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How Interview With The Vampire’s Lestat And Louis TV Actors Feel About Comparisons To The 1994 Film With Tom Cruise And Brad Pitt

Lestat in Interview with the Vampire TV show
(Image credit: AMC)

Adapting a long-beloved written work for TV is likely never an easy task for writers and producers, and one can imagine the complications only grow more numerous when such small screen projects have been preceded by well-received feature films. Such is the case with AMC’s episodic spin on Anne Rice’s seminal bloodsucking tale Interview with the Vampire, which was famously brought to the big screen in 1994, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the roles of Lestat and Louis. The Newsreader’s Sam Reid and Game of Thrones vet Jacob Anderson will be filling those roles respectively for television, and they have both addressed their thoughts about taking on such iconic roles, and why AMC’s show won’t just be a rehashing.

Despite various hiccups keeping it from moving forward in years past, Interview with the Vampire is now fully destined to reach audiences upon its debut for streaming (AMC+) and linear TV (AMC) on October 2. And while the cast and crew no doubt are expecting to face tons of comparisons to Neil Jordan’s film, even beyond what they’re already heard, they respectfully pointed out during the series’ Television Critics Association summer tour panel how it will be a more expansive take on the source material than the film ever could have been. After younger co-star Bailey Bass pointed out she wasn’t even born when Kirsten Dunst first earned the role of Claudia, Sam Reid reflected on his own fandom (and age) when explaining arguably the biggest inherent difference between the two projects, saying:

I was alive when the movie came out, and I love it. I love that movie. And I've always loved the work of Anne Rice. So I was very excited to be a part of reigniting it. Even as a fan of the books, I was excited about the fact that it was going to be made at all. But what we do in this adaptation, and this version of Interview with the Vampire, is look at an entire series of books. Because when that film came out, she was still writing them, so they didn't have perspective of the entire work. And now we do have that perspective, so when we're looking at character arcs, we're looking at a much broader scale. So yeah, [comparisons are] valid.

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Though it might not be something potential viewers immediately consider without it being pointed out, the 1994 film was released after only four books within Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series had been published, with another nine novels following 1992’s The Tale of the Body Thief. (As well as the two New Tales of the Vampires books.) As such, star Sam Reid, showrunner Rolin Jones and the rest of the creative team had a far bigger wealth of material from which to dig into as a way of informing who the character of Lestat is within the world of Interview with the Vampire.

Which isn’t to say Reid believes that means his take on Lestat is going to completely dwarf one of Tom Cruise’s most atypical roles. He continued:

And I love what Tom Cruise did as Lestat, and I think he should be loved and remembered for that role. So I'm never playing to touch that. It's a huge honor to take on this extraordinary part created by Anne. But we are doing a different show. We are actually looking at all of our books. so it is a different feeling than what that 1994 film did.

I’m not sure Tom Cruise could even recreate what Tom Cruise did with that role at the time, so godspeed to Sam Reid and his well-rounded approach to the somewhat eternal vampire. For those who most enjoyed the underlying homoeroticism between Cruise and Pitt’s characters, the cast also revealed viewers can expect a more direct take on those vibes with the TV show.

Louis in Interview with the Vampire TV show

(Image credit: AMC)

I can only agree with what Sam and Bailey said. I mean, like, it's a great movie. Brad Pitt's Brad Pitt. Who would wanna try and compete with that? Yeah, I think he's a brilliant Louis. But yeah, like Ron has said as well, this is a third thing. This is another thing, and there are things about Louis in this interpretation that are like contextual, and they're reflective of the time and reflective of lots of things that kind of bring something else to Louis. Not as well as, but just, you know, why compete? How amazing that all of these Anne Rice stories can exist - all these Anne Rice interpretations - and the books can all exist at the same time.

Embrace the ability to choose between versions, rather than arguing over which one is better. Since that argument likely isn’t going to be successful at persuading people to knock it off, let’s roadblock those thoughts with the first trailer for Interview with the Vampire.

Interview with the Vampire will fly into viewers’ homes (only after being invited) on Sunday, October 2, at 10:00 p.m. ET, an hour after The Walking Dead kicks off its final eight-episode run. While waiting for vampires and zombies (and even Rice’s Mayfair Witches) to run amok, head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.