Renfield stars admit seeing Nicolas Cage as Dracula was 'pretty intimidating'
Awkafina was 'inspired' by Cage's commitment
Watch: Ben Schwartz and Awkwafina talk Renfield
Appearing opposite Nicolas Cage’s unhinged Dracula in Renfield — the upcoming action-comedy-horror that puts the focus on Nicholas Hoult’s eponymous vampire assistant — was something of a dream come true for Ben Schwartz.
“To get choked out by Nic Cage, come on, what else could you possibly want?” he tells Yahoo UK.
The actor — best known for Parks & Recreation and as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog — plays a gang boss’s demented son who hunts down Renfield, a bug-eating super-servant.
When it came to scenes with Cage, Schwartz’s own improv background heightened the experience.
Read more: Six big actors you forgot played Dracula
“[Cage] is down,” he says. “I love to be surprised by scenes, because you get the best reactions, you get real reactions. I was absolutely in heaven.
“I grew up on his movies. I've watched The Rock, Face Off, and Con Air a thousand times. So the fact that I get to play with him, it's amazing.”
Awkwafina, who co-stars as a New Orleans traffic cop and a surprise ally to Renfield, is equally gushing about working opposite Cage.
“It was such a cool thing to watch Cage transform into Dracula because he is so into the process, into the character, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with it,” she says.
Read more: Nicolas Cage believed he was 'an alien' as a child
“It's pretty intimidating to see Nicolas Cage fully dressed up as Dracula, just wandering the set in between takes. That was definitely disarming.
“It was such an inspirational experience, just to see an actor completely in his zone and in his wheelhouse...
"And his nails were crazy.”
Schwartz agrees about the bizarreness of seeing Cage casually hanging out on set in full costume and makeup, which reportedly took eight hours to apply.
“We would do a scene and then they would say cut, and then he would laugh a little bit,” he says.
“We sit down in our chairs, and we're just talking about whatever movies are out… but he's literally big fingernails, blood down his face. It's just the funniest thing in the world.”
For both comedic actors, Renfield — directed by The Lego Batman Movie’s Chris McKay — was a chance to play against type by engaging with the horror and action aspects of the movie.
“I'm not a physical person, which is ironic,” Awkwafina – who previously appeared in the action-heavy Shang-Chi and Jumanji: The Next Level – says.
“It's like the larger Curb Your Enthusiasm quality of my life that I continuously get thrown into these action movies where I don't really know what I'm doing.”
“It was so fun to be the crazy person who drives recklessly and does cocaine shoots, all things I would never do ever,” Schwartz adds. “It's so fun that I can go from doing Sonic to doing a hard R comedy. So I was in heaven.”
Renfield reaches UK cinemas on 14 April 2023. Watch a trailer below.