Interview with the Vampire has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first vampire novels I had ever read as a young person. My love then for vampire folklore was only beginning back then. This story stoked a whole new fire and obsession in my life that would go on for many years.
As an Anne Rice fan, I was excited for this television development of Interview with the Vampire. I knew that she had supervised and approved this adaptation prior to her recent passing. Even knowing this, I still had misgivings when I heard of all the changes being made from the original source.
As a teen, I still remember the day the movie “Interview with the Vampire” (1994) starring Tom Cruise as Lestat and Brad Pitt as Louis premiered. Needless to say, I was an instant fan and still consider the movie one of my favorites. Though, over the course of time, revisiting it reveals its campy nature and shortcomings in film technology at the time.
But enough about the old days, let’s jump straight into Interview with the Vampire (2022), the television series.
Interview Part Two
In the first episode entitled “In Throes of Increasing Wonder”, we are introduced to Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson). Louis is currently living in Dubai and has chosen to be interviewed for a second time by reporter Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). It becomes clear that their first interview, presumably when the reporter was a young man and less experienced. This was not to the satisfaction of Louis. This is only one of the first changes that deviate from the original story. I found this change to be more of a renewal than a deviation. I liked that they referenced an original interview, but clarity that this will be an improvement.
Beyond this, the entire life and era setting for Louis is different. Originally, Louis was a plantation owner suffering from hardships and depression in regards to his family in the late 1700’s. The Louis of this adaptation is now a prominent pimp, running his own whorehouse in New Orleans in 1910, and is African American. His family struggles remain regarding his brother Paul (Steven G. Norfleet) and his strong religious beliefs. I enjoyed the telling of Louis in this capacity that everything he had achieved was for his family. It is clear that his family does not appreciate what he had to do to ensure they were thriving.
In this way, it became more believable to me that he would catch the eye of someone like Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid). I felt it was an overall improvement to the story. I was happy with the changes to and felt that each and every detail that changed still remained the same in the true tone of the interview itself. Louis’ struggles and his life were made more interesting. More importantly, I better understood why he would allow himself to be swayed by a newcomer and mysterious man like Lestat.
The Jumping Off Point
Without giving away most of the plot, it was a thrill to see the introduction of this series unwind. I was shocked several times while watching, but also pleased with the overall theme and story. While it is much different than its source material, I feel most of the changes are needed to maintain relevance and create a connection. I appreciate the explanation of Louis’ conflicts, which now include his status as a black gay pimp in New Orleans in the early 1900’s. This in itself makes Louis more extraordinary, and something I failed to see when reading the original novel.
I now believe Lestat would want to associate himself with Louis, not for greedy self-serving reasons. I believe his interest is rooted in love and intrigue that was always, for me, missing in some way. The love story between these two men now makes itself apparent in a way that I previously did not understand. I also enjoy the way Lestat presents himself and the powers he reveals in sly ways. This better explains why Louis would be drawn in, though fearful. The series itself does a wonderful job in practical explanation of the impractical.
Connection and Improvement
It is an illustration of humanity and does a great job in being relevant to the current day. Many of the struggles Louis faces are still prominent today, though present in different ways. I felt more connected to the characters in this retelling than I ever had before. I applaud the changes made to the plot, characters, and story. In a way, it highlights more of the inner struggles Louis faces, rather than glosses over them to focus on his struggle. This episode is a wonderful introduction of who Mr. Pointe de Lac is inside, and shows how life unexpectedly influences a person.
Summing It Up
If you have been hesitant to jump into this series because of the changes made to the original story, I am here to tell you IT IS ALL OKAY. This adaptation of Interview with the Vampire contains all the key elements and intrigue that it has always possessed. The details are not so important in the long run versus the actual tone and feel. The important key elements remain. The love story between Louis and Lestat is front in center. The seduction and intrigue remain in tact.
I am looking forward to the rest of the series and hope to discover how other changes impact or improve the story. I hope it will continue with the trend of bringing charm and understanding, rather than alienation of previous fans. While this version of Interview with the Vampire may be different, I feel it is fitting and an improvement. Being approved by Rice herself makes a difference to me, that she was happy with a different sort of story being told as life went on, but the true element of it remained.
The only warning I will give is that there are some extremely graphic scenes. These scents are of a sexual nature, and there is also some extreme gore. As in the novel, there is also a suicide and discussion of trauma that unfolds thereafter. If you are okay with viewing such content, I feel you will enjoy the retelling of this timeless vampire classic.
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Tess is an Alaskan artist and writer who sometimes talks to birds. She also enjoys tv shows (the vampire ones mostly), movies, cross-stitch, and traveling. When she is not rooting for the villain or dressing up to weird her neighbors out when checking the mail, she can be found attempting to be a decent mom to a small horde of goblins.