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Interview with the Vampire

The legacy of “Interview with the Vampire” endures forever. View inside its revival on TV

Since “Interview with the Vampire” was released about 50 years ago, it has had a significant influence on culture. The late author Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles,” which consist of 12 additional novels, began with this book. The original “Interview” was turned into a feature film in 1994 starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, and in 2002, a slack “Queen of the Damned” adaptation was released in theatres.


Now that a new series is airing on AMC every Sunday night, TV viewers may relive “Interview with the Vampire.” Favorite characters like Louis, Lestat, and Claudia are back, however their stories have been updated.


Rolin Jones, executive producer and writer, said, “We have these books that have literally been played in everyone’s head a million times, and then there’s this movie that has grafted that onto another generation of people.” Jones acknowledged feeling a “push and pull of how to be reverent and how to make sure that you’re not going to be boring for the people that already know these stories quite well.”


In an interview with CNN, Jones and production designer Mara LePere-Schloop discussed how to adapt “Interview with the Vampire” for television while maintaining the original’s supernatural, sensuous, and opulent elements.


‘Interview with the Vampire’ is being updated for today.
Building a “world” was necessary to adapt “Interview with the Vampire” for television, according to Jones, who planned every aspect of the project—from character development to the overall scheme—while keeping in mind the previous “Vampire Chronicles.” (Lestat, played by Sam Reid, had significant “rewriting” in the following books, as Jones noted, beginning with a more developed backstory in the second book, “The Vampire Lestat,” which was published in 1985.)


The film’s screenplay, written by Rice, similarly set the interview in then-modern times. The titular interview takes place in the present. Like the novel, the new “Interview with the Vampire” is centered on Louis, who shares how he became a vampire with Daniel Molloy, a character first introduced to readers as an unnamed young reporter.


Despite being an older, more seasoned journalist, Eric Bogosian’s Daniel is essentially “the same guy,” according to Jones. A reference to the work is made in the episode when it refers to a previous interview between Daniel and Louis from the 1970s.


AMC/Alfonso Bresciani
Jacob Anderson’s character Louis has some fresh beginnings. He first met Lestat in a past incarnation when he was the proprietor of a plantation close to New Orleans in the late 1700s. The new Louis starts out as the owner of a Black brothel in early 20th-century New Orleans. He is nonetheless prone to depressive episodes and experiences shame and self-loathing.


The desire to concentrate on a “time period that was as interesting visually as the 18th century was without going into a plantation story that nobody really wanted to hear anymore,” according to Jones, was a contributing factor in the adjustments that were made. He observed that the character’s origins may still be traced to “plantation money,” and that the novels did not often mention the character’s first job as a source of “self-reflection.”


Another notable character change concerns Claudia, who in the book was just 5 years old when she was turned into a vampire, but in the movie was played by an 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst. By making Claudia 14 at the time of her transformation, AMC’s adaption dramatically advances the ageing process. She isn’t any more ready for the internal upheaval that ensues as a result of this.


This Claudia must “live with the feelings of a 19-year-old, then a 30-year-old, then a 40-year-old, while still being locked in this 14-year-old young body,” actor Bailey Bass explained in a featurette posted on the show’s Twitter account.


Concerns over filming specific scenes, notably those with more overtly “adult” overtones, led to the decision to age Claudia. Another factor was child labour laws.


Jones stated, “I need as many hours of shooting with the actor that plays that if I wanted to make Claudia on this show. And I would only be able to work a certain number of hours if I admitted anyone under the age of 18.


The alterations in the TV series are not in direct opposition to Rice’s writing, according to LePere-Schloop, who read Rice’s books as a teenager and attributes them in part with inspiring her to settle in New Orleans, where she has lived for 20 years. LePere-Schloop, who met with the archivist while the series was being filmed, claimed that once Rice passed away, her belongings were given to an archive at Tulane University in New Orleans.


