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Nicolas Cage has made a career of biting into his roles with seemingly reckless abandon, even as he strayed further and further from studio moviemaking and sunk his teeth into indie cinema.
Now, in a deal sealed with a vampire’s kiss, Cage is returning to a big-studio movie and will play the meaty role of Dracula in Universal Pictures’ monster movie Renfield.
Nicholas Hoult is starring as the titular character, the vampire count’s infamous acolyte and henchman, in the feature directed by Chris McKay, the helmer behind Amazon’s The Tomorrow War and The Lego Batman Movie.
McKay and Robert Kirkman are producing along with David Alpert, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst. McKay’s producing partner, Samantha Nisenboim, is exec producing.
The character of Renfield originated in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula as a patient in an asylum obsessed with drinking blood, deluded into thinking he will find immortality. He bows at the feet of Dracula, who, in the very definition of toxic work environments and co-dependent relationships, feeds him insects and rats and dangles everlasting life in front of him.
It is unclear how Renfield takes on the dynamic as plot details are being kept in the coffin, but the project is described as a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.
Ryan Ridley, known for Fox’s Ghosted and Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, penned the script based on an original story outline from Kirkman.
Cage established himself as an acting talent with 1980s classics such as Moonstruck and Raising Arizona before winning an Oscar for 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas and becoming one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He went on to lead a long string of blockbusters hits such as The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off and National Treasure. He scored a second Oscar nomination for his performance in 2002’s Adaptation.
His last major studio movie was 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and since then he has starred in numerous indies, many indulgently quirky and some downright esoteric.
But seeds of a comeback and renaissance were planted when Lionsgate bought and then made The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Cage plays an actor named Nic Cage who is trying to navigate the paths of indie and studio moviemaking while also acting as a CIA informant ensconced in a drug lord’s jungle compound. Buzz about the movie, which is in the test screening phase ahead of an April 2022 release, has been swirling around in executive circles for months, with many calling it a big swing for the actor and studio.
The actor, who previously dabbled in blood-sucking with the 1989 cult horror-comedy Vampire’s Kiss, is repped by WME, Stride Management and attorney Patrick Knapp.
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