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When I was a tween/teen, the vampire books I read were not of the glittery Twilight variety - those were still a ways off from hitting bookshelves. Instead, I read the densely written and meticulously detailed novels of Anne Rice. I devotedly devoured every tale of the forlorn Louis and his manipulative maker, Lestat, and for bonus bookworm/nerd points, I did so while listening to composer Elliot Goldenthal's chilling Oscar-nominated score to the mid-90s adaptation Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles.
This was a high-drama feature I've watched countless times, being drawn in again and again by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt's charged performances as Lestat and Louis and teeny Kirsten Dunst's merciless young murderer. Despite mixed reviews from critics, Interview with the Vampire went on to earn more than $220 million worldwide, yet a sequel took nearly 10 years to come together. Unsurprisingly, none of the first film's leads showed any interest in reprising their roles. To make matters worse, the filmmakers chose to combine Rice's second and third books from the Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned, into one movie. This means nearly 1,000 pages of complicated storytelling was reduced to 101-minute horror-romance, and the result was a box office flop that was loathed by critics as well as fans of the book series. From here, it seemed any chance of seeing the rest of the Vampire Chronicles earn movie adaptations was dead.
However, as is fitting for a tale of the undead, it seems Lestat may rise again as THR reports Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has optioned Rice's fourth novel in the Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body Thief. While this may seem a foolish move to attempt to cash-in on a franchise that never got moving to begin with, I actually think it's a smartly chosen property for Imagine. Namely, because it is an adventure that is not deeply tied into Rice's web-like overarching story structure. The Tale of the Body Thief is almost a one-off.
Here Lestat is a vampire utterly bored of his existence. Thanks to his supernatural abilities he's gone on incredible adventures, but now living in contemporary America, suffers from ennui and dabbles in suicide, but cannot die. (Le sigh!) However, a thrilling new opportunity presents itself when a psychic, who can swap bodies and thereby live forever, offers to alleviate Lestat's boredom by allowing him to actually become someone else—namely someone human--for one day. Inevitably, the body thief runs off with Lestat's super-powered vampire bod, and he must track him down in a wild, globetrotting game of cat and mouse.
It's a winding and weird adventure, but not grander in scale than some of Imagine's past efforts like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Plus, this story has more an element of fun to it than Rice's other more austere books. And this is an aspect that's sure to be developed as Imagine has brought in the team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote and produced such big-budget summer blockbusters as Star Trek and Transformers. Simply put, this could turn out to be pretty damn entertaining!