Nicolas Cage Reveals Which Recent Horror Movie Is Inspiring His Upcoming Dracula Performance

Nicolas Cage in Mandy
(Image credit: Shudder)

Nicolas Cage is one of the most unforgettable actors of his generation. With good reason, too – the Oscar winner’s career trajectory has been a mixture of blockbuster action classics and obscure, so-bad-they’re-good films. He’s approached each role he takes with a unique combination of authenticity and eccentricity. So it’s not surprising that he would take on a legendary Universal monsters role role – Dracula. What is a little surprising, though, is what horror movies he’s drawing inspiration from. 

After a stirring turn in the indie drama Pig, and playing a down-on-his-luck version of himself in the upcoming The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, Nic Cage has set his sights on a monster movie. It's honestly kind of perfect that he’ll be playing the most famous vampire of all time in Universal’s Renfield. Though he’s stepped back from making major studio films in recent years, it seems that Cage is enthusiastic about the opportunity – and is already planning his own unique approach. 

The actor recently appeared on Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast and explained that she’s a longtime fan of Bram Stoker’s classic novel. He's also watched some of the more iconic takes on the role – name Bella Lugosi, Frank Langella and Gary Oldman in his uncle’s version of Dracula – while preparing for the role. But even though he was inspired by those performances, the actor said that he found himself wondering how to approach the character: 

I was like, ‘What can I bring that will be different?’ Because I want it to pop in a unique way. We’ve seen it played well, we’ve seen it played not so well, so what can we do? And I’m thinking to really focus on the movement of the character. You know, I saw Malignant and I thought what she did with those moves — and even Ringu with Sadako [Yamamura], I want to look at what we can explore with his movement and voice.

If you’ve seen either of those films, you can probably understand why Nicolas Cage would be inspired by those performances, even if they’re not vampire stories. The creepy contortions that Gabriel (Marina Mazepa) performs helped make Malignant one of the best horror films of 2021. And there’s a reason why Ringu is still considered one of the best Japanese horror films of all time – Sadako’s otherworldly movements are unforgettable. 

Knowing that he was inspired by those films gives us some clue as to what we might expect from him in Renfield. It sounds like he has more in mind than scaring us, though: 

But for me, what makes it super fun is that it’s a comedy. And when you get that tone right, comedy and horror, like American Werewolf in London, it’s a blast. You gotta get it right, it’s gotta be a bullseye, but that’s what I’m looking for; something new to bring to the character and also that perfect tone of comedy and horror.

We know Nic Cage is more than capable of pulling off just about any genre in his own unique way, so if this is the approach they’ll be taking for Renfield, it sounds pretty promising. There’s no word yet on when the film will begin production – but there is a list of upcoming Universal Classic Monster Movies to look forward to. 

Katherine Webb