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Nicolas Cage to Star as Dracula in Universal Monster Movie; Renfield; (Exclusive)

Nicolas Cage to Star as Dracula in Universal Monster Movie ‘Renfield’ (Exclusive)

It’s going to be Nicolas vs. Nicholas as Nicholas Hoult stars Dracula’s titular henchman.

Borys Kit

Senior Film Writer

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Nicolas Cage

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Nicolas Cage has made a career of biting into his roles with seemingly reckless abandon, even as he strayed further and further from studio moviemaking and sunk his teeth into indie cinema.

Now, in a deal sealed with a vampire’s kiss, Cage is returning to a big-studio movie and will play the meaty role of Dracula in Universal Pictures’ monster movie Renfield.

Nicholas Hoult is starring as the titular character, the vampire count’s infamous acolyte and henchman, in the feature directed by Chris McKay, the helmer behind Amazon’s The Tomorrow War and The Lego Batman Movie.

McKay and Robert Kirkman are producing along with David Alpert, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst. McKay’s producing partner, Samantha Nisenboim, is exec producing.

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The character of Renfield originated in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula as a patient in an asylum obsessed with drinking blood, deluded into thinking he will find immortality. He bows at the feet of Dracula, who, in the very definition of toxic work environments and co-dependent relationships, feeds him insects and rats and dangles everlasting life in front of him.

It is unclear how Renfield takes on the dynamic as plot details are being kept in the coffin, but the project is described as a modern-day adventure story that is comedic in tone.

Ryan Ridley, known for Fox’s Ghosted and Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, penned the script based on an original story outline from Kirkman.

Cage established himself as an acting talent with 1980s classics such as Moonstruck and Raising Arizona before winning an Oscar for 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas and becoming one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He went on to lead a long string of blockbusters hits such as The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off and National Treasure. He scored a second Oscar nomination for his performance in 2002’s Adaptation.

His last major studio movie was 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and since then he has starred in numerous indies, many indulgently quirky and some downright esoteric.

But seeds of a comeback and renaissance were planted when Lionsgate bought and then made The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Cage plays an actor named Nic Cage who is trying to navigate the paths of indie and studio moviemaking while also acting as a CIA informant ensconced in a drug lord’s jungle compound. Buzz about the movie, which is in the test screening phase ahead of an April 2022 release, has been swirling around in executive circles for months, with many calling it a big swing for the actor and studio.

The actor, who previously dabbled in blood-sucking with the 1989 cult horror-comedy Vampire’s Kiss, is repped by WME, Stride Management and attorney Patrick Knapp.

Vlad the Impaler: The real Dracula

This portrait of Vlad III, or Vlad the Impaler, was painted in the early 16th century, hangs in the museum at Castle Ambras in Innsbruck, Austria

Legends of Vampires go back centuries, but few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. However the fictional character, created by author Bram Stoker, was in fact based on a real historical figure called Vlad the Impaler.

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Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was a medieval warlord, in what today is Romania, in south-eastern Europe. Stoker used elements of Vlad’s real story for the title character of his 1897 novel «Dracula.» The book has since inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales. However, according to historians and literary scholars, such as Elizabeth Miller who has studied the link between Stoker’s character and Vlad III, the two Draculas don’t really have much in common.

Who was the real Dracula?

Vlad the Impaler was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania, the central region of modern-day Romania. However, the link between Vlad the Impaler and Transylvania is tenuous, according to Florin Curta, a professor of medieval history and archaeology at the University of Florida.

«Dracula is linked to Transylvania, but the real, historic Dracula — Vlad III — never owned anything in Transylvania,» Curta told Live Science. Bran Castle, a modern-day tourist attraction in Transylvania that is often referred to as Dracula’s castle, was never the residence of the Wallachian prince, he added.

«Because the castle is in the mountains in this foggy area and it looks spooky, it’s what one would expect of Dracula’s castle,» Curta said. «But he [Vlad III] never lived there. He never even stepped foot there.»

Vlad III’s father, Vlad II, did own a residence in Sighişoara, Transylvania, but it is not certain that Vlad III was born there, according to Curta. It’s also possible, he said, that Vlad the Impaler was born in Târgovişte, which was at that time the royal seat of the principality of Wallachia, where his father was a «voivode,» or ruler. There is also Castelul Corvinilor, also known as Castle Corvin, where Vlad may have been imprisoned by Hungarian Governor John Hunyadi.

