Interview With the Vampire Will Play Fast and Loose With Its Source Material
Just when you thought the vampire craze was on its way out, with Twilight and True Blood and The Vampire Diaries all but a distant memory, the creatures of the night rise again. It’s kind of what the undead do, right?
These fantasy mainstays are set for a comeback in Interview With the Vampire, a new AMC series based on a storied novel—one that’s already had a long life in popular culture. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Interview With the Vampire TV show so far.
What is Interview With the Vampire about?
Interview With the Vampire will be adapted from the novel of the same name by the late Anne Rice, the first in a thirteen-book series called The Vampire Chronicles (AMC has acquired the rights to the entire series). Published in 1976, Interview With the Vampire is widely considered the most significant work of vampire literature since Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The Vampire Chronicles is one of the most popular and profitable vampire properties of all time; the series writ large has sold upwards of 80 million copies worldwide.
Interview with the Vampire
Interview With the Vampire opens with a conversation between reporter Daniel Molloy and Louis de Pointe du Lac, a centuries-old vampire determined to tell his life story. In Louisiana circa 1791, plantation owner Louis is approached by the mysterious and mercurial Lestat de Lioncourt, who turns him into a vampire and becomes his immortal companion. As the decades pass, Louis wearies of immortality and human suffering, growing increasingly at odds with Lestat over their differing views about feeding on human blood. Fearing that Louis will leave him, Lestat turns a human child into a vampire to give Louis a reason to stay. Louis develops a fierce affection for Claudia, their vampire daughter, but the family bond sours when it becomes apparent that Claudia’s body will never mature; she will forever remain an adult woman trapped in a child’s body. Claudia plots to kill Lestat for condemning her to this fate, but Lestat won’t go quietly, leading these three vampires on a high-octane chase across the ocean, where they meet Old World vampires in Europe. The story ends with Molloy begging Louis to turn him into a vampire and grant him eternal life; disgusted, Louis vanishes, while Molloy resolves to track down Lestat, whom he hopes will grant his request.
Has Interview With the Vampire been adapted before?
Yes. You might remember the cult classic film from 1994, starring Brad Pitt as Louis, Tom Cruise as Lestat, and a young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia. That same year, Esquire went behind the scenes of the original production, chronicling a pre-Internet firestorm over the casting of Cruise, stirred up by outraged fans and gleefully stoked by Rice. Read all about it here. Interview With the Vampire has also been adapted as a comic book on three separate occasions.
In 2016, Rice announced on Facebook that she had re-acquired the theatrical rights to her books, and that she would seek to develop them as a television series. Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me and Hannibal) signed on as show-runner in January 2018, but exited soon after. Then, in July 2018, the project found a home at Hulu, but it failed to move forward. In May 2020, AMC announced their acquisition of the rights, with Rice taking home an estimated $30-40 million. AMC appears to be going all in on the Anne Rice Cinematic Universe; in August, the network opened a writers room for Lives of the Mayfair Witches, a separate Rice series about a young neurosurgeon who discovers that she is the unlikely heiress to a family of witches.
Who's attached to Interview With the Vampire?
Director Alan Taylor, an alum of big-budget dramas like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, will direct the show’s first two episodes, while also coming aboard as an executive producer.
“Alan Taylor is a legendary director and someone we have real history with, going back to the first episode of ‘Mad Men,’ an hour of exquisitely crafted television that propelled our company in a new direction to become a force in original programming,” said Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC Networks and AMC Studios. “We are assembling a true dream team of talent on Interview with the Vampire, from Rolin Jones to Mark Johnson and now with the addition of Alan, a director with a body of work that could basically break IMDb, not to mention Anne Rice’s extraordinary stories and characters, which have captivated so many millions of fans from around the world. We are so excited to be where we are on this series, and there is so much more to come.”
Rolin Jones (Weeds, Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) will serve as showrunner, while Mark Johnson (Better Call Saul) will executive produce, along with Rice's son, the novelist Christopher Rice.
