Nicolas Cage Transforms Into Dracula in Leaked 'Renfield' Set Photos

Nicolas Cage has transformed again, this time into Count Dracula for Universal Pictures' next unique take on its classic horror monsters. Cage plays the vampire count in Renfield, a horror-comedy focusing on Dracula's henchman, played by Nicholas Hoult. PEOPLE published the first photos of Cage in full Dracula makeup Wednesday.

In the photos taken on Tuesday from the New Orleans set, Cage wears pale makeup, slicked-back hair, and long yellow fingernails. He was dressed in a dark red velvet suit, accented with a gold medallion around his neck. Another picture shows Hoult covered in bloody makeup.

Renfield is based on an original pitch from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, with a script by Ryan Ridley. It begins with Renfield deciding to start a new life after he falls in love with traffic cop Rebecca Quincy, played by Awkwafina. Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shoreh Aghashloo, Bess Rous, and James Moses Black also star. Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie, The Tomorrow War) is directing.

Although Dracula has been portrayed on screen dozens of times, Cage told Variety he hopes to bring something different to the role after watching Bela Lugosi's and Frank Langella's performances in the 1931 and 1979 Dracula movies. He also watched the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by his uncle Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman. "I looked at Gary's performance in uncle's movie, which I think is just so sumptuous. Every frame is a work of art," Cage said.

Cage is also bringing what he learned from watching more recent horror movies. "I want it to pop in a unique way from how we've seen it played," Cage told Variety. "So I'm thinking to really focus on the movement of the character. You know, I saw Malignant, and I thought what she did with those moves – and even Ringu with Sadako [Yamamura]... I want to look at what we can explore with this movement and voice."

In a GQ interview, Cage said he would also channel his late father, August Coppola, through his performance. "August Coppola's coming back. And he's coming back as Dracula," he said. David Bowie is in the mix of influences, too, as Cage said he wants to be "The Thin White Duke of Dracula."

Audiences will see if this melting pot of influences results in another excellent Cage performance when Renfield hits the screen on April 14, 2023. However, Cage is back in theaters much sooner in the meta-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which opens on April 22. His other upcoming films are The Retirement Plan, The Old Way and Butcher's Crossing.