It is possible for tourists to visit one castle where Vlad III certainly spent time. At about age 12, Vlad III and his brother were imprisoned in Turkey. In 2014, archaeologists found the likely location of the dungeon, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Tokat Castle is located in northern Turkey. It is an eerie place with secret tunnels and dungeons that is currently under restoration and open to the public.

Where does the name Dracula come from?

In 1431, King Sigismund of Hungary, who would later become the Holy Roman Emperor, according to the British Museum, inducted the elder Vlad into a knightly order, the Order of the Dragon. This designation earned Vlad II a new surname: Dracul. The name came from the old Romanian word for dragon, «drac.»

His son, Vlad III, would later be known as the «son of Dracul» or, in old Romanian, Drăculea, hence Dracula, according to Historian Constantin Rezachevici («From the Order of the Dragon to Dracula» Journal of Dracula Studies, Vol 1, 1999). In modern Romanian, the word «drac» refers to the Devil, Curta said.

According to «Dracula: Sense and Nonsense» (Desert Island Books, 2020) by Elizabeth Miller, in 1890 Stoker read a book about Wallachia. Although it did not mention Vlad III, Stoker was struck by the word «Dracula.» He wrote in his notes, «in Wallachian language means DEVIL.» It is therefore likely that Stoker chose to name his character Dracula for the word’s devilish associations.

The theory that Vlad III and Dracula were the same person was developed and popularized by historians Radu Florescu and Raymond T. McNally in their book «In Search of Dracula” (The New York Graphic Society, 1972). Though far from accepted by all historians, the thesis took hold of the public imagination, according to The New York Times.

According to Constantin Rezachevici, the Order of the Dragon was devoted to a singular task: the defeat of the Turkish, or Ottoman Empire. Situated between Christian Europe and the Muslim lands of the Ottoman Empire, Vlad II’s (and later Vlad III’s) home principality of Wallachia was frequently the scene of bloody battles as Ottoman forces pushed westward into Europe, and Christian forces repulsed the invaders.

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Years of captivity

When Vlad II was called to a diplomatic meeting in 1442 with Ottoman Sultan Murad II, he brought his young sons Vlad III and Radu along. But the meeting was actually a trap: All three were arrested and held hostage. The elder Vlad was released under the condition that he leave his sons behind. Others, such as James S Kessler («Echoes of Empire,» Lulu Publishing, 2016) argue that Vlad II «sent Vlad Junior and his brother Radu cel Frumos as “royal hostages” to the Ottoman court.»

«The sultan held Vlad and his brother as hostages to ensure that their father, Vlad II, behaved himself in the ongoing war between Turkey and Hungary,» said Miller, a research historian and professor emeritus at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.

Under the Ottomans, Vlad and his younger brother were tutored in science, philosophy and the arts. According to Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally, Vlad also became a skilled horseman and warrior.

«They were treated reasonably well by the current standards of the time,» Miller said. «Still, [captivity] irked Vlad, whereas his brother sort of acquiesced and went over to the Turkish side. But Vlad held enmity, and I think it was one of his motivating factors for fighting the Turks: to get even with them for having held him captive.»

Vlad the Prince

While Vlad and Radu were in Ottoman hands, Vlad’s father was fighting to keep his place as voivode of Wallachia, a fight he would eventually lose. In 1447, Vlad II was ousted as ruler of Wallachia by local noblemen (boyars) and was killed in the swamps near Bălteni, halfway between Târgovişte and Bucharest in present-day Romania, according to John Akeroyd («The Historical Dracula«, History Ireland, Vol 17 No.2, 2009). Vlad’s older half-brother, Mircea, was killed alongside his father.

Not long after these harrowing events, in 1448, Vlad embarked on a campaign to regain his father’s seat from the new ruler, Vladislav II. His first attempt at the throne relied on the military support of the Ottoman governors of the cities along the Danube River in northern Bulgaria, according to Curta. Vlad also took advantage of the fact that Vladislav was absent at the time, having gone to the Balkans to fight the Ottomans for the governor of Hungary at the time, John Hunyadi.

