When it was announced that Interview With The Vampire and other novels from Anne Rice were being developed by AMC, I was rather excited. My relationship with Rice and her literary works began when I was pretty young, with the introduction to the 1994 film Interview With The Vampire. One fall evening when I was about seven, my eldest sister was babysitting me and had the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt film on television. Peaking over top of my book I saw a scene that scared me and yet also entirely fascinated me.
As I grew up, I read the novel and watched the movie, many times I might add, without the fear of a child. The experience was vastly different and both the novel and film became some of my favorites. So as news about AMC’s version of Lestat, Louis, and their world of vampiric fancies began to roll in, I was enthralled with the possibilities that could come. Would fans see a more faithful adaption of these beloved characters? Would we ever get past this one story and see the larger world of Anne Rice’s creation? AMC’s Interview With The Vampire premiere answers one of those questions, so let’s analyze all that we can.
[Warning: while this review is light on the spoilers if you want to go into AMC’s Interview With The Vampire premiere episode with no impressions, read at your own risk!]
Early impressions on the Interview With The Vampire premiere
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of AMC’s take on this decades-old tale, is how much has changed and yet is still very familiar. Those who have either read the novel or seen the ‘90s film, or read Luna Gauthier’s fantastic review on the book that started it all, will recognize the structure of how Interview With The Vampire begins.
Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) summons reporter Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) to share his story starting near the end of his human life and further into his new life as a vampire. The show uses that similar frame storytelling in all the versions of Interview With The Vampire that has come before, having Louis narrate the story of his past as he shares it with Daniel in the present. However, the first episode also spends a bit of time establishing Daniel as a character, building him into a more well-developed person than just “the boy” as he was known in the novel.
However one of the biggest changes right off the bat was that this interview between Daniel and Louis isn’t the first time these two have met. Instead, Louis had allowed this human to interview him back in 1973. However, something occurred between the two which ended the interview. Daniel never published and Louis believed the human wasn’t ready for the true story. But times have changed and once again these two are together, to tell Louis’s story.
A new spin on some familiar characters and stories
While the premiere episode had many beats that were similar to its previous adaptations, there were definitely some liberties that were taken in AMC’s version. Some of which may upset those who were hoping for a straight adaptation of Rice’s work. However, while some things have changed, such as the time period switching from the late 1700s to the early 1910s, the core and essence of Interview With The Vampire are very much the same.
There was also a huge shift in the character of Louis, who in other adaptations had been a white plantation owner. However, in AMC’s Interview With The Vampire, Louis is a Creole owner of eight brothels in New Orleans. This career is a gigantic change for Louis, although it still provides much of the same drama with his family, which eventually leads him to Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and vampirism.
What were just queer undertones in the original novel are now blatant and fully developed, an aspect I wasn’t fully expecting but welcomed nonetheless. As I told my friends at The Cosmic Circus, this show is incredibly gay and for that, I am thriving. Making this change to a more overt queerness in Interview With The Vampire doesn’t change Louis and Lestat’s relationship in the slightest, yet, however, I have a feeling it will make the events to come later in the season even more painful.
So while viewers familiar with the other adaptations might at first feel slighted or jarred by the changes, they are not so much that they distract from the wonderful story Rice wrote back in the ‘70s. I would even argue that perhaps some of these changes enhance the story a bit, such as by allowing New Orleans and its rich history to better infuse the supernatural and terrifying nature this story has.
Updating some of the other aspects also allows for a deeper story, letting these characters and their world break the shackles of the ‘70s and that time period’s society. This is a contemporary story reflective of the audience’s world, even though it’s told back in the early 1900s.
The intoxicating nature of AMC’s Interview With The Vampire
I was enraptured with this show from the first moment Louis stepped onto the screen. With just one episode, this series shot up to one of my all-time favorites. From the acting to the sets, to the representation, this premiere episode was sensational from start to finish. I found myself zoned into the show in a way that I haven’t been with television in a long time. My phone was put away, and I couldn’t focus on anything else but what was happening on my screen. It reminded me of early Game of Thrones seasons where the show felt epic and nothing else mattered for that hour.
Maybe it was the vampiric trance, with Lestat using his spooky eye magic to completely connect me with the screen. Or perhaps AMC had really taken the time to understand this story and the characters in a way that not many studios do. Regardless of the changes, these were still characters and stories I recognized instantaneously, giving me feelings of returning to a familiar friend while also new enough to leave me guessing.
I cannot stress enough how incredible this show is and hope that everyone who reads this gives this show a chance. Fall in love with vampires once again with a story about love, loss, and the intoxication of a fantastical escape from your problems.
AMC’s Interview With The Vampire premieres October 2 on AMC and AMC+. Are you excited about the show? Will you be checking it out? Let us know on social media! And if you want a refresher on Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire novel, check out Luna’s review!
Book Review: Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire