Nicholas Hoult is set to take on another off-kilter role in Universal Pictures’ upcoming side-character monster movie, Renfield, based on Dracula’s deranged lackey. The Tomorrow War director Chris McKay will helm the project, with Rick and Morty’s Ryan Ridley penning the script.
The character Renfield originated in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, where readers meet him while he’s in an asylum; he also has an obsession for drinking blood and eating small creatures, filled with the delusion that it will imbue him with everlasting life. He bends to the will of his vampire king, doing his bidding as Dracula pursues his victims. Previously, Renfield has been depicted by Dwight Frye in 1931’s Dracula and Tom Waits in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation. There’s even a nod to the henchman in the iconic “Dracula” episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, in which goofball sidekick Xander Harris becomes the bug-eating, self-described “butt monkey.”
Hoult’s garnered a reputation for expertly bringing unhinged characters to life, such as Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road and Peter in Hulu’s The Great. His other noteworthy performances include X-Men, The Favourite, and About A Boy. Hoult recently joined the cast of comedy-thriller The Menu, alongside Anya-Taylor Joy, Ralph Fiennes, and Hong Chau. The food-focused horror is produced by Adam McKay and directed by Succession’s Mark Mylod.
Another non-creature feature—for monster slayer Van Helsing—is in the works at Universal as part of the revival of its monster film legacy, which began with remake of The Invisible Man. Well, really it began with the epic failure that was the Tom Cruise-fronted remake of The Mummy, but we won’t count that for Universal’s sake. Other forthcoming films from Universal’s classic monster canon include Wolfman starring Ryan Gosling, Elizabeth Banks’ Invisible Woman, Paul Feig’s Dark Army, and Karyn Kusama’s Dracula.