Everything We Know About Renfield So Far

As we gear up for the 100th anniversary of the oldest surviving Dracula film in 2022 (long live "Nosferatu"), there's a new vampire movie coming your way called "Renfield."

Just who is Renfield? Well, in a literal (and literary) sense, he's Dracula's disciple, but in a figurative (and filmgoing) sense, we're all Renfield, anyone who worships a bit at the altar of movie stardom or art and celebrity in general. Bram Stoker, the author of "Dracula," envisioned his book character, R.M. Renfield, as an asylum inmate and zoophagous acolyte to the O.G. vampire. He's the proto-familiar, a human servant of the undead, who consumes creatures like spiders and even birds in the hopes of absorbing their life force.

Let's say face it, though: there are plenty of showbiz vampires running around Hollywood. There are also no shortage of art appreciators who enjoy feeding on the creative life force of films and television shows. Raise your hand if you're one of those. Raise your other hand if you're excited by the possibility of seeing Nicolas Cage play Dracula in a horror comedy.

Who will serve the Cage Dracula in this "Renfield" movie, which is in development even as we speak? That's what we're here to discuss. Here's everything we know about "Renfield" so far.

When and Where to Watch Renfield

This part is tricky, since "Renfield" is in early development, with casting news still trickling in as of December 2021. The trades reporting on its development haven't mentioned much in the way of a production timeline (i.e., when it will start shooting), let alone a targeted release date.

We do know that Universal Pictures is distributing "Renfield" as part of its continuing efforts to revive its Classic Monsters library on film. After a failed attempt at building its own shared Dark Universe, Universal went back to the drawing board with "The Invisible Man" in 2020. That film was one of the first to adjust to the pandemic by releasing on premium VOD just three weeks after its theatrical premiere.

Depending on the situation, "Renfield" could go that route or it could have a longer theatrical window. It could even go straight-to-streaming. That seems less likely in light of the "Invisible Man" model, but given the uncertainty of the current box-office climate, you never know.

As mentioned, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the oldest surviving Dracula film, "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror." It would be nice if they could have "Renfield" ready to go out before the end of the year as part of the vampire movie centennial ... but that's just wishful thinking on our part. It will be ready when it's ready.

What We Think Renfield Will Be About

"Renfield" is based on a story idea by Robert Kirkman, the creator of "The Walking Dead." After giving us years of TV and comic books focused on flesh-eating zombies, he's ready to show us something in the realm of blood-drinking vampires.

Before any casting news had come out, Kirkman teased that "Renfield" would be an "extremely violent comedy" of the horror variety. He said:

"We're doing this cool movie for Universal that's a focus on Renfield. It's a story about him being Dracula's henchman and how sh***y a job that is. It's a fun, extremely violent comedy because I've got a crutch, and it's violence."

This description of Renfield as a henchman enduring a "s****y a job" brings to mind the character of Guillermo, the beleaguered vampire servant on FX's "What We Do in the Shadows." That show expanded out of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's 2014 mockumentary film of the same name, and it seems like Renfield will be a horror comedy in that vein, with more gonzo violence and a greater focus on Dracula's personal assistant over the boss he serves.

What We Know About the Renfield Cast and Crew

Nicholas Hoult will play Renfield. With this movie, Hoult joins a long line of actors, such as Dwight Frye and Tom Waits, who have given memorable interpretations of Dracula's minion down through the decades. Again, Hoult has Nicolas Cage as his master here, and really, who better to play Dracula in a violent horror-comedy than Cage, an actor known for his over-the-top Nouveau Shamanic acting style? Awkwafina has also joined the cast of "Renfield" in an undisclosed role.

While Kirkman conceived the story, Ryan Ridley is writing the actual script for "Renfield." "Lego Movie" franchise alum Chris McKay, who crossed over from animation into live-action with "The Tomorrow War," will serve as the film's director.