'Renfield' Movie Will Focus On Dracula's Bug-Eating Henchman

Renfield, the lunatic who loves to eat bugs and pal around with Count Dracula, is getting his own movie. Having failed with their original Dark Universe plan, Universal is now taking risks on stranger projects. One is Leigh Whannell's creepy-looking and very modern Invisible Man. The other is Paul Feig's Dark Army. And now here comes Renfield, with Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher at the helm.

Variety has the scoop on the Renfield movie, stating that the idea comes from a pitch via Walking Dead creator Robert KirkmanRick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley will write the script, while Dexter Fletcher will direct. Plot details aren't available at the moment, but in Bram Stoker's original novel Dracula, R. M. Renfield is a patient at a lunatic asylum who has a connection to the bloodsucking count. In various film adaptations, the bond between Dracula and Renfield was enhanced, making him a solicitor who first tried to sell Drac on some property in the U.K. Dwight Frye memorably played Renfield in the 1931 Dracula, and Tom Waits stole the show as the character in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Is there enough material to make an entire movie around Renfield? Or will this film be a retelling of Dracula from Renfield's point-of-view? We'll have to wait and see. I thought Rocketman was surprisingly good, but while watching it, I didn't stop and think, "I sure hope Dexter Fletcher makes a horror movie next! This guy has what it takes to make something scary!" Still, I'm willing to give it a shot just because I love the Universal Monsters so much.

Renfield is the latest attempt from Universal to bring their classic monsters back to life. They had mapped out an entire cinematic universe that was supposed to kick-off with The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. But after that movie tanked, the so-called Dark Universe was returned to the grave. Now, rather than worry about interconnected cinematic universes, Universal is instead focusing on individual movies. The first to arrive will be Invisible Man, starring Elisabeth Moss. Paul Feig is currently working on Dark Army, which is said to feature both classic Universal monsters and new characters as well.

Regarding the project, Universal had this to say:

Similar to what's being done with Blumhouse and Leigh Whannell's upcoming Invisible Man film inspired by Universal's classic Monster character, instead of pushing forward with the initial notion of an interconnected universe, the studio halted and reassessed and were reminded that what has led to these characters' endurance over generations is passion and relevance.  Universal remains committed to creating compelling filmmaker-driven projects based on characters from the studios vast monsters legacy.

Instead of prescribing a mandated updating of these monster stories and making them all part of a larger scheme, the studio loosened these restrictions and open-sourced to filmmakers who were inspired to create their own unique stories.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that James Wan was producing a new Frankenstein movie, but that info has since been revealed to be incorrect.