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Published Date: 12/04/2023
Showcase meets Nicholas Hoult
Evil doesn’t span eternity without a little help.
In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Emmy nominee Nicholas Hoult (Hank / Beast in the X-Men franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)) stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Oscar winner Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his co-dependency.
Ahead of the release of Renfield we were delighted to sit down with Nicholas Hoult to learn more about his cracking performance in the film and of course what it was like working with Nicolas Cage again.
We started off by asking Nicholas if Renfield was as much fun to make as it looks like he is having on screen.
“It was a lot of fun to make, but it was also a really difficult shoot. We did a lot of night shoots, which as you’d probably guess, it’s a vampire movie so a lot takes place at night. It was very physical at times as well. We had a fast schedule and each week we would do the core scenes of the story, but also one big action sequence, so it was demanding a lot.
“But we had an incredible director in Chris McKay and such a great cast, so yes; it was a lot of fun at the same time.”
We see you perform some incredible fight and stunt scenes, which is not something we have really seen you do.
“Yes, the stunt work was psychically very demanding, and as I say because it was such a quick turn over in terms of the schedule and we were having one of these big sequences every week my body was always recovering before we were on to the next one. But I really enjoyed it. Chris Brewster and the stunt team were brilliant in terms of developing idiosyncratic styles for each character in each sequence.
“You know, with Nic Cage being Dracula, they wanted him to be an apex predator, a cobra almost in his movements.
“And with Renfield he isn’t trained in any such way for action and it was kinda whatever happens in the moment he is just doing his best and like grabbing a fork or a serving platter and then also shocking himself with his own abilities at times…for instance when he punched off a head!
“Luckily for me I wasn’t such a great martial artist that I had to un-train to portray this! But there is an element that within in a normal stunt sequence it would be choreographed, whereas for Renfield we had to think that ‘Well, he’s not going to do that because that is too elite or well-trained or whatever’, so we would have a chloroform rag and use that on the bad guys.”
Where did your research take you? Did you watch past Dracula films like Tod Browning’s 1931 film or Francis Ford Coppola’s version?
“Yes! We watched a load of the classic Dracula movies and I kinda stole what I could from Dwight Frye (Frye played Renfield in Tod Browning’s classic 1931 adaptation starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula) and Tom Waits (Waits played R. M. Renfield in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992), with Gary Oldman as the Count) less so, because his Renfield is so far removed, but it was nice to have those bases and roots for this character. When I went back and read the book again and I could see his history and the truth of where he come from, but I also felt that now we are in this world a hundred years on and we are free to fit in with the tone of this story.”
We must also ask what it was like teaming up with Nic Cage again after playing his son The Weatherman (2005)?
“Oh, it was great. I hadn’t seen him since then when I was fourteen and I had a great time working with him then. I learned a lot. But I wasn’t fully aware in some ways just how iconic he is and how many brilliant performances he has given, and now as an adult going back and being more of a fan of his work, it was fantastic just to sit there and watch how he prepared and the ideas that he brings and his dedication and commitment, and importantly the fun that he is having playing Dracula as well. It really seems like he was born to play the character and it has come at the perfect time.
“We had a lot of fun working together and I feel we were both really enjoying ourselves in those scenes.”
Renfield is released at Showcase Cinemas this Friday, April 14