“Conflicted Character:” Nicholas Hoult Details Renfield’s Evolution From Dracula’s Shadow

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Nicholas Hoult, the star of Renfield, insists that his character has come a long way. Having first appeared in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, R.M. Renfield himself has only recently come back into prominence with a movie of his own. Now, he stars as the abused worker desperately trying to get out from under the thumb of his boss.


In Renfield, the long-time servant of Dracula finally makes a move to escape his master’s captivity. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t come easily. While Renfield originally died in 1931’s Dracula, Renfield portrays the character as having survived to the present day. After a century of catering to the vampire, Hoult told Total Film that Renfield has changed significantly. Check out his quote below:

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“Obviously, with Dracula, people then have such an idea of who he is on screen and their interpretation of their favorites. Whereas with Renfield, he hasn’t appeared in every Dracula movie, and he was more of a secondary character when he has, so I probably did feel a sense of freedom through that. But there was also this really nice rooting in the novel and being able to go back and read that and learn about that Renfield, but then go through and watch Dwight Frye and Tom Waits and Peter MacNicol and go, ‘Okay, what do I like about their performances? What can I steal?’ For instance, Dwight Frye’s laugh, I was like, ‘Oh, this is such an iconic, brilliant laugh. I feel like that would be great to kind of pepper in or have a little taste of occasionally.’ But this story is taking place 100 years later, and the crazed fervor of Renfield working for Dracula in those movies and what he is there has waned a lot and it’s settled into this morally ambiguous, conflicted character, who is doing his best but just doesn’t believe in himself or where he’s ended up, and lives with a lot of regret.”

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How Renfield’s Personality Changed So Much Between Movies

Renfield bathed in light

Renfield was once the loyal servant, desperately afraid of his master and ever-willing to do all that the Prince of Darkness needed from him. He brought him bodies, blood, and an endless supply of victims to torment. With his support, Dracula became an eternal shade over the human race.

By the time his own movie starts, Renfield has changed considerably. Regretful and tired, he has started to recognize the futility of his actions and the fact that he needs to escape. Too many years of serving Dracula have driven him past his breaking point. He starts a support group, finds a love interest, and, by the end of Renfield, completely turned against his master. In doing so, he breaks the bonds of a toxic relationship completely.

With so much change, Renfield has come a long way since Dracula. No longer a sniveling coward under Dracula’s thumb, he has acknowledged his own role in his actions and risen above them. He attempts to seek a solution by standing up to the vampire prince once and for all. He even succeeds. In doing so, Renfield proves that even Dracula’s manservant isn’t entirely past the point of redemption.

Source: Total Film

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