Before Twilight and The Vampire Diaries took center stage there was a time when Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles reigned supreme over the undead. Rice’s vampires are animalistic killers who lurk in the shadows. Her characters are gray—neither good nor evil and constantly questioning their existence. I believe part of what makes Interview such a good adaptation of the novel is that Anne Rice had a hand in the movie’s direction, penning the screenplay. The casting for the film is some of the best: Tom Cruise is the infamous vampire, Lestat; Brad Pitt plays guilt-ridden Louis; and a young Kirsten Dunst plays Claudia—the woman trapped in a child’s body. Perhaps not surprisingly since Rice wrote the movie’s screenplay (and had an astounding cast to work with), Interview remains relatively faithful to Rice’s novel.
Just like the novel, Interview is told from Louis’s perspective as he transitions from mortal to vampire. It’s an after-the-fact tale, told by Louis to a reporter (Christian Slater). The end of Louis’s mortal life begins as he mourns the loss of his wife and child. Seeking relief from his depression, Louis begins searching for death and, in this search, he runs into Lestat who offers him a new life existing beyond mortality. Louis watches his last sunrise in 1791 and, from there, travels down a dark path of vampirism. On that path, Louis meets Claudia, a young, angelic girl who joins him and Lestat on their blood-drenched journey. Soon Claudia’s resentment over her situation creates a rift in the trio and tensions rise with Louis caught in the middle.
Behind Dracula and Nosferatu, Lestat is one of the most notorious vampires. Watching Interview, one would think Cruise was everyone’s first choice. Most people who have seen the movie will agree that Cruise’s portrayal of Lestat is near flawless: he’s dangerous, giddy, and mysterious. However, Anne Rice expressed her concerns about Cruise taking on Lestat. Before Interview, Cruise was known for his work in Risky Business and Top Gun, and Rice publicly objected to his casting. But after seeing the film, Rice spent $7,740 on an advertisement in Daily Variety in the form of an apology exclaiming her approval of Cruise’s performance. In fact, Rice was incredibly happy with the film adaptation of her novel on a whole. Even after 18 years, Interview still charms–and it can definitely take on any of the new vampire flicks Hollywood cooks up.
Meghan Cannistra is a college student majoring in English. Along with watching movies, she loves to read and write and enjoys fairy tales, ghost stories, and comic books. When she isn’t busy chasing her two cats, Doom and Gloom, around the house she is browsing Netflix for something good to watch. Check out her Figment page, as well as her blog, Ink Stained Octopus.