Vlad won back his father’s seat, but his time as ruler of Wallachia was short-lived. He was deposed after only two months, when Vladislav II returned and took back the throne of Wallachia with the assistance of Hunyadi, according to Curta.

Little is known about Vlad III’s whereabouts between 1448 and 1456. But it is known that he switched sides in the Ottoman-Hungarian conflict, giving up his ties with the Ottoman governors of the Danube cities and obtaining military support from King Ladislaus V of Hungary, who happened to dislike Vlad’s rival — Vladislav II of Wallachia — according to Curta.

Vlad III’s political and military tack truly came to the forefront amid the fall of Constantinople in 1453. After the fall, the Ottomans were in a position to invade all of Europe. Vlad, who had already solidified his anti-Ottoman position, was proclaimed voivode of Wallachia in 1456, according to Elizabeth Miller («A Dracula Handbook,» Xlibris, 2005). One of his first orders of business in his new role was to stop paying an annual tribute to the Ottoman sultan — a measure that had formerly ensured peace between Wallachia and the Ottomans.

Why is Vlad called «The Impaler»?

To consolidate his power as voivode, Vlad needed to quell the incessant conflicts that had historically taken place between Wallachia’s boyars. According to Constantin Rezachevici («Dracula: Essays on the Life and Times of Vlad the Impaler» Center for Romanian Studies, 2019) «during a banquet given by him at the palace in Targoviste, Vlad the Impaler ordered the impaling of some 500 Boyars (perhaps only really 50) with the accusation that their ‘shameless disunity’ was the cause of the frequent changing of the princes in Wallachia».

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This is just one of many gruesome events that earned Vlad his posthumous nickname, Vlad the Impaler. This story, and others like it, is documented in printed material from around the time of Vlad III’s rule, according to Miller.

«In the 1460s and 1470s, just after the invention of the printing press, a lot of these stories about Vlad were circulating orally, and then they were put together by different individuals in pamphlets and printed,» Miller said.

Whether or not these stories are wholly true or significantly embellished is debatable, Miller added. After all, many of those printing the pamphlets were hostile to Vlad III. But some of the pamphlets from this time tell almost the exact same gruesome stories about Vlad, leading Miller to believe that the tales are at least partially historically accurate. Some of these legends were also collected and published in a book, «The Tale of Dracula,» in 1490, by a monk who presented Vlad III as a fierce, but just ruler.

Vlad is credited with impaling dozens of Saxon merchants in Kronstadt (present-day Braşov, Romania), who were once allied with the boyars, in 1456, according to Kristen Wright («Disgust and Desire: The Paradox of the Monster,» Brill Rodopi, 2018). Around the same time, a group of Ottoman envoys allegedly had an audience with Vlad but declined to remove their turbans, citing a religious custom.

Commending them on their religious devotion, Vlad ensured that their turbans would forever remain on their heads by reportedly having the head coverings nailed to their skulls, according to McNally and Florescu.

«After Mehmet II — the one who conquered Constantinople — invaded Wallachia in 1462, he actually was able to go all the way to Wallachia’s capital city of Târgoviște but found it deserted. And in front of the capital he found the bodies of the Ottoman prisoners of war that Vlad had taken — all impaled,» Curta said.

Vlad’s victories over the invading Ottomans were celebrated throughout Wallachia, Transylvania and the rest of Europe — even Pope Pius II was impressed.

«The reason he’s a positive character in Romania is because he is reputed to have been a just, though a very harsh, ruler,» Curta said.

How did Vlad the Impaler die?

Not long after the impalement of Ottoman prisoners of war, in August 1462, Vlad was forced into exile in Hungary, unable to defeat his much more powerful adversary, Mehmet II. Vlad was imprisoned for a number of years during his exile, though during that same time he married and had two children.

Vlad’s younger brother, Radu, who had sided with the Ottomans during the ongoing military campaigns, took over governance of Wallachia after his brother’s imprisonment. But after Radu’s death in 1475, local boyars, as well as the rulers of several nearby principalities, favored Vlad’s return to power, accord ing to John M Shea («Vlad the Impaler: Bloodthirsty Medieval Prince,» (Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2015).

In 1476, with the support of the voivode of Moldavia, Stephen III the Great (1457-1504), Vlad made one last effort to reclaim his seat as ruler of Wallachia. He successfully stole back the throne, but his triumph was short-lived. Later that year, while marching to yet another battle with the Ottomans, Vlad and a small vanguard of soldiers were ambushed, and Vlad was killed.

