‘Interview with the Vampire’: the gothic universe of Anne Rice returns

Almost three decades after the Neil Jordan film, ‘Interview with the Vampire’the popular gothic ‘best-seller’ of Anne Rice, returns to our screens in the form of a soap opera, starting tomorrow, Thursday, the 12th, through the AMC+ service. Arriving at a second adaptation has not been an easy task: before there was (or rather, there was not) a movie of Josh Boone (‘Under the same star’) announced in 2014 and a series developed four years later with Bryan Fuller (‘Hannibal’) in front for a short time.

In the spring of 2020, the AMC company announced its acquisition of the rights to not only ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and the rest of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’, but also a second series of books by Rice, ‘The Mayfair Witches’, with intention to raise a television franchise: the nickname Immortal Universe. The veteran screenwriter and producer Rolin Jones (‘Weeds’, ‘Friday night lights’) was leaving a meeting with AMC about another matter when Rice’s name came up. “They mentioned to me in passing that they had acquired those rights,” Jones explains by video call. “They hadn’t brought it up because they didn’t think it would interest me. But I was intrigued by that world and, especially after going through the first few books, I saw its full potential. Nor is there that much of a difference between making a series about American football like ‘Friday night lights’ or one about vampires. It’s all about creating a world. Okay these guys suck blood and sometimes one flies [ríe]but you also have to think about their desires, their needs, how to do interesting things that you have already seen in thousands of series. Although it’s pretty unusual to do something about an old man talking to…someone even older.”

Reunion half a century later

In the series, investigative journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian; Christian Slater in the film) agrees to the invitation of the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson in the role previously incarnated by Brad Pitt) to repeat the interview that he did almost half a century before. As he says, he now wants to tell “the whole story.” Daniel has aged and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Although “older still”, Louis remains as radiant as ever.

Louis’s character, his immortal anguish, are familiar, but we’re talking almost a new creation: no longer the white master of a plantation in the antebellum South (“I’m not interested in that character and nobody wants to see it,” says Jones), but a Creole black whose wealth comes from a chain of brothels in Storyville, the former red-light district of New Orleans. After meeting the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (sam reid; Tom Cruise in the movie), gives free rein to the homosexual desire that was repressed. Bailey Bass, that is, Triseya from ‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’, enters the scene to complete a known complicated triangle.

Dinner with Anne Rice

If in the book, gay was read “only between the lines”, as Jones recalls, and in the film it was less than subtext, here that loving and sexual drive is the core of everything. The relationship between Louis and Lestat is not as toxic as in the book because “it’s difficult to do a series from the perspective of a planted lover without the viewer disconnecting,” says the ‘showrunner’. “Nobody wants to see someone laugh in the protagonist’s face for a year”.

Jones did not get to know Rice, who died in December 2021, at the beginning of the filming of the series, but he thinks he knows how a virtual dinner with her would have gone: “We would have been together for about four hours. Surely, for three hours, fifty minutes he would have detailed how he had screwed me with his work. The other ten minutes he would have said, ‘That’s good, this one too.’ And it would have been a lovely dinner.”

Crossover Options

Whether out of confidence in the series or as a marketing strategy, AMC renewed ‘Interview with the Vampire’ for a second season before even releasing the first. And ‘The Witches of Mayfair’ has just premiered in the United States (it will arrive in Spain on February 23), with Alexandra Daddario (‘True Detective,’ ‘The White Lotus’) as a neurosurgeon who discovers she is the descendant of a unique family. When I ask him about the possible interbreeding of both series, Jones invites to be patient: “It is assumed that at some point Rowan [Daddario] should be in a romantic relationship with Lestat. But… who knows if we will come to that! I think we should hit four or five seasons, minimum, before we merge with the witches.“.

‘Interview with the Vampire’: the gothic universe of Anne Rice returns