He’s played J.R.R. Tolkien, the X-Men’s Beast, and a romantic zombie — plus, we all witnessed him in Mad Max: Fury Road. Now Nicholas Hoult is adding another notch to his already impressive genre resume, signing on to star as the title character in Chris McKay’s Dracula-adjacent Universal monster movie Renfield.
Probably the most famous portrayals of Renfield (so far) can be found in 1931’s Dracula (where he’s played by legendary character actor Dwight Frye) and 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in which director Francis Ford Coppola cast esteemed musician and occasional weird-guy actor Tom Waits as the vampire’s confined-to-an-asylum, snacking-on-bugs-and-grubs familiar. This new project from McKay (The Tomorrow War, The Lego Batman Movie) — which we first heard about in late 2019 — will lean into the character’s humorous potential, which means the versatile Hoult will get to flex his horror-comedy muscles. This casting news came from the Hollywood Reporter today.
Back in May, The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman — who came up with Renfield’s story and is co-producing — described it as “a story about [Renfield] 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.” The script itself is by Ryan Ridley (whose previous writing credits include Community and Rick and Morty).
Renfield is part of both a growing array of Dracula-themed movies as well as Universal’s growing array of monster movies — the latter inspired by its own classics in the wake of The Invisible Man and the studio’s (so far) successful reshaping of its failed Dark Universe. Other movies on the way include Invisible Man director Leigh Whannell’s take on The Wolfman, starring Ryan Gosling; Dark Army from Paul Feig (2016’s Ghostbusters); Charlie’s Angels’ Elizabeth Banks’ Invisible Woman movie; and Karyn Kusama’s Dracula, which presumably won’t be tied to Renfield, given Universal’s new preference for standalone stories.
So far there’s no other casting news for Renfield — presumably, the Big Bloodsucker himself will appear, along with perhaps other usual suspects like Van Helsing and Mina Harker? — but we’ll keep you updated as and when we learn it.