a horror extended universe had the potential to be a great change of pace for franchise films, stand alone films have their merits as well. After the demise of the Dark Universe, it seems as though smaller budget horror films are the way to go. Leigh Whannell’s modern update of The Invisible Man was produced by horror production company Blumhouse which is reputable for their terrifying and modest films. Starring Elizabeth Moss, the film was a gruesome look at toxic relationships. Renfield may be going along with trend of updated classic horror films, and it looks to possibly be perfect for Nicolas Cage and his acting aesthetic, According to The Hollywood Reporter, Renfield will also be a modern version of the Dracula tale. Reportedly the film will be “a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.”
Many recognize Nicolas Cage in his outrageous and entertaining performances. The actor has always been a unique performer, obtaining critical acclaim for films like Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation. Cage won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, but may be more memorable to some fans for later films. A string of features gave the actor the reputation for outlandish protagonists. Con-Air, Face/Off, and The Wicker Man demonstrated the best movie-going experience that any viewer could ask for. But that isn’t to say that is all Cage has going for him.
While these films do have merit, his recent projects have been as varied as they are relevant. Recent serious roles have demonstrated just how devoted Nicolas Cage is to his craft. The 2021 film Pig is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 97%. The actor also starred in Color Out of Space in 2019, a devastating adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story (via Entertainment Weekly). And even though Cage knows when he’s going to retire, he shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Along with his casting in Renfield, Nicolas Cage is rumored to return to the National Treasure sequels as well as appearing in new film Prisoners of the Ghostland. In true Cage fashion, the film is about a former robber sent on a rescue mission – all with explosives attached to his testicles that are programmed to go off if he gets aroused (via Entertainment Weekly). These new projects go to show that Nicolas Cage has not lost his touch and fans should be excited to see what he comes up with next.