The casting news keeps rolling in for Dracula henchman movie Renfield, starring Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult. It is clear that director Chris McKay is leaning into the comedy of it all, as he has added Awkwafina and now Parks and Rec’s Ben Schwartz in supporting roles.
Renfield is a modern-day-set comedy revolving around the toxic, co-dependent relationship between Dracula and his henchman (the Renfield of the title). Chris McKay, who is best known for The Lego Batman Movie, is directing and Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley is penning the script. It is based on an original pitch from the creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, who will be producing.
Ben Schwartz is a comedian, writer and actor who played Tom Haverford’s obnoxious nemesis Jean-Ralphio in Parks and Recreation. He is also a prolific voice actor and plays Dewey in the DuckTales revival and Sonic in both Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) and its upcoming sequel. He will be playing a mobster in Renfield, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but we don’t know any more details than that at this time.
Universal famously tried to launch a Universal Monsters franchise, built around high-profile stars such as Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Russell Crowe. After initially planning a big-budget crossover extravaganza based on famous characters such as The Invisible Man, Wolfman, and Dr Jekyll, Universal completely changed their strategy after The Mummy (2017) did not take off as hoped.
Universal have now changed tactics to a lower-budget, more independent approach with Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man and the upcoming Wolfman starring Ryan Gosling, which will now be directed by the artistic and independent Derek Cianfrance. These films do not have the pressure of being part of an inter-connected universe and the writer-directors can have more creative control.
Clearly Chris McKay’s Renfield is going to be spinning off into an even wackier direction, and that can only be a good thing. While we wait for more news on Renfield, check out our guide to the best monster movies.