SEATTLE — Despite nearly a century of actors portraying Draculas on film, Nicolas Cage still managed to create someone new in “Renfield.”
The horror/comedy movie tells the story of a narcissistic Prince of Darkness and his toxic relationship with his long-suffering servant, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult.) When Renfield joins a support group and befriends a local police officer (Awkwafina,) a bloody boss/employee showdown begins.
Entertainment reporter Kim Holcomb talked to Cage about the role, the film, and his storied career.
HOLCOMB: "I personally love your gestures and inflections. There's almost a little razzle dazzle in it, almost Vaudevillian at times. How did you land on that part of the role?”
CAGE: “That's great that you noticed that. You know, (Director) Chris McKay saw this as the rock and roll Dracula, and to me I feel like that's kind of like a (Mick) Jagger move, or Iggy Pop. So I'm combining Max Schrek and Jagger.”
HOLCOMB: "I've also read that you wore your teeth around the house to get acclimated. What about your long, pointy fingernails?"
CAGE: "I didn't take those home, but I did take the teeth home. It was hard to speak through those teeth, it was a lot of material. It was important Dracula speak eloquently, elegantly, with distinction — and with all that stuff, it took a minute to learn how to talk with them in."
HOLCOMB: "Did you have an accident? I always accidentally bite my own tongue and thinking of you just wearing them around the house and trying to function, I'm like, 'Did he draw blood?’"
CAGE: "Sometimes I bit down and it did (draw) a little blood. It wasn't anything to write home about. It wasn't like clickbait, 'Oh he drank his own blood,' all that stuff. But yeah, it did happen on occasion."
HOLCOMB: "It was a cautionary tale, not clickbait — that's how you learn to not do it, right?”
CAGE: “Yes, that's exactly right."
HOLCOMB: "Obviously playing a role like this must be fun. What was the most fun thing that you got to do, gory or otherwise?”
CAGE: “Awkwafina is hilarious, on camera and off camera. I just remember the two of us dangling on these wires and she would crack a joke every now and then and I couldn't help but just sort of look at our situation and start laughing out loud, that I'm actually having the good fortune of being 20 feet off the ground with Awkwafina, laughing at her jokes… I've seen the movie three times now and every time I see it, I always get something new out of it."
HOLCOMB: "Yeah, I feel like this is going to be a new favorite Nicolas Cage movie for many people. You've met so many fans, you've dealt with so many people in your life — can you tell what someone's favorite movie of yours is going to be, once you meet them or chat with them for a couple of minutes? Do you have that sense?”
CAGE: “Oh wow, no — I don't have that radar, although that would be fun to have. I've been surprised sometimes."
HOLCOMB: “I have had actual text conversations with my friends simply by sending gifs of you back and forth.”
HOLCOMB: “Are you familiar with all of your gifs? Do you ever send them to people?”
CAGE: “Oh no, no — but that's good, though. That's good that you can do that. It's much safer, just send gifs. Don't write anything."
HOLCOMB: "If it's a gif of Dracula in ‘Renfield’ though, you might be looking for trouble, so maybe just be careful.”
CAGE: “Oh is there one?”
HOLCOMB: “If there is not yet, I guarantee there will be.”
CAGE: “All right, I'm happy to hear that actually. That warms my heart.”
“Renfield” is rated R and opens in theaters April 14.