I first knew about Interview with a Vampire thanks to Neil Jordan’s 1994 movie of the same name, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. I loved the movie and set me on my course of consuming anything Vampire related. Including the 2002 Queen of the Damned movie, which I later found out was actually set in the same universe as Interview. Both stories were written by the late Anne Rice and then adapted into movies, separately. I’ve since read both books and the other books written by Rice, that all take part in an expanded universe.
Fast forward, or technically, rewind, to 2020 and AMC Networks announced they had purchased rights to intellectual property encompassing 18 of Rice’s novels, primarily The Vampire Chronicles, and the possibility to develop feature films and television series from the deal. Sighting the release of a television series adaption for Interview of a Vampire for 2022. And hark, it came to pass!
Released exclusively on AMC (an American subscription service) in October 2022, the series comprises of seven, roughly 60 minute episodes. And I will spoil the rest of the review now, I loved every last minute of it!
So, now comes the inevitable exposition part, explaining the story. The TV series actually departs slightly from the movie and book it’s adapted from, as such as the Vampire from the title is actually giving his second interview with same interviewer, as the original interview took place in the 70’s and ended with the interviewer being attacked by the vampire. Fast forward (theirs lot of back forth in the episodes, between past recollection and modern time interviewing) and the vampire (Louis de Pointe du Lac) wants to continue his tale telling to a rather sceptic, and rather weary newspaper journalist, in a swanky penthouse in modern Dubai.
This change at first took me back as I thought this may lead to a different tale being told from the one I knew, this both disappointed and intrigued me. However, as the interview starts it’s clear the first time around Louis wasn’t actually telling the whole story, so begins the story anew from the beginning, as his time as a mere mortal. This part of the story is rather sparse in the movie, but much more detailed in the books, and this is where the series draws its details from, establishing Louis character with much more depth.
The series does make another more dramatic change to Louis character, as Louis is portrayed by Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm, Game of Thrones) an English actor of Afro-Carribean decent. This is instead of the white, plantation owner portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie and book. This departure is a stroke of genius, as it adds additional layers to Louis’s character, through the struggles of racism and segregation he faces in 1910 New Orleans. It allows goes into more details about his relationship with his family and the struggles they face owning legitimate businesses in a largely racist American state.
Louis relationship with his brother in particular leads to some seriously heart wrenching moments as his brother suffers from ‘visions’ and voices in his head, that he explains are messages from ‘god’. The two brothers interactions are some of the most ‘real’ moments in the series as the acting is superb.
The story continues through the episodes, flitting between 1900’s New Orleans and present day Dubai as Louis continues his recollection to the journalist. It’s through the interview and flashbacks it becomes apparent that Louis is a closeted homosexual, a theme alluded to in the movie, but due to the time the film released, it was a theme that was never really explored, until now. This inner conflict of Louis struggling to be himself and hiding who he truly is. That is until, the arrival of Lestat de Lioncourt, portrayed by Australian actor Sam Reid (Hatfields & McCoys) the vampire that arrives in New Orleans and becomes Louis lover and maker.
And I can say, unequivocally, Sam Reid’s portrayal of Lestat is a tour de force. Lestat is a complicated character, who’s own backstory is rather vague in the series as he only ever gives little glimpse into his past through off hand comments. But due to Lestat’s inherent nature, it’s hard to tell if these glimpses are true or just his narcissism. But the way Sam presents the character, his physical presence in a room and his ability to portray so much emotion without even saying things at times. He, for me, is the highlight for the series.
Originally I was apprehensive on the way the homosexual relationship between Lestat and Louis would be portrayed in the series. I was worried that it was just being done for audience figures and to tick that ‘inclusive’ box. I’m happy to report, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The relationship between Louis and Lestat is actually handled with exceptional care and is in fact, a crucial point in how the story unfolds. The complexities of a gay relationship in the time period mirrors Louis conflictions of now being a vampire.
It’s actually quite hard to write a review without giving spoilers on how the story unfolds, so I will leave this article here, finishing with that since announcing and releasing season one, AMC has gone on to announce the Immortal Universe, a televisual universe starting withThe Vampire Chronicles series and Lives of the Mayfair Witches series, encompassing a total of 18 titles; Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen Of The Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, The Vampire Armand, Pandora, Vittorio the Vampire, Blood and Gold, Prince Lestat, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat, The Witching Hour, Lasher, Taltos, Merrick, Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle. If these become reality, it’s shaping up to be a very exciting prospect.
Written by Lance.