Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire Premiere Review – First 2 Episodes

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire will premiere on AMC on October 2, 2022.

Separate from Bram Stoker’s DraculaAnne Rice’s 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire is perhaps the most influential source of inspiration for the modern vampire canon. AMC’s Two Episode Premiere Anne Rice’s interview with the vampire makes an excellent case for its enduring relevance by serving as both a retelling of and a sequel to Rice’s literary debut, demonstrating a deep understanding of the source material, even as it rewrites the story to deepen the central conflicts.

The show imagines that the young journalist referred to only as “the boy” in the book never published the interview he had in 1973 with the weary vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson). Now an isolated old man, Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) gets a second chance to tell the story of how a New Orleans native met the seductive French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and became a creature of the night.

Not only have times changed, but so has the story itself. Some lines are straight from the book, but the show takes great liberties with the plot. The timeline is pushed forward and Louis has changed from a white plantation owner to the Creole owner of a brothel in the red light district of Storyville in New Orleans. The queer subtext has also evolved into a fully developed homesexual relationship between Louis and Lestat.

Those rewrites provide rich ground for further developing the setting and characters. Series creator Rolin Jones previously worked on Boardwalk Empire and his version of Louis has a lot in common with Michael K. Williams’ Albert White. Both are black men who managed to earn wealth and status in a segregated city by becoming vice-suppliers to powerful white men. While they have brought prosperity and respect to their families, they also struggle with the limits of what they can achieve.

Lestat feeds on that turmoil, with Episode 1 largely focusing on the exciting courtship of the protagonists. Repressed in every way, Louis hides his sexuality and is constantly forced to contain his anger and disappointment at the way he is belittled by the men he works so hard to impress. Lestat shows off his money and vampire skills to show Louis how little power they really have. The show takes on a light touch with special effects by making those powers horribly subtle. During a poker game, Lestat appears to be having a polite conversation, but he slows down the time so that he can have a private conversation with Louis at the same time and manipulate the cards to give him a winning hand.

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Lestat offers Louis a look behind the curtain into another way of living – or unliving – that seduces him in every way. The show draws on the eroticism of vampire stories with explicit sex scenes while exploring the inherent power imbalances between the two that stem from Lestat’s age and abilities, as well as the privileges he enjoys just from being a white male. Lestat tries to cheer up the perpetually brooding Louis with opera tickets, even if they’re more of a gift to himself. It’s not because Louis doesn’t like the music, but because he’s furious that he has to pretend to be Lestat’s servant to get into the secluded theater.

It’s a testament to the show’s actors that their performances don’t feel like a downgrade in any way.

Yet the love between them feels genuine, a dynamic developed by spiced up the drama and horror of the show with humor. In a beautiful setting, their coffins are displayed side by side after an argument, Lestat’s disembodied voice asks Louis to talk to him as he doesn’t like to go to bed angry.

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These characters were played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the 1994 film interview with the vampire, and it’s a testament to the show’s actors that their performances don’t feel like a downgrade in any way. Reid nails Lestat’s swagger while also seeming to channel a bit of Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal while enjoying luxury and showing contempt for everyone around him except the man who sparked his obsessive interest. Anderson earned more screen time while Gray Worm was on Game of Thrones and his soulful and passionate performance in Interview with a Vampire shows how wasted his talents were. A monologue in which Louis confesses the lies he tells himself and his fears about Lestat could easily come across as an exaggerated cliché, but Anderson’s delivery is exciting.

Borgosian is the show’s third star, stepping into the role previously played by Christian Slater. This version of Interview with the Vampire does considerably more with the window story, with Daniel constantly pushing back against Lois’ accounts. When Lois talks about the indescribable joy of experiencing a vampire’s enhanced senses, Daniel dismisses it as some kind of high. When Lois describes the horrifying temptation to feed on a newborn, Daniel urges him to give chase and tell him whether or not he ate the baby. Borgosian’s dry episode adds humor to the scenes while also putting a clever twist on the audience stand-in while asking questions with analytical detachment.

Daniel seems to know Louis almost as well as Lestat, provoking him with his stubborn refusal to be shocked or impressed, even as the vampire works hard to do both. While the show is open to newcomers, it’s worth reading the book or watching the movie first to see how much the writers have changed the characters by letting Louis enjoy the vampiric nature he once loathed. His swanky home in a skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates is almost as opulent as the serialized New Orleans, staffed by so many servants that it hints at a disturbingly large infrastructure the vampire has built to meet his needs. An elaborate dinner scene where Louis enjoys several courses of blood while Daniel watches has the same mix of decadence and brutality as one of Hannibal’s dinner parties.