After a false start to its Dark Universe with the 2017 reboot The Mummy, Universal seems to have found a new rhythm for bringing its Monsters to the 21st century.
Universal currently has Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man in post-production, and Paul Feig’s Dark Army and Elizabeth Banks’s Invisible Woman in the works. Now they have added Renfield, with Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher at the helm.
Variety broke the story, stating that the idea comes from a pitch via Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty) will write the script.
Plot details are currently unknown, but in Bram Stoker’s original novel Dracula, “R. M. Renfield is a patient at a lunatic asylum who has a connection to the bloodsucking count.” Dwight Frye and Tom Waits have previously played the character in past adaptations of the novel.
Regarding the project, Universal stated:
Similar to what’s being done with Blumhouse and Leigh Whannell’s upcoming Invisible Man film inspired by Universal’s classic Monster character, instead of pushing forward with the initial notion of an interconnected universe, the studio halted and reassessed and were reminded that what has led to these characters’ endurance over generations is passion and relevance. Universal remains committed to creating compelling filmmaker-driven projects based on characters from the studios vast monsters legacy. Instead of prescribing a mandated updating of these monster stories and making them all part of a larger scheme, the studio loosened these restrictions and open-sourced to filmmakers who were inspired to create their own unique stories.
The era in Hollywood where every studio was trying to copy the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by launching their own shared universe seems to have flickered out. I’m digging the more standalone, character driven approach Universal seems to be taking. If the first trailer for the Invisible Man is any indication, I say the studio has cracked the formula for success.
Do you think a film focusing on Renfield is necessary? Or do you think this is about as dumb as when Sony was going to make a young Aunt May spin-off?