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Renfield - What We Know So Far

If there is one thing in plentiful supply in Hollywood, it's monster movies. Whether it's classics like 1931's "Dracula" or 1935's "The Bride of Frankenstein," clever and acclaimed remakes like "The Mummy," starring Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser, recent hits like "The Invisible Man," starring Elisabeth Moss and Oliver Cohen-Jackson, or ham-fisted attempts to twist monster lore into new stories (we're looking at you, "I, Frankenstein" and "Dracula Untold"), there's a monster movie out there for everyone. Even though it risks getting boring to see the same stories told and retold time and time again, it's not hard to see why this particular horror subgenre is so frequently sought out: The allure of putting your favorite box office superstar opposite a supernatural creature and throwing in some clever plot twists — that may or may not have thematic relevance to a particular issue of the day — is too inviting a concept to not invest in.

And so, it should come as no surprise that Universal Pictures will be expanding its currently hefty slate of upcoming monster movies — which includes a "Wolfman" movie starring Ryan Gosling — with "Renfield." If that name rings a bell, then you must be a fan of author Bram Stoker's famous 19th-century novel "Dracula" or one of the many big screen adaptations of the story, because Renfield is a key character in that mythos. According to a report from Deadline, "Renfield" has been a long-gestating project over at Universal and is just now getting some monster-sized momentum. The movie will be based on a story outline written by "The Walking Dead" EP Robert Kirkman, directed by "The Tomorrow War" helmer Chris McKay, and written by Ryan Ridley ("Rick and Morty").

Here's what we know so far about "Renfield." 

Is there a release date yet for Renfield?

Currently, the Chris McKay-directed "Renfield" has no set release date. However, given the subject matter of the project and the fact it's being announced in mid-2021, we have some clues about which release window Universal Pictures will try to lock down. 

Because "Renfield" will be part of Universal's monster movie catalog, it's possible that the studio may set an appropriately spooky late September or October release date. Figuring out the year Universal Pictures will go for is a bit trickier, partially because we don't know how big a budget the studio has set for the movie or how eager they are to get the movie out — two factors which bear a surprising amount of weight on a release date. One bit of information we do know, thanks to a December 2021 report by The Hollywood Reporter, is that the film is scheduled to begin filming sometime in early 2022. 

With all those factors in mind, the likeliest release year for "Renfield" would be 2023 at the earliest or possibly even 2024.

Who is in the Renfield cast?

The cast list of "Renfield" alone should be enough to hypnotize many into theaters when the movie finally releases. Nicholas Hoult is attached to star in the titular role, which was first made famous in Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Considering the hot streak Hoult has been on in the past few years — he's had memorable roles in "The Favourite," "Those Who Wish Me Dead," "Tolkien," as well as "The Great" and "Crossing Swords," both on Hulu – his presence alone would be worth the excitement. But, in November 2021, it was announced that the legendary Nicolas Cage was attached to star as none other than Dracula himself (via Variety). And the exciting casting news doesn't stop there. 

December 2021 brought the news that both Awkwafina and Ben Schwartz were joining the production. Awkwafina, known for her starring role in "The Farewell" and her turn in Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," is playing a character named Rebecca Quincy, a traffic cop who will reportedly be an ally to Hoult's Renfield (via Deadline). Meanwhile, details about the character played by Schwartz, of "Parks and Recreation" and "Sonic the Hedgehog" fame, have yet to be released (via Variety). Another notable addition is Adrian Martinez. According to Deadline, the "Stumptown" actor will play the partner of Awkwafina's character.

Rounding out the cast (for the time being) is "The Expanse" alum Shohreh Aghdashloo. Deadline announced her casting in early February 2022, noting the screen vet will play "Ella, a bold woman who is one of the most feared crime lords in the city."

What is the plot of Renfield?

Although bits and pieces of the plot of "Renfield" have trickled out since the movie was first announced, the biggest piece of information we have remains the character himself. In the 1897 novel "Dracula," Renfield is a gruesome character: He's the henchman of Transylvania's most infamous blood-sucking nobleman. Before that, Renfield is revealed to be a patient in an asylum, known for eating rats and other animals to absorb their life force. Dracula is able to psychically connect with him and use him as an additional pair of hands to do his bidding.

A December 2021 report by The Hollywood Reporter gives us a few other big clues as to what we can expect from the movie. "Renfield" will take place in the modern-day and feature the titular character joining forces with Awkwafina's Rebecca Quincy to take down Dracula himself. THR teases that the movie will explore the "toxic and co-dependent relationship" between Renfield and Dracula, and that the tone of the film will tilt more toward the action-comedy side than the moody and dramatic. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise, given the cast. Deadline even teases that there might be a romantic element to Renfield and Rebecca's relationship. It seems that in this take on the popular characters, Renfield is ready to step out of his master's shadow.

Those details should excite fans who love to see their favorite horror icons from the past brought into the present day. As for what else to expect, we'll have to wait until "Renfield" gets closer to rising from its coffin and flying into theaters.