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Nicolas Cage’s Dracula performance in the Renfield movie is inspired by Malignant and Ringu

Universal Pictures’ Renfield stars Nicholas Hoult as the titular disciple of Dracula, who first appeared in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. Nicolas Cage has been cast as Dracula and recently talked about the role on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast. He said that he had “looked at Bela Lugosi’s performance, and then I looked at Frank Langella’s performance,” along with Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version “I looked at Gary’s performance in uncle’s movie, which I think it’s just so sumptuous. Every frame is a work of art.”

He also spoke about how James Wan’s recent film, Malignant, also provided inspiration.

Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War, The Lego Batman Movie) is directing the film, which is described as a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.

I want it to pop in a unique way from how we’ve seen it played. So I’m thinking to really focus on the movement of the character. You know, I saw Malignant and I thought what she did with those moves — and even Ringu with Sadako [Yamamura]… I want to look at what we can explore with this movement and voice.

What makes it super fun is that it’s a comedy, and when you get that tone right — comedy and horror — like ‘American Werewolf in London,’ it’s a blast. It’s got to be a bulls-eye. But that’s what I’m looking for, something new to bring to the character, and also that perfect tone of comedy and horror.

None of this sounds anything like the Renfield character’s tragic story. I’ve no idea how they could turn it into an action-comedy kind of movie, without it being at the expense of Renfield’s mental state. Tom Waits played the character in the 1992 film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and that gave a good look at the damage the Count had done to Renfield.

However, I am always up for a bit of Nicolas Cage and will no doubt go and see this film. Until then we have Cage’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent to look forward to.

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