There is much controversy over the location of Vlad III’s tomb, according to Constantin Rezachevici in a study published in 2002 in the Journal of Dracula Studies. It is said he was buried in the monastery church in Snagov, on the northern edge of the modern city of Bucharest, in accordance with the traditions of his time. But recently, historians have questioned whether Vlad might actually be buried at the Monastery of Comana, between Bucharest and the Danube, which is close to the presumed location of the battle in which Vlad was killed, according to Curta.

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One thing is for certain, however: unlike Stoker’s Count Dracula, Vlad III most definitely did die. Only the harrowing tales of his years as ruler of Wallachia remain to haunt the modern world.

Additional reporting by Jessie Szalay and Callum McKelvie Live Science Contributors.

Наше время, Румыния, город Брашов

Лайю разбудит смотритель, который скажет, что наступил вечер. Спросите у смотрителяо картинах:

  • Откуда они у вас (5 алмазов)? Смотритель скажет, что музею их пожертвовал незнакомый молодой человек. Он передал их из своей частной коллекций. Здание музея должно было отобрать государство, но благодаря этим картинам он продолжит работать. Анонимный благотворитель назвал две галереи, которые могут пожертвовать хорошие деньги на покупку этих картин. Их владельцы —Винсент и Блум. Он также говорит, что автор картин, должно быть, был довольно смелым человеком, поскольку в те времена рисовать людей при Османском дворе было запрещено.
  • Кто их автор?
  • Почему они продаются?

Вы узнаете, что эти картины передал таинственный незнакомец. Затем смотритель с вами попрощается, намекнув, что картины могут творить настоящие чудеса. Затем вы вернетесь к отелю. Появятся Лео и Милли, а девочка скажет, что в лесу ее пытался убить вампир.

7 важных деталей романа «Дракула», о которых часто забывают, а в них вся соль

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Такой роман называют «эпистолярным»

Помните, героини Пушкина, как всегда поясняли учительницы литературы, читали эпистолярные романы? Они были популярной формой в восемнадцатом и девятнадцатом векам, потому что облегчали автору решение вопроса о композиции книги. Эпистолярный – значит, в письмах или других видах записок. Не все помнят, но действие в «Дракуле» описывается в основном в письмах участников и выдержках из дневника.

Это, кстати, делает его неудобным для современных читателей, поскольку письма не предполагают передачи динамики действия. Роман нашему современнику кажется слишком уж «спокойным». А вот в девятнадцатом веке люди переписывались часто, эпистолярная форма романа для них выглядела как для нас имитация записи с любительской камеры, придавая ощущение достоверности, а ритм повествования был привычным.

Вайнона Райдер в фильме *Дракула Брэма Стокера*.

Смерть Дракулы выглядит как благодеяние

Перед тем, как тело его рассыпалось в прах, лицо вампира наконец-то стало спокойным. По английским и не только поверьям, мертвецы, в виде призраков задержавшиеся на земле, не только приносят мучения другим, но и сами терпят муки. Если вампир – это тоже задержавшийся на земле мертвец, почему бы ему тоже не радоваться освобождения от того, что он застрял в мире живых, когда давно должен быть за гранью? В общем, убийство Дракулы выглядит как спасение не только человечества, но и его самого. Возможно также, Стокер, именно так описывая его смерть, просто не хотел, чтобы из-за трагического финала убийце начали сочувствовать, как порой бывало с другими романами.

Нарушение сословных рамок

То, что на самом деле в замке Дракулы и за кучера, и за кухарку, и за горничную втайне работал он сам, для человека нашего времени – просто факт, подчёркивающий, что в этом замке нет людей. Например, потому что их убивают или потому что у замка – зловещая репутация. Но для читателя девятнадцатого века сцены, в которых Харкер понимает, что граф обслуживает своего гостя собственными руками, имеют дополнительный смысл. В то время джентльмен, особенно с титулом, до такого опуститься не мог.

