If you’re going to try and move against not just any lord of the night, but Nic goddamn Cage’s lord of the night, you’re going to need a team — and Universal’s latest spin on its monstrous world is starting to build one.
The Hollywood Reporter has word that Awkwafina — fresh off her appearances in Disney projects such as lending her voice to Sisu, the titular dragon in Raya and the Last Dragon, as well as Katy in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — has joined Chris McKay’s Renfield. The film follows the titular character, played by Nicholas Hoult, who is one of the major henchmen of Dracula himself, played by Nicolas Cage.
Taking place in a contemporary setting rather than the late 19th century of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, Renfield will see Hoult’s character — who, in the original book, was an asylum patient with a taste for blood, seeking immortality at his master’s side — re-examine his toxic relationship with Dracula, and look to others to help him break free from the delusionally one-sided relationship he has with the vampire. Although no details have been released about Awkwafina’s character specifically, THR reports that she will be helping Hoult’s Renfield work against Count Dracula.
Renfield comes at an interesting time for Universal, after its failed attempts to get the so-called “Dark Universe” reboot of its beloved Universal Monsters properties off the ground a few years ago came to a halt in the wake of less-than-expected successes of The Mummy and Dracula Untold. But the surprise critical and public success of 2020’s Invisible Man has seen the studio eager to try again at a modern-reimaging of its classic creature features, albeit perhaps less in the interconnected shared-universe style. Aside from Renfield, a potential new Wolfman movie is in the works with Ryan Gosling eyed for the title role, while Jennifer’s Body’s Karyn Kusama is working on a new Dracula. Other potential films in the space include Paul Feig’s Dark Army and a James Wan project, the latter of whom is also producing a new Van Helsing film directed by Overlord’s Julius Avery.
Renfield is set to begin production in New Orleans in early 2022.