Dexter Fletcher has been tapped by Universal to direct a movie about Dracula’s henchman, Renfield, based on an original pitch from ‘The Walking Dead’ comic book creator Robert Kirkman. Ryan Ridley (‘Rick & Morty’) penned the script. ‘Renfield’ will be produced by Skybound Entertainment’s Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst.
Renfield appeared in the original Bram Stoker novel ‘Dracula’ and was an inmate in a lunatic asylum (hey, that’s what they were called back then!). It turns out that he has been ensorcelled by the vampire, which is why he eats living things, starting with insects and graduating to larger critters like bats and rats.
In the 1931 Universal movie adaptation, Dwight Frye (pictured) portrayed the thrall. Renfield has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows that have depicted Dracula.
Universal looks to be exploring many different paths to reviving its classic monster movie franchises. It had initially invested millions into Dark Universe, a planned franchise modeled after Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, but after the splashy ‘Mummy’, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise, tanked at the box office in 2017, the studio seemed to abandon those plans.
Low-budget horror studio Blumhouse stepped in to produce ‘The Invisible Man’, a stripped-down take that looks to emphasize the psychological horror aspects of the character. That picture opens in February.
But it seems that the Dark Universe isn’t dead, as ‘Ghostbusters” Paul Feig is prepping ‘Dark Army’ about a group of old and new Universal monsters. Since Feig is directing, this is most likely a comedy.
Now comes ‘Renfield’, but at this point, it is unknown what tone this movie will have. One thing that was announced is that this picture will be set in the present.
Elsewhere, Amblin is developing another Dracula-related movie, ‘The Last Voyage of the Demeter’ about the ship that Dracula used to travel from Transylvania to London. When it arrived, everyone on board had been killed except for the raving mad Renfield. André Øvredal is attached to direct that film.
As for Fletcher, he is red-hot at the moment. He stepped in to finish the Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ after Bryan Singer was fired, and then went on to direct an even splashier musical, ‘Rocketman’ about the life of Elton John. Both pictures were huge hits at the box office. He is currently in pre-production on ‘Sherlock Holmes 3’, which will star Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and possibly Rachel McAdams.
Stay tuned for updates as they arrive. How does a movie about Dracula’s henchman sound?