While it is true to say that Bram Stoker's Dracula has been retold many times on screen, it looks like Universal are looking to add to their monster movie catalogue with a tale based not on the famous Count but on his creepy and spellbound henchman Renfield, with the movie titled after the character. It will be the first time Dracula's sidekick has been given the limelight in a movie, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out, especially now that it appears to have found its lead in Nicholas Hoult. Coming only a week after Hoult took a starring role in The Menu, it seems that his schedule for the coming months is continuing to grow.
In Bram Stoker's novel, Renfield was discovered by Dracula wasting away in an asylum and was thought by everyone to be suffering serious delusions, but it turns out he is just hearing the voice of the Count and attempting to carry out his requests. Whether the movie will serve as a prequel to the character we already know, or will include the Dracula story from his point of view is unknown, but the story is by Robert Kirkman, of The Walking Dead fame, and scripted by Ryan Ridley, with The Tomorrow War helmer Chris McKay in the director's chair.
Renfield is the latest movie based in their monster universe, and seems to be a further sign of where Universal are taking their "Dark Universe" which was pretty much a non-starter thanks of duds like Tom Cruise's The Mummy. The studio are already working on a new werewolf movie called Wolfman, which stars Ryan Gosling, and a new Van Helsing run out with James Wan on board to produce. The first draft script of Renfield has apparently ignited something in Universal, and although Renfield isn't a go-to character from the old monster movies, it seems that the movie will have action and humor elements which the other monster movies lack, such as in the reworking of The Invisible Man which delivers more in the way of horror and terror.
Hoult recently starred alongside Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead, and other appearances have included roles in the X-Men franchise, The Favourite and Mad Max: Fury Road, and he is also soon to be seen in season two of Tony McNamara's The Great. Hoult received award nominations for The Great's first season at the Golden Globes, SAG and Critic's Choice Awards.
With Universal now seeming to have found where they are heading with their Universal Monsters revivals, it is likely we will see more added to the growing list, which in 2020 already included The Invisible Woman, Paul Feig's Dark Army and a new take on Dracula in its own right. With all of these only in the early stages, it is likely to be a year to two before we see many of this new wave of remakes and retellings arrive in cinemas. This story arrives via Deadline.