Heading up the cast is Game of Thrones alum Jacob Anderson—you remember him as Grey Worm—who will play Louis. Sam Reid, who starred in films like Anonymous and The Railway Man, will play Lestat. This casting will reunite Anderson and Taylor, which is sure to please Game of Thrones fans. Bailey Bass, a young actress set to star in the upcoming Avatar sequels, joins the cast as Claudia. Eric Bogosian will play Daniel Malloy, the reporter to whom Louis tells his life story.
A first look images teases Reid as Lestat, showing only the lower half of the vampire's face behind an ornate wrought-iron gate. In Rice's legendarium, Lestat has memorably vivid blue-grey eyes, so the choice to hide his eyes may be a deliberate tease.
How will AMC's Interview With the Vampire differ from the book?
We know that we've changed what year this is all going down in. But by and large, it's still too early to say how else the work will differ—though the casting details we have so far offer some clues. With actors of color in two of the three lead roles, it's safe to say that this Interview With the Vampire will be a far cry from the lily white 1994 film. The casting may be a sign that AMC intends to reimagine the characters' backstories, particularly as they relate to the history of slavery in New Orleans. With Anderson, an actor of Afro-Caribbean descent, taking on the role of plantation owner Louis, we have to wonder if AMC intends to change Louis' story. Whatever happens, it sounds like the creative team is committed to honoring Rice's work.
Speaking of characterization, in an interview with ComicBook.com, Reid teased that the series will play fast and loose with material from the entire Vampire Chronicles universe. "I love Tom Cruise's performance in the movie, but what we get to do is, when Anne wrote the second book, she sort of broke the character open a little bit and you understand a little bit more, brings in more backstory," Reid said. "I get to bring in all these fantastic elements that she sort of talks about in the books that you don't really get to see in the movie because there's only two hours and because it's more based on that original book and we're looking at the whole universe. So, it's super exciting." If Interview With the Vampire is open to cross-pollinating from other Vampire Chronicles installments, the sky's the limit. Will we see Lestat's time as a rock star and a libertine—and what about that unforgettable moment from late in the series when he feeds on a used tampon? Hopefully, all of the above.
When will Interview With the Vampire come out?
Interview With the Vampire’s seven-episode season is set to debut on October 2, 2022. Watch this space for updates as we continue to learn more.
What Did Interview With the Vampire Reveal at Comic-Con?
After months of bread-crumbing fans with teasers, Interview With the Vampire finally brought us a real, full-length trailer at Comic-Con. "It is an aggressive, beautiful love story," showrunner Rolin Jones said during Saturday's San Diego panel. The trailer sure seems accurate to that statement—much of the footage focuses on Lestat's relentless pursuit of Louis, and the tormented immortal bond that follows.
The trailer reveals one major change to the source material: this adaptation is willing to play fast and loose with time, updating the setting from 1791 to 1910. Though Jones promises that the series is "even more reverential" to the book than the 1994 movie, two major changes are in store: "The two most aggressive differences between the book and this is that Molloy is much better at his job than in the books," Jones said of the journalist who interviews Louis, "and that some primordial version of the 'Brat Prince' has been put back into this." Stylish, vain, and charismatic, Lestat earned the nickname "The Brat Prince" for a good reason. But it's the changes to the timeline that we're most excited about, with Jones revealing that the series will focus not on Molloy's first interview with Louis, but a second interview taking place forty years later. "The script is very clear that it's forty-something years later, and Daniel is no longer the boy who was a novice journalist, just starting out, making tapes of this vampire interview," said Eric Bogosian, who plays Molloy in the series. "Now he's getting a second crack at it. He's been very successful, he's actually on the downside of his career, and this is his last chance to grab the brass ring. It's dangerous, but he wants to go get that story."
Jones also revealed that Season One of Interview With the Vampire won't cover the whole book; he and the producers are hopeful that the story will continue in future seasons. "You guys will tell us whether this will be a franchise or not but I believe that this world, the Anne Rice world, is going to go on for some time on AMC," he said. "We're building a universe."
From: Esquire US