The late Anne Rice’s 1976 Interview with the Vampire is quite rightly a classic of the gothic horror genre. The first instalment in her exceptional The Vampire Chronicles series is one of my favourite reads of all time, and the 1994 film adaptation is also one of my favourite films. So, I have been excited about the TV adaption of Interview with the Vampire for years and eagerly followed all of Rice’s updates on the project. In 2020, AMC acquired and developed the project, and they also have the rights to the remaining novels in The Vampire Chronicles and Rice’s Lives of the Mayfair Witches, so I am braced for a wealth of great things. Both Rice and her son, Christopher, served as executive producers on the project, so although some changes from the novel have been made, they seem to have been done with her knowledge and blessing. The show finally had its UK release this month, and I was so happy to finally watch it.
The eponymous ‘interview’ for this series takes place in Dubai in 2022, with Louis de Pointe du Lac (exceptionally played by Game of Thrones alumnus Jacob Anderson) inviting journalist Daniel Molloy to revisit their earlier interview fifty years on. This series focuses on events from roughly the novel’s first half and is a disappointingly short seven episodes. This time shift explains why certain aspects of Louis’ account from the seventies were left out – namely, in this adaptation of Interview with the Vampire Louis and the hedonistic Lestat de Lioncourt (a mesmerising Sam Reid) are lovers. Lestat’s seduction of Louis and their toxic romantic relationship play a significant part in this version of the story.
There is also a time divergence in terms of setting. AMC’s Louis is a Creole brothel owner whom Lestat turns in the early twentieth century, not the plantation owner turned in the later eighteenth century. I really liked this alteration from the source material. Visually, seeing Louis and Lestat explore the New Orleans of the 1910s was entirely new. Seeing these familiar characters hunting the streets in debonair suits or attending the opera in tuxedos was novel. It also leads to some of the dark comedic moments of the series, like the vampiric trio in hysterical laughter at watching the silent film of Nosferatu in the cinema.
The only change that I personally struggled to get on board with while watching the show was the ageing up of the character of Claudia. In this Interview with the Vampire Claudia (fantastically played by Bailey Bass) was turned by Lestat at fourteen. Bass’ performance is terrific, but the key part of Claudia’s story is that she becomes an adult mentally while being trapped in the body of an immortal child. An eternal teenager faces very different problems from an immortal preteen.
I worked through AMC’s Interview with Vampire over a few days and really enjoyed it. I was literally open-mouthed at the finale and so disappointed to realise I did not have the next episode queued up (having not realised that this series was so darn short!), and I cannot wait to see what this team has done with the adaptation next. I think fans of Rice’s work will like this show, despite some of the departures from her novel, and if you have never come across this world before, but enjoy shows like HBO’s True Blood or NBC’s Hannibal, you would probably also like to sink your teeth in to Interview with the Vampire.
You can watch all of Interview with the Vampire in the UK on BBC iPlayer or purchase it on Amazon Video. The second eight-episode series is currently in production and is predicted to be released in 2024.