It’s been practically half a century since “Interview with the Vampire” was revealed, leaving its mark on popular culture. Penned by the late Anne Rice, the e-book grew to become the primary of the “Vampire Chronicles,” which embrace 12 follow-up novels. “Interview” itself was tailored right into a 1994 characteristic movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, whereas a free “Queen of the Damned” adaptation hit theaters in 2002.
Now TV audiences can revisit “Interview with the Vampire” in a new series on AMC Sunday evening. Beloved characters like Louis, Lestat and Claudia are again – albeit with some updates to their tales.
“We’ve these books which have actually been performed in everyone’s head one million instances, after which there’s this film that has grafted that onto one other era of individuals,” mentioned govt producer and author Rolin Jones, who acknowledged feeling a “push and pull of methods to be reverential and methods to just remember to’re not going to be boring for the folks that already know these tales fairly effectively.”
Jones and manufacturing designer Mara LePere-Schloop spoke with CNN about reimagining “Interview with the Vampire” for tv and maintaining the difference supernatural, sensual and luxurious, in keeping with the supply materials.
Bringing “Interview with the Vampire” to TV concerned constructing a “universe,” mentioned Jones, who saved the opposite “Vampire Chronicles” in thoughts whereas planning the whole lot from character particulars to the larger image. (Lestat, performed by Sam Reid, noticed some “rewriting” within the later books, as Jones noticed – beginning with a extra fleshed out backstory within the second novel, 1985’s “The Vampire Lestat.”)
The titular interview takes place within the current day; the 1994 movie, its screenplay written by Rice, additionally positioned the interview in then-modern instances. Just like the novel, the brand new “Interview with the Vampire” is centered on Louis, who shares how he grew to become a vampire with Daniel Molloy, a personality first launched to readers as an unnamed younger reporter.
This Daniel, portrayed by Eric Bogosian, is an older seasoned journalist, however he’s primarily “the identical man,” Jones mentioned. The present alludes to an earlier interview between Daniel and Louis from the ’70s – a callback to the novel.
Louis, performed by Jacob Anderson, has some new origins. In earlier iterations, he was the proprietor of a plantation close to New Orleans within the late 1700s, which is when he met Lestat. The brand new Louis, nonetheless vulnerable to intervals of melancholy, guilt and self-loathing, is a Black brothel proprietor in early twentieth century New Orleans when his story begins.
The adjustments made have been partially the results of desirous to deal with a “time interval that was as thrilling aesthetically because the 18th century was with out digging right into a plantation story that no person actually needed to listen to now,” mentioned Jones. He famous that the character’s lineage can nonetheless be traced again to “plantation cash” and that his authentic occupation didn’t notably come up as some extent of “self-reflection” within the novels.
One other vital character replace entails Claudia – simply 5 years outdated when she was made right into a vampire within the novel, although she was portrayed by an 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst within the movie. AMC’s adaptation ages Claudia additional by making her 14 on the time of her transformation. This doesn’t make her any extra ready for the interior turmoil that units in.
As actor Bailey Bass said in a featurette shared on the present’s Twitter account, this Claudia has to “cope with the feelings of a 19-year-old, then a 30-year-old, then 40-year-old, whereas nonetheless being caught on this 14-year-old younger physique.”
The choice to age Claudia was made partially on account of issues about filming sure scenes, particularly these with extra “grownup” connotations. Youngster labor legal guidelines have been one other issue.
“If I needed to make Claudia on this present, I would like as many hours of taking pictures with the actor who performs that as doable,” Jones mentioned. “And if I put anyone that was youthful than 18 in there, I’d have restricted hours.”
For LePere-Schloop, who learn Rice’s novels as a teen and credit them considerably with drawing her to New Orleans, her house of 20 years, the adjustments within the TV sequence usually are not antithetical to the creator’s work. After Rice died, her property have been donated to an archive at Tulane College in New Orleans, mentioned LePere-Schloop, who met with the archivist whereas the sequence was filming.
“Among the issues she was discovering was that Anne was writing brief tales and different interpretations of the ‘Chronicles’ the place Louis was a lady, or there are different fluidity issues taking place,” she mentioned. “Even inside Anne’s personal writing, there’s a historical past of form of taking part in with time, place and individual.”
