Renfield Director Chris McKay 'Got Really Emotional' Seeing Nic Cage As Dracula For The First Time [Exclusive]

Long live the horror comedy! This week, Chris McKay — director of "The LEGO Batman Movie" and "The Tomorrow War" — is returning to the big screen with his new, playfully gothic "Renfield," in which Nicholas Hoult plays the titular apostle to the most famous vampire of all time: Count Dracula, who is played by none other than Nicolas Cage.

In McKay's modernized reinterpretation of Bram Stoker's original characters, Renfield is a tormented, down-on-his-luck soul suffering from his toxic relationship with his horrible boss, Dracula. The trailer shows Renfield going to group therapy, eating bugs (real bugs, according to Hoult) to gain superpowers, and learning to resist control of his master.

Of course, for Cage-heads who love to see the actor go full ham, the premise alone seems worth the price of admission. In fact, many of Cage's super fans have been so excited about his portrayal of Dracula, that they've been following along with set photos from the production in New Orleans, getting hyped and admiring Cage's full regalia outfit.

/Film's Jeremy Mathai spoke with McKay about working with Cage and asked him whether he felt a similar excitement on set. McKay shared that seeing the legendary actor in full Dracula costume for the very first time proved to be an "emotional" experience.

Cage's camera tests were a full transformation

If you've found yourself watching the trailer for "Renfield" blind and ended up totally geeking out once it clicked who is playing the fierce and loathsome vampire lord — know that Chris McKay shares an equal amount of excitement. When seeing Nicolas Cage in full makeup and costume for the first time, McKay was instantly reminded of Dracula's cinematic past. McKay gushed:

"Oh, literally the exact same feeling. When we did our camera test, that was the first time that we saw Cage in makeup, in costume. The fact that he looks so much like Christopher Lee or a weird combination of Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi, and he had his mannerisms."

And as if Cage's physicality wasn't exciting enough, McKay explained he has a special approach to costume tests that particularly heightened Cage's presence in the Dracula costume. McKay shared:

"I like to do camera tests where you build a little bit of a set, you add some atmosphere, candlelight and things like that. So you get to see Cage coming out of the smoke in the outfit with the teeth, with everything. I got really emotional, because it's just like, you know that at least that's going to work. That image is going to work. That was amazing. That was a great day."

According to Cage himself, we should lower our expectations when it comes to how much screen time he has in the film, as "it's really Nick Hoult's film" — but we're confident he'll deliver a quality-over-quantity performance regardless. "Renfield" hits theaters on April 14, 2023.