Nicolas Cage Talks Playing Dracula in ‘Renfield’ and How ‘Malignant’ Inspired the Role

Nicolas Cage
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

In November, Universal revealed that Nicolas Cage will tackle the iconic role of Dracula in the upcoming monster movie “Renfield,” starring Nicholas Hoult as the famous vampire’s lackey. It’s a bit of casting that feels like destiny, as Cage has some experience with vampiric roles, thanks to his turn in 1989’s “Vampire’s Kiss,” but “Renfield” will give him chance to take on the most legendary vampire of all.

A guest on this week’s episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, Cage was asked what he can reveal about the upcoming film from director Chris McKay. “I can tell you that it’s amazing,” Cage said. “It’s a really fun and exciting opportunity.”

He went on to state he is an “enormous” fan of the book and the character, and in preparation, he went back and watched some of the best-known performances on film. “I looked at Bela Lugosi’s performance, and then I looked at Frank Langella’s performance,” Cage said of the 1931 and 1979 films. And of course there’s Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version — Coppola is Cage’s uncle. “I looked at Gary’s performance in uncle’s movie, which I think it’s just so sumptuous. Every frame is a work of art,” he said.

Still, Cage asked himself what he could bring to the infamous role. “I want it to pop in a unique way from how we’ve seen it played,” he noted. “So I’m thinking to really focus on the movement of the character. You know, I saw ‘Malignant’ and I thought what she did with those moves — and even ‘Ringu’ with Sadako [Yamamura] … I want to look at what we can explore with this movement and voice.”

Ultimately, Cage said he’s excited about the humor of the piece. “What makes it super fun is that it’s a comedy,” he revealed. “And when you get that tone right — comedy and horror — like ‘American Werewolf in London,’ it’s a blast. It’s got to be a bulls-eye. But that’s what I’m looking for, something new to bring to the character, and also that perfect tone of comedy and horror.”