She added that some of the things she learned were Anne’s drafting of short stories and different interpretations of the “Chronicles” in which Louis was a woman or other fluidity-related events were occurring. Even in her own writing, Anne has a history of manipulating time, location, and people.


Livening up the vampire tales in New Orleans
The show was shot in New Orleans, which served as both Rice’s lengthy residence and a crucial location for “Interview with the Vampire.” It took a lot of study to fully immerse the spectator in the revised environment.


LePere-Schloop stated, “We’re now talking about a period of New Orleans that has been talked about a lot, but is not particularly well recorded in photos or has not been captured in film or television, and that is the period of Storyville (the red-light district).” The city has been greatly impacted culturally.


She was a native of New Orleans and was aware that “you hear it throughout town when a place is done improperly.” She therefore turned to a variety of sources, including Richard Campanella, a local historian, for his knowledge.


He collaborated with us to record information that he had learned via oral histories and anecdotes that he had collected over time about various aspects of Storyville, according to LePere-Schloop.


In order to immerse viewers in this version of Louis and Lestat’s universe, the producers built new sets, such as the one for Storyville, and used historical details about New Orleans and significant locations within the city.


According to LePere-Schloop, “Anne utilised the city as research and a reference.” “We had the good fortune to film at the actual residence that Anne imagined for Lestat’s townhouse in the novels. We got to utilise the house as the external one because it was inspired by a living museum.


Creating the inside of the house, albeit on a stage, was also great fun, she said, noting that the original source of inspiration has “really incredible design details” like a skylight (which was worked into the script) and crown molding.


To depict the passage of time while the vampires remain unchanging, many design aesthetics were applied. The settings also reflected the people, from the European art that Lestat brings to New Orleans to the dismal state that the vampires’ residence descends into when things go wrong.


It’s both a physical and an emotional landscape, according to Jones.


LePere-Schloop chose not to paint everything “bordello red” or add Gothic arches everywhere in order to avoid portraying a stereotypical New Orleans and vampire onscreen. However, despite all the historically accurate elements used by the production crew, there are other details (such as increased saturation during the final colouring process, according to Jones) that seem less authentic.


LePere-Schloop used “The Rainbow Goblins,” a book from her youth, as inspiration for the show’s colour scheme since it had “wonderful, oversaturated” pictures that led her to choose a more dynamic backdrop. She likened the world Louis and Lestat live in to early vampire cinema representations, which tended to be subdued and “crumbling,” saying that it is “sexier” and “vivacious.”


Keeping with the ‘Vampire Chronicles’ spirit
The “Interview with the Vampire” team reread the original stories and “saw what was in the crevices and the gaps” to assist them create the programme, according to Jones, even though some of the original storylines had to be changed.


There are hints to characters from later books, as well as a brief mention to Rice’s Mayfair witches (also the subject of an upcoming AMC series). There are characters here that weren’t in the movie. Lestat and Louis are lovers, which simply puts the famous subtext of Rice’s earlier vampire novels into text and may be the most significant fact for the ardent followers.


What “Interview with the Vampire” hinted at in the ’70s was progressive for its time, Jones said, adding that by the “later books, it’s as if there was this great romance that was never really written, but we all kind of agree it happened.”


Jones saw a great opportunity in how he could portray the vampires’ relationship in an updated adaptation, even though he did not sugarcoat some of the more poisonous or “dish-throwing” aspects of it.


Jones noted that the series’ principal cast “had tremendous ghosts behind them” due to Rice’s books and the 1994 movie, which has both supporters and detractors. But he commended Anderson and Reid for their endurance and the breadth of their performances. Anderson, he noted, is in almost every scene.


When it comes to the viewers?

“I want to surprise them. I want the people who really understand it and enjoy it to stick with it for seven episodes, and if they’re still upset after that, that’s fine, Jones added. But I hope I created something interesting and engaging for them.

Jennifer Carrasco

Jennifer Carrasco is a Senior Journalist at Flaunt Weekly Covering Business Topics.

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