Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles Go To Universal
Twenty years ago this November, Interview With The Vampire was released in theaters to crowds who would become thirsty for more of the adventures of the brat prince himself, Lestat. Unfortunately for those newly turned fans, a heaping dose of sunlight was what they got in the widely panned (but actually kinda good in a cheesy way) "sequel," Queen Of The Damned. With the latter film being so bad, it didn't look like Anne Rice would ever let anyone else touch her beloved vampiric hellion. Now, in an era where vampires need all the help they can get, an old friend is coming back from the dead once more.
The Wrap reports that Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci will be the producing triumvirate behind Universal's efforts to reboot the theatrical adaptations based on the classic series of novels known as The Vampire Chronicles. Should they be successful, the producers will have the option to pick from any of the books in the series, as the rights to all installments (including the as of yet unreleased Prince Lestat) will be in their hands. Also of note is the fact that the screenplay Christopher Rice penned adapting his mother's book, Tale Of The Body Thief, is included in the deal; as it was previously optioned by Grazer on behalf of Imagine Entertainment.
This is a particularly interesting move, as Universal is not only reviving its classic canon of monsters with Kurtzman at the head, but are also pushing Dracula Untold, their first feature film with their newly minted partner Legendary Pictures. If this were a couple of years ago, back when Twilight was still hot, I'd have said these were the actions of a studio cashing in while they could. However, with the vampire market now being fully retreated into niche status, it's starting to look like the studio isn't very optimistic about the chance for either of those projects being a resounding success. Either that, or the studio is trying to create their own vampiric version of Avengers. The funny about that is as recently as 2010, Anne Rice suggested that she would like to see Robert Downey Jr. playing the role of Lestat.
When a major studio screws with your work, releasing an inferior project on the market to be scrutinized and ridiculed, it's hard for an author to ever think they could trust someone with their work again. It's nice to see that, at least for now, Anne Rice has found enough trust energy in her body to let Universal take a stab at bringing back an upstanding example of what a vampire should be. If the reboot to Interview With The Vampire is even half as exciting and darkly comic as the Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt original was, the author will have been fully vindicated for trusting Universal Studios with her beloved creation.
And for those of you keeping score, the previous film version of Interview With The Vampire will be 20 years old on November 11th.
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