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Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire review: a feast for the senses

Interview with the Vampire kicks off the Anne Rice Immortal Universe at AMC.

Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson in Interview with the Vampire
(Image: © AMC)

Our Verdict

There's no doubt these vampires will be around for a very long time.

For

  • The cast is chef's kiss perfection
  • It's a loving and faithful adaptation
  • As a series, the characters have space to develop and we get to watch

Against

  • We need more than seven episodes in the first season.

Anne Rice's world of vampires comes to life with an inspired new vision — a vision that sinks its teeth in and never let's go. An absolute feast for the senses, Interview with the Vampire pulls you into a visually stunning and evocative world that you won’t want to leave. Jacob Anderson, Sam Reid, Bailey Bass and Eric Bogosian deliver rousing performances that usher in what is sure to be the hottest new franchise for the network. 

Interview with the Vampire is the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Anderson), a vampire who recounted his tale to reporter Daniel Molloy (Bogosian) in 1973. Now, 50 years later, Louis wants to meet with the now seasoned journalist Daniel once again to set the record straight. 

Louis is a Black Creole businessman in New Orleans’ Storyville in 1910. He catches the eye of the enigmatic Lestat de Lioncourt (Reid), who eventually reveals his vampire nature and makes Louis into his vampire companion. Eventually, they bring the vampire child Claudia (Bass) into the fold so that they become one happy vampire family. At least, for a little while.

Interview with the Vampire (1976) is one of the most beloved books in Rice’s pantheon, but it’s also the most narratively challenging story because it’s told from Louis’ perspective while the majority of the Vampire Chronicles are told from Lestat’s point of view. 

Over the years fans have been presented with very different perspectives on the characters thanks to the books that came later in the Vampire Chronicles. It’s no wonder that showrunner and writer Rolin Jones advises fans to read Prince Lestat (2014), The Vampire Lestat (1985) and The Vampire Armand (1998) to help them along the way.  

Sam Reid as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire

(Image credit: AMC)

One thing is painstakingly clear about Interview with the Vampire: the cast and the crew are absolutely dedicated to Anne Rice and to being faithful stewards of her work. Reid spoke of this dedication in a Q&A on AMC’s press site. “I hope [fans] see that we are honoring what Anne Rice wrote. There's a huge amount of respect for what she created. We are always referring to her words and bringing in all of the elements as honestly and truthfully and as blatantly as she wanted. That world that she created is right at the front of our hearts.”

With Rice’s words guiding the story, there are two elements that make the series as evocative and alluring as it is: the cast and the production design. To prepare for their roles, Anderson, Reid and Bass had to learn French, use a new accent and take dance, singing and music lessons in order to bring an even deeper authenticity to their roles. 

Anderson (Game of Thrones) embraces the full gamut of emotions to depict Louis’ human side while portraying a newly born vampire trying to understand his new nature, on top of dealing with the racism that pervades society at that moment in time. It takes a lot to stand up to a character as bold and brazen as Lestat, and Anderson’s Louis holds his own beautifully. What’s more is that this version of Louis has a lot more confidence than Brad Pitt’s version, largely because he comes from a very different background. The juxtaposition of 1910 Louis and modern-day Louis gives Anderson lots of space to really show the depth of his character.

Reid’s (The Newsreader) Lestat is a man of the ages, having been made a vampire in the 1700s and moving to the New World to start a new life. Unlike Louis, Lestat is gregarious and ebullient, possessing a joie de vivre that most people — vampires and humans alike — can only dream of. His charisma and charm shine through and make him so much fun to watch. This Lestat is different from Tom Cruise’s portrayal because we get to see the Brat Prince in action as he not only interacts with Claudia and Louis, but with the people around them as well. He’s charming and cruel in the same breath; Reid plays him so very well that it’s hard to hate him and easy to forgive him, even when he’s at his very worst. 

Bailey Bass as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire

(Image credit: AMC)

Bailey Bass (Avatar: The Way of Water) has the challenging task of portraying Louis and Lestat’s vampire daughter, Claudia. Trapped forever in the body of a 14 year old girl, Claudia has to figure out how she fits in a world where she’ll never grow up to experience life as an adult. Bass relies on her facial expressions and tone to capture Claudia’s angst in a powerfully poignant way. She literally transforms before our eyes without changing her physical appearance. It’s an inspired performance that will leave fans in awe of her immense talent. 

We think Eric Bogosian channeled his character from Succession to bring Daniel Molloy to life. Daniel was an immature young man the first time he met Louis; now, the tables have turned somewhat and as a veteran journalist he knows that this story is far too important to not do it properly. He challenges Louis at every turn. Though Louis could easily kill him, older Daniel never backs down. Bogosian’s steely voice, calm but witty demeanor and dry humor give Daniel the depth he never had before. 

Louis, Lestat and Claudia couldn’t come to life without Carol Cutshall’s costuming and production designer Mara LePere Schloop’s vision for 1910s New Orleans. It’s easy to get lost in the detail of the wallpaper, the texture of a coat or the decor that accentuates the Rue Royale flat fans know so well.

Showrunner and writer Rolin Jones and executive producer Mark Johnson understand how much these stories mean to legions of Anne Rice fans all over the globe. Bringing the story to life as faithfully as possible was incredibly important, and that includes ensuring that Louis and Lestat’s relationship is at the heart of the story in ways that weren’t possible in the 1994 film. They don’t have to hide their sexuality; Lestat joyfully embraces his bisexuality and Louis slowly comes to terms with being a gay man, even though being openly gay was frowned upon at the time.  

Interview with the Vampire might look a little different, but trust us when we say that all of the major themes of Anne Rice’s work — loneliness, love, the nature of goodness and evil, sexuality, being an outsider, among others — they’re all there. 

There is so much emotion and heart in this series that longtime fans will be overjoyed and newcomers to the series will be left in awe. It’s prestige television at its finest and sure to become the next big thing for AMC as part of the Anne Rice Immortal Universe.

Interview with the Vampire debuts October 2 on AMC. There's currently no UK release date.

Sarabeth Pollock
Editorial Content Producer

 

Sarabeth joined the Watch to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long.  


When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts a podcast dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She’s also very close to realizing her lifelong dream of publishing a novel.