Yes, Nicholas Hoult Is Eating Real Bugs In Renfield: 'They Weren't That Bad'

Check any internet survival guide. One of the go-to suggestions, if you run out of food, is to start foraging for insects. No matter how repellent they look, their bodies contain lots of protein, an essential ingredient to survival. Do you know what else has lots of protein? Blood.

In Bram Stoker's "Dracula," the Count's familiar Renfield is depicted as subsisting on insects. He wasn't dining in luxury to begin with, being imprisoned in a Victorian England insane asylum and all, but it's said Renfield is attempting to emulate his master by draining the life of other living beings.

Nicholas Hoult will be playing "Renfield" in Chris McKay's eponymous, upcoming film. The setting is updated to 21st-century New Orleans and Renfield has grown tired of serving his master (Nicolas Cage). While the film looks to be departing from the usual "Dracula" lore, Renfield's bug-eating habit is maintained. That's why, even though he wasn't lost in a forest or stranded on a desert island, Hoult had to chow down on some bugs.

No better grub than grubs

According to Hoult, most of the bug-eating is for a scene when Renfield is preparing for a fight and trying to "top up" the powers Dracula has given him. It seems that the Familiar's bug-eating is not just superstition in this film. As Hoult told Total Film in a recent interview:

"I think they just ordered them from Amazon or wherever. The crickets came in different flavors. Some of them were barbecue, some were salt and vinegar. Honestly, once you get over the idea of what it is you're eating, they weren't that bad. And I ate a lot. There was only one that I didn't like — it was a potato bug, and that one did taste... buggy."

Hoult's description makes the bugs sound like potato or corn chips — a small, crunchy base with powders of flavor sprinkled on top. But despite his "not that bad" protestations, the bugs still aren't appetizing enough for me to try for myself.

Hoult didn't have to endure an entirely bug-based diet though. As he told Total Film, some of the "cockroaches" he ate were just caramel molded to look like bugs. Hoult called these, "suitably chewy and sticky in the teeth, but delicious."

The irony of this is that while most of us would choose the caramel bugs if given the option, they were probably much less healthy than the real insects that Hoult ate. That's the unfairness of nutrition we live with every day.