Interview with the Vampire: In Throes of Increasing Wonder...   Books Included 
September 30, 2022 7:38 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Anne Rice’s romantic, tormented bloodsuckers return to the screen as a TV series.

Airing a quarter-century after the film debuted, the series experienced a torturous and extended development process: Rice regained visual rights in 2016 after Universal failed to greenlight a fresh project; two years later, Bryan Fuller was working on an adaptation for Hulu before dropping out. In 2020, AMC acquired the rights from Rice for both the Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches, merging them into an “Immortal Universe”, of which the current series (already renewed for a second season) is the first production.

Noteworthy changes from the novel include:
  • The series takes the unusual narrative approach of referencing the original events of the film and book as having already happened: 45 years after their initial interview, Daniel Molloy is an older, cynical reporter largely coasting on past glories and dealing with illness, while the vampire Louis is, of course, unchanged. Their first meeting is heard and referenced, but never shown; Louis suggests that he was an unreliable narrator, and Daniel admits that he was not up to the interview at the time, providing an opportunity for the tale to start over.
  • The most obvious (and welcome) change is race-switching Louis and (yet to appear, but shown in trailers) Claudia for Black actors, which makes much more sense for New Orleans.
  • Simultaneously, Louis’ origin story is advanced into Storyville in the years just before WWI, avoiding slavery and the plantation era without dismissing racial issues.
  • The homoerotic subtext of the book – never terribly subtle – is brought to the forefront in the television series, with Louis clearly portrayed as a closeted gay man.
(I’ve made this post “Books Included” as it appeared that most Mefites have read at least one of Rice’s books: I’m happy to launch a “Show Only” parallel if needed.)
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just watched this last night and let me tell you: I LOVED IT

I love the references to subsequent novels, to even the Mayfairs, and this update works really well for the source material. (Seriously, two white vampires feeding off plantation slaves is NOT what a new TV adaptation needed AT ALL.) I especially like how they adapted Louis' overly religious brother Paul. It's never clear in the novel if Paul is genuinely hearing the voice of God or saints--Louis dismisses him either way--and here it seems as though Paul might be on the spectrum, or again he could truly see thing others couldn't? I dunno, I can't speak to that as it isn't my place.

It's super gay and hella bloody. Jacob Anderson is fantastic as Louis; Sam Reid is perfectly cast as Lestat, the toxic obsessive boyfriend.

I very much like the framing of the interview itself: it doesn't ignore the original interview, it shows that yes it did end badly and here's your second chance. Of course, Daniel is going to angle for immortality again; Parkinson's is a nasty thing, and I lost a parent to it five years ago. I would try again too.

Tl;dr: 15 year old me is truly happy with this.
posted by Kitteh at 7:24 AM on October 1, 2022 [8 favorites]

Yeah, I greatly enjoyed and was very impressed by this first episode.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:27 PM on October 1, 2022

Better than I expected, honestly. This material is a very very hard needle to thread; underplay it and what's the point, overplay it 5% and it's totally ridiculous. Louis was more persuasive than Lestat, who in addition to being a fop, a dandy, a lightweight, should be just overwhelmingly charming and...wasn't quite. The casting and setting changes made perfect sense, no notes.
posted by praemunire at 8:59 PM on October 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

Also aging up Daniel means you get a much better foil for all the purple rhetoric. "but did you eat the baby."
posted by praemunire at 9:00 PM on October 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

Loved the first episode so much. It's smart and gorgeous and gay af. Reid's Lestat is perfectly head over heels and emotionally fractious. Anderson is channelling Brad Pitt in some ways but making the role his own. He's my Louis now, no competition at all.

(BTW, the second episode dropped today and is likewise amazing!)
posted by fight or flight at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Matt Baume just released a great video about the series and the new show among other things: Interview With the Vampire, Anne Rice, & 150 Years of Gay Vampires.
posted by fight or flight at 3:04 PM on October 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Can someone tell me if they're wearing weird contacts to do pinpoint pupil eyes, or if this is just how the actors' eyes look?
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:33 PM on October 2, 2022

Can't wait to see this (loved the books, the movie) - of course, the cynic in me wonders about the timing... (So far, since the original 2009 article the correlation seems to hold-up)
posted by rozcakj at 5:11 AM on October 3, 2022

Oh. Oh man. This is gonna be so good. That confession scene. And … everything else. I can’t wait for more of this.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:16 PM on October 3, 2022

My inner 13 year old is in hysterics. That was excellent.
posted by merriment at 10:35 PM on October 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

That confession scene.

Louis's actor really sold it. I was actually upset that Lestat killed the priest before Louis could be shriven, and I'm not Catholic!
posted by praemunire at 8:14 AM on October 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

dorothyisunderwood, I just watched the behind the scenes doc and the make-up effects coordinator says they have hand-painted contacts that convey different levels of arousal depending on pupil size.

Just watched the first episode again and I keep coming back to what a brilliant decision it was to make the first interview the one in the book. Aging Daniel up and giving him and Louis that complicated history in the present brings a ton of richness to the frame story. Hearing them play the tape (both sections that we hear) thrilled me.

I'm a fan who cares more about the characters than the canon. The production team have made so many good, smart, choices to start with and it's drawn me in completely.
posted by merriment at 3:12 PM on October 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

Thanks very much for linking that YouTube video, fight or flight: it's excellent.

Adding to merriment's comment: the care and attention to detail shown by TV series' production staff really shows. Louis' and Lestat's eye colors are true to the book, while Claudia (aged up significantly from the character's original age and Kirsten Dunst's 11-year old vampire in the film) has wonderful amber-orange eyes after her transformation.

(BTW, a Fanfare post for the second episode is up.)
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:14 PM on October 4, 2022

The AMC broadcast premieres are Sunday nights at 10pm Eastern. Are the episodes releasing early somewhere else?
posted by oh yeah! at 3:10 AM on October 5, 2022

oh yeah! They released the second episode early on AMC+.
posted by merriment at 8:03 AM on October 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Three things I specifically love in TV shows are vampires, gay shit, and toxic codependency. So this should have been a slam dunk… and I’m sad to say I mostly hated this.

With the exception of all the scenes with Louis’ family, which I thought were very well written and acted, this whole episode was an exercise in setting up and then COMPLETELY SKIPPING almost every emotional beat I was interested in. Seriously, you’re going to use a sentence of voiceover narration to dispense with, just for example:

-And then we started hanging out, and then a few weeks later…
-And then I felt weird about hooking up with him so I avoided him for several more weeks….
-And then I had all these complicated feelings that I repressed…

Why was each of those bullet points not at least three scenes in which we are presented with these things via, you know, acting? This felt like a clumsily edited together clip show of the first five episodes of a TV show, layered over with excerpts from the audiobook of the novel. In the final scene - which structurally I thought was super cool, with the fire and the priest-snacking and the horrified scrambling backwards etc - I was just sitting there like “Lestat loves him? Based on the three scenes in which they’ve interacted? Like, ok?” Why did I spent fully ten minutes listening to the journalist character talk about covid and then get told in voiceover “oh yeah so then I started to fall in love with Lestat and he fell in love with me but you, the viewer, don’t have any interest in actually SEEING that, right?”
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:52 AM on October 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

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