Universal’s next movie based on its classic monster universe has found its lead. X-Men star Nicholas Hoult has signed on to play the title character in Renfield, based around the character of Count Dracula’s loyal servant. The Tomorrow War‘s Chris McKay is in the director’s chair, with the script written by Ryan Ridley, though the story comes from an idea by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.
In the Dracula novel, and most versions of the tale, Renfield is an insane asylum inmate, known for his taste for live bugs, who acts as the vampire count’s slave. In Renfield, however, Hoult’s character will come to realize that doing Drac’s dirty work is not the best line of employment. As well as the fresh angle on the story, the movie will also do away with the usual period setting and takes place in the present day.
Renfield is surprisingly moving quicker than other in-development Universal monster films e.g. Ryan Gosling’s Wolfman and a Van Helsing reboot from producer James Wan. Deadline, who broke the news of Hoult’s casting, revealed that this one’s mix of comedy and action was exactly what the studio was looking for to juxtapose with their more horror-focused projects, like 2020’s Invisible Man.
Kirkman, who is on board the production as a producer, recently opened up about what we can expect from Renfield, calling it “an extremely violent comedy” and promising that Dracula will have a major role in it. This is just one of three reimaginings of the bloodsucker on the way from Universal. There’s also Karyn Kusama’s “fairly faithful” take and Chloe Zhao’s “futuristic sci-fi western”.
Hoult also recently joined The Menu, a dark comedy thriller co-starring Anya Taylor-Joy. We can likely expect some further Renfield casting news, including who’ll be the latest actor to portray Dracula, to follow pretty soon.