The sequence was filmed in New Orleans, once Rice’s longtime home and an integral a part of “Interview with the Vampire.” Immersing the viewer within the up to date setting required a very good quantity of analysis.
“We’re now speaking a few interval of New Orleans that has been talked about rather a lot, however isn’t very effectively documented in photographs or hasn’t been captured in movie and tv, and that’s the interval of Storyville (the red-light district),” LePere-Schloop mentioned. “Culturally, it’s had such an affect on town.”
As a New Orleans resident, she knew that “when a spot is completed incorrect, you hear it on the town.” So she relied on varied sources, together with the experience of native historian Richard Campanella.
“He labored with us to seize issues that he knew from oral histories and anecdotal tales that he had documented by way of time of components of Storyville,” LePere-Schloop mentioned.
The manufacturing integrated New Orleans’ very actual historical past, in addition to key places throughout the metropolis, along with constructing new units – just like the one for Storyville – to convey viewers into this model of Louis’ and Lestat’s world.
“Anne used town as analysis and reference,” LePere-Schloop mentioned. “We have been fortunate sufficient to have the ability to movie on the precise home that Anne wrote Lestat’s townhouse to be within the novels. Her inspiration for that home is a residing museum and we obtained to make use of that as the outside home.”
Creating the within of the home, albeit on a stage, was additionally nice enjoyable, she mentioned, noting that the unique supply of inspiration has “actually unimaginable design particulars” like a skylight (which was labored into the script) and crown molding.
Completely different design aesthetics have been used to indicate the passage of time whereas the vampires stay unchanged. The units additionally served as a mirrored image of the characters, from the artwork Lestat brings over to New Orleans from Europe to the depressed state the vampires’ house falls into when issues go awry.
“It’s an emotional panorama as a lot as a bodily one,” Jones mentioned.
LePere-Schloop needed to keep away from depicting a cliché New Orleans onscreen – and equally, she needed to keep away from vampire clichés, opting in opposition to portray the whole lot “bordello pink” or placing Gothic arches in every single place. However for all of the historic particulars adopted by the behind-the-scenes workforce, there are touches (together with added saturation through the last coloring course of, Jones mentioned) that really feel much less pure.
Whereas pondering up the palette for the present, LePere-Schloop turned to a e-book from her childhood – “The Rainbow Goblins” – which contained “lovely, oversaturated” illustrations and helped her land on a extra dynamic backdrop. The world Louis and Lestat occupy is “sexier” and “vivacious,” she mentioned, in comparison with early depictions of vampires in movie, which tended to be understated and “crumbling.”
Even with some adjustments to the unique storylines, the “Interview with the Vampire” workforce didn’t ignore the supply materials – rereading and “seeing what was within the crevices and the cracks” helped them make the present, Jones mentioned.
There are delicate references to characters from later novels and even a fast shoutout to Rice’s Mayfair witches (additionally the topic of an upcoming AMC series). Characters that didn’t seem within the movie do seem right here. And – maybe crucial element for the diehard followers – Lestat and Louis are lovers, in a transfer that takes the famed subtext of Rice’s earlier vampire novels and easily turns it into textual content.
What “Interview with the Vampire” hinted at within the ’70s was progressive for its time, Jones mentioned, including that by the “later books, it’s as if there was this nice romance that was by no means actually written, however all of us form of agree it occurred.”
Whereas Jones didn’t sugarcoat a number of the extra poisonous “dish-throwing” points of the vampires’ relationship, he noticed large alternative in how he may depict it in an up to date adaptation.
Between Rice’s writings and the 1994 movie, which has its fans and critics alike, Jones acknowledged that the sequence’ predominant solid “had massive ghosts behind them.” However he praised Anderson – who he identified is in practically each scene – and Reid for his or her stamina, in addition to the vary of their performances.
So far as the viewers are involved?
“I’d like them to be stunned. For individuals who realize it rather well and adore it, I would like them to keep it up for seven (episodes) and in the event that they’re nonetheless offended, that’s cool,” Jones mentioned. “However hopefully, I made one thing thrilling and thrilling for them.”