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Dexter Fletcher signs up for Universal monster movie on Dracula's henchman

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Dexter Fletcher attends the 2019 British Academy Britannia Awards, 2019. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Following news that the Universal Dark Universe isn't as dead as we'd thought – with the Invisible Man reboot coming soon – there's more news from the studio where all the movie monsters live.

According to Variety, Dexter Fletcher – fresh off the success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman – is signed up to direct Renfield, a movie centering on Dracula's servant R.M. Renfield.

In Bram Stoker's novel, Renfield is a patient at an asylum for the insane, and per the text is of 'sanguine temperament, great physical strength, and morbidly excitable'.

Read more: First look at The Invisible Man

Prone to bouts of zoophagia – eating living creatures – he is later revealed to be a servant of Count Dracula.

He's been portrayed numerous times on screen, by German actor Alexander Granach in Murnau's horror benchmark Nosferatu, Dwight Frye in the 1931 movie Dracula and Klaus Kinski in 1970's Count Dracula. Singer Tom Waits also played Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992, opposite Gary Oldman's gothic blood-sucker.

According to Variety, this latest iteration will be set in the present day, rather than presented as a period horror, with Ryan Ridley, a writer on Community and Rick and Morty penning the script from an original pitch from Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman.

Left to right: Helen Chandler (1906 - 1965) as Mina, Bela Lugosi (1882 - 1956) as the vampire Count Dracula and Dwight Frye (1899 - 1943) as Renfield in 'Dracula', directed by Tod Browning, 1931. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

The news comes after Blumhouse and Universal revealed the first trailer for The Invisible Man, a new take on the classic tale helmed by Saw creator Leigh Whannell, and starring Elizabeth Moss as a woman terrorised by what may be her invisible abusive ex-boyfriend.

Read more: Scream 5 in development

Ghostbusters reboot director Paul Feig is also working on a secret monster project too, with rumours also circulating that James Wan, the horror maven behind movies like The Conjuring and Insidious movies, is attached to a Frankenstein-based movie.

It all comes after a terrible start to what was dubbed Universal's 'Dark Universe', which began with Dracula Untold in 2014.

English actor Christopher Lee as the blood-sucking Count in 'Dracula A.D. 1972', directed by Alan Gibson for Hammer Films, 1972. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Prior to the release of The Mummy with Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella in 2017, it promised an interconnected cinematic universe using the Universal monsters IP, with more planned films featuring Russell Crowe as Doctor Jekyll, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster, and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man.

Plans for the 'dark universe' were shelved however when The Mummy tanked, Deadline reporting that it lost an estimated $95 million, Crowe, Depp and Bardem all since drifting away to other projects.

The Invisible Man is due for release in February, 2020. Watch a trailer below.