В крайнем случае он нанял бы самую дурную и нерасторопную служанку, например, очень пожилую и с проблемами здоровья, готовую работать за еду, но не опустился бы до того, чтобы накрывать ужин каждый вечер и выносить каждое утро ночную вазу из-под кровати гостя (эта деталь в романе опущена, но каждый, знакомый с реалиями времени, понимает, что она с большой вероятностью составляла часть жизни Харкера в замке). Граф, который поступает по сюжету таким образом, явным образом ломает «естественные границы» сословного общества, а значит, вообще их не признаёт. Тревожный звоночек!

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Дракула порочен, но не слишком привлекателен как мужчина

Конечно, найдётся и женщина, которую соблазнит волосатая ладонь – именно такой она описывается у графа, что уже в наше время порождает непристойные шутки. Но от Дракулы, что постоянно подчёркивает автор, пахнёт землёй, погребом… Это неприятный, одновременно сырой и затхлый, тяжёлый замок. Он способен рассеять любое очарование от внешности и манер.

Но сцена, в которой молодая жена Харкера Мина пьёт кровь из надреза на волосатой (это опять подчёркивается) груди вампира, определённо непристойна и непорочна. Дело не только в прикосновении губ к чужой коже. Мужские волосы на груди и шее в девятнадцатом веке считались настолько непристойными и напоминающими о постельных утехах, что мужчины не смели прилюдно появиться с голой, незакрытой тугим воротником или обширным платком шеей: вдруг проглянет волосок? И даже если не проглянет – все уже привыкли, что грудь и шея мужчины непристойны.

Вайнона Райдер и Гэри Олдмэн в фильме *Дракула Брэма Стокера*.

Дракула не так уж всемогущ

Например, граф мало свободен в перемещениях. Днём он должен спать на трансильванской земле. Ему приходится брать её на борт корабля, идущего в Британию, и возвращаться к ящикам с землёй перед каждый рассветом. Кроме того, его план чуть не сорвался, потому что экипажа корабля едва хватило ему на прокорм в пути: к берегу судно подошло без единой живой души на борту. Он также не может войти в дом своей жертвы. Ему для этого нужно приглашение. Такие ограничения очень важны: зло не может быть всемогущим, чтобы не быть подобно Богу. Многие современные триллеры в девятнадцатом веке поэтому непредставимы.

Зато в романе Дракула умеет превращаться в туман и волка, а не только летучую мышь. Вообще в восточноевропейском фольклоре, которым вдохновлялся Стокер, общаясь со знакомым венгром-историком, вампиры и оборотни действительно слабо разделимы, это часто один и тот же персонаж.

Мина чудом не стала вампиром вслед за Люси

Фактически, чтобы пройти превращение до конца, героине осталось только умереть. Когда к её лбу прижали освящённую облатку, на коже остался ожог. Но смерть Дракулы смогла её спасти – Мина осталась человеком. А всё потому, что выпитая ею кровь его сердца связала их мистическим образом, в том числе телепатией. Во время сеансов гипноза Мина рассказывала, где теперь находится Дракула, что вокруг него происходит, и это позволило охотникам, не теряя времени, следовать за вампиром.

Сэйди Фрост и Вайнона Райдер в фильме *Дракула Брэма Стокера*.

Роман переполнен сверхмодными и сверхсовременными фишками

То, что для нас – милая картина старины, для современников выглядело как триллер с самыми актуальными гаджетами и техниками. Так, в большой моде был гипноз, на него возлагали большие надежды в плане лечения больных и исправления преступников в будущем – и в романе к нему прибегают. Жертву Дракулы лечат переливанием крови – то была передовая медицинская технология, которая ещё даже не получила широкого распространения.

Что касается гаджетов, то герои пользуются печатной машинкой – и невеста Харкера владеет ей в совершенстве, а также фонографом, аппаратом, записывающим звук. То и другое можно было найти не в каждой семье среднего достатка. Помимо этого, Харкер и Мина также владеют стенографией, которая позволяет им обмениваться практически зашифрованными сообщениями. Кстати, навыки Мины показывают её как особу современную, прогрессивную и, похоже, эмансипированную. Для девятнадцатого века она была девушкой будущего, проникшего в настоящее – как если бы в современном романе о России мы видели девушку-хакера с кучей гаджетов в каждом кармане. В общем, герои романа о Дракуле чертовски круты и современны. для своего времени.

Вампиры и особенно образ Дракулы прочно впечатались в мировую культуру: Для чего художница Аями Кодзима создала «эстетику вампиров», и что из этого вышло .

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