Renfield’s Nicolas Cage says late father August Coppola inspired his portrayal of Dracula


Veteran actor Nicolas Cage drew inspiration from many places for his portrayal of Count Dracula in Renfield, and among them is his late father, August Coppola. The brother of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, Cage’s father was an author and art advocate, although he also spent time working as a film director at the August Coppola Theater on the campus of the State University of San Francisco that bears his name. Coppola died in 2009 at the age of 75.

In a new interview with Post-Cred Module, Cage gave some details about his embodiment of pop culture’s most well-known vampire. Cage admits it was a scary role to take on, as it’s been done so many times before by different actors, some doing very well and some not so much. For his part, Cage knew he had to somehow deliver a unique version, but he still felt it was important to take bits and pieces from some of the other notable Dracula actors to deliver his version.


“I thought I could do something with my own enthusiasm about Bram Stoker’s book, as well as Christopher Lee’s performance in the Hammer films, as well as Langella’s performance, as well as the performance of ‘Oldman, as well as Lugosi’s performance. I wanted to embrace elements of all of them, but also Orlok and Max Schreck; I wanted to incorporate a bit of German expressionism and body language into it.”

While he drew inspiration from other famous Dracula actors of years past, the Renfield The star also says that it was her father in particular who particularly inspired this performance, especially with his way of speaking. There was a certain inflection in Coppola’s voice that Cage says his father had on purpose, and because Coppola also reminded Cage of Christopher Lee, it was the perfect inspiration. As Cage says:

“I basically channel my dad, August Coppola, who had a MidAtlantic accent, and he was always going, ‘You know, Nicolas, let me explain something to you, Nicolas.’ And I never understood his accent. I was like, “Daddy, what is that? Why are you talking like that?” He said to me: “Do you want to know why I’m talking like that, Nicolas? Because I made the decision to speak with distinction, okay? I’m a literature teacher, okay? That’s how I talk!” It’s pretty amazing to me, how remarkable he looks like Christopher Lee. So I thought, okay, dad looks like Christopher Lee. Dad looks like to be in a Hammer horror movie. And I did dad in Vampire’s Kiss, so I’m gonna bring him back from the afterlife as Dracula, combined with all the other stuff I mentioned earlier.”

Related: Nicolas Cage Names Three Best Movies He’s Ever Directed

Renfield will present a new version of Dracula

Nicolas Cage has his face covered in blood in Mandy
RLJE Films

Renfield is directed by Adam McKay (tomorrow’s war) and written by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Ryan Riley (rick and morty). The film stars Nicholas Hoult as the titular Renfield, Dracula’s right-hand man, as well as Ben Schwartz (sonic the hedgehog) and Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Shohreh Aghdashloo and Bess Rous.

Renfield does not yet have an official release date and the film is currently in production.

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