‘Renfield’: Nicolas Cage Looked to ‘Malignant’ and ‘The Ring’s Sadako to Inspire Dracula’s Movements!

by Susan Ryant

Nicolas Cage is a true cinephile who has openly talked about how he uses past performances to inform his own. He’s inspired by classic films, triumphant performances, and uses the history of film to help craft memorable new characters himself.

As was revealed before the New Year, Nicolas Cage is biting into the role of Dracula in Universal Pictures’ forthcoming Renfield , described as a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.

Cage reveals in a new interview with Variety that he not only looked back at several prominent Dracula films for inspiration, but also Marina Mazepa‘s performance as Gabriel in James Wan’s Malignant and Samara from the original Japanese Ringu.

“I looked at Bela Lugosi’s performance, and then I looked at Frank Langella’s performance,” Cage said of the 1931 and 1979 films, also nodding to Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version — Coppola is Cage’s uncle. “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 said.

As for bringing his own interpretation of Dracula to the character: “I want it to pop in a unique way from how we’ve seen it played,” he noted. “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.”

Cage also talked about the humor of the new take on Dracula. “What makes it super fun is that it’s a comedy,” he revealed. “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.”

Renfield is based on an original pitch from “The Walking Dead” creator Robert KirkmanChris McKay (The Tomorrow War) is set to direct the movie, with Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Mad Max: Fury Road) on board to star as Renfield.

Deadline explained the project, which is being produced by Robert Kirkman, “In the original “Dracula” novel, R.M. Renfield was an inmate at a lunatic asylum who was thought to be suffering from delusions, but is actually a servant of Dracula. Plot details are currently unknown, though it’s believed to take place during the present day and is not a period piece.”

Co-founded Bloody Disgusting in 2001. Producer on Southbound, the V/H/S quadrilogy, SiREN, Under the Bed, and A Horrible Way to Die. Chicago-based. Horror, pizza and basketball connoisseur. Taco Bell daily.