A while back it was announced that Rocketman and Eddie The Eagle director Dexter Fletcher was circling a new Universal Monsters project focused on Count Dracula’s brainwashed lackey, Renfield. The script is penned by Rick & Morty’s Ryan Ridley based on an original outline from Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible), Ridley’s involvement suggesting a comedic-bend to the horror movie.
Fletcher has exited the project to focus on Paramount’s The Saint reboot starring Chris Pine and Universal has hired Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie, The Tomorrow War) to replace him as director, according to Deadline.
Renfield believed if he was loyal enough, his master Dracula would give him immortality and is institutionalized. The incarnation of Renfield that standouts personally for me is Tom Waits’ take in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula from 1992 that starred Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, and Keanu Reeves.
The studio attempted to re-brand the Universal Monsters by launching their own modern cinematic universe, Dark Universe, starring with Tom Cruise’s The Mummy only for the film to flop. Leading the studio to kill the Dark Universe and retool their plans by getting Leigh Whannell to direct a new take on The Invisible Man with the help of Jason Blum’s Blumhouse. Renfield is part of a wave of new Universal Monsters projects, the next one is expected to be a Wolfman remake from Whannell and starring Ryan Gosling. Some of the other movies include a genre-hybrid Dracula remake from Chloe Zhao (Eternals, Nomadland), Van Helsing from director Julius Avery (Overlord), talk of the studio still trying to get a director attached for a Bridge of Frankenstein remake and other various films in development.
McKay’s sci-fi action flick The Tomorrow War starring Chris Pratt was recently sold by Paramount to Amazon for a hefty $200+ million and will be released on July 2, 2021.