Deadline reports that Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) is in talks to direct Renfield, a film focusing on Dracula’s brainwashed servant. The film comes from an outline by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman with the script written by Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty).
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, R.M. Renfield is an inmate at an asylum and is thought to be delusional and disturbed, but in actuality he is Dracula’s servant, brainwashed to follow Dracula’s orders. The film is said to not be a period piece, but will instead tell an original story set in the modern day. It will be produced by Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment’s David Alpert, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst.
Universal is in the midst of developing several films based upon their iconic monsters. After the success of last year’s The Invisible Man, the studio is aiming to develop fresh takes on the classic characters in a series of solo films rather than create a shared franchise as they hoped to do with the Dark Universe. Unlike The Invisible Man and the upcoming Wolf Man and Van Helsing reboots which are more horror based, Renfield will be a blend of humour and action.
Renfield has appeared in nearly every adaptation of Dracula, but one of the most famous portrayals has been that of Peter MacNicol’s in the Mel Brooks and Leslie Nielsen parody Dracula: Dead and Loving It as Dracula’s bumbling, foolish and bug-eating slave.
Along with Renfield, Universal also has two other Dracula-related projects in the works from directors Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) – described as a “futuristic sci-fi western” – and Karyn Kusama (Destroyer), the latter of which is being produced by Blumhouse Pictures and will be a modern adaptation of Stoker’s novel. Meanwhile, another Dracula-inspired film that is currently in development is The Last Voyage of the Demeter from director André Øvredal and starring Corey Hawkins, which is a period piece about Dracula travelling to London and feasting on the crew of the ship during the journey.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.