Streaming Sundays: ‘Interview With The Vampire’ Is One Of The Best Retellings Of A Classic Tale

AMC+ released their new television adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, and it is a worthy addition to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles canon.

There are always more opportunities for television adaptations than film adaptations. Take a substantial piece of literature, pull Cliff’s Notes, and you have a script outline for at least one season, but entirely too much material for a 90-minute film. For a good television series, it’s even more advantageous to draw from a series of books. Game of Thrones (2011), A Handmaid’s Tale (2017), Dexter (2006), Big Little Lies (2017), Sex & The City (1998), The Dead Zone (2002). All mega-successful series of novels that ballooned into cultural phenomenons after they were filmed and televised. Interview With The Vampire falls in the category.

Initially, it was a film adaptation…and what a film it was. Take a few of a generation’s most universally attractive (and equally talented) actors (i.e., Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Antonio Banderas) and cast them as morally ambiguous vampires living in the late 1700s. An instant classic, but not without its faults. To be fair, filming adaptations is not an easy feat by any means. Adapting novels to television series comes with heavy expectations when the material is beloved. Interview with the Vampire (2022) has managed to take a well-established narrative and reimagine it. The series shines by reworking the original story and challenging the unreliable source, the vampire.

Interview With The Vampire stars Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones) as “the vampire” Louis de Pointe du Lac. In this version of the classic story, the characters’ origins have been adjusted quite a bit. To start, the interview that sets the stage in the novel is a repeat. The interviewer in question, Daniel Molloy (played by Eric Bogosian), interviewed Louis decades before and we know that it did not end well. As Louis and Daniel make their next attempt, Daniel points out how unreliable Louis is by playing their previous recordings. That clear contradiction between Louis’ story then and now allows the narrative to sprout new wings. It is also established that Louis and Lestat are lovers, which is not necessarily the case when one thinks back on the original film adaptation. The clear diversions from previous iterations made the first episode especially exciting because there is a resetting of expectations. A new level of unpredictability.

Louis is transformed into a vampire in the early 1900s by Sam Reid’s Lestat de Lioncourt (Belle) instead of the late 1700s. The change in setting takes the story out of the Antebellum period and into a post-Reconstruction New Orleans. Instead of Louis being a white plantation owner, he is an ambitious Creole brothel owner. As he navigates New Orleans as a mixed-race man building his own wealth, he is targeted by Lestat, who is fascinated by him. Once Louis is turned, he becomes Lestat’s companion. In the novel and in the film, Louis and Lestat’s dynamic is similar to a married couple and this version of the story is no exception; however, the added context of Louis’ race brings more conflict. Although Louis’ race presents a set of new narratives for this adaptation, the interviewer’s commentary on Louis’ recital is what makes this show so brilliant.

It is through the interviewer that we see how Louis’ now idealized version of Lestat would be seen in a modern-day context. Through exploring the juxtaposition of how people would react to Louis’ life as a vampire versus how Louis wants it contextualized, we get a very nuanced look at Anne Rice’s original material. The violence, vulnerability, sexuality, and loneliness of the characters and how they navigate the world that isn’t aware of their existence are what made the original story so fascinating. The series now amplifies all of those traits and allows us as viewers to pick holes in Louis’ story. Is he really a remorseful vampire who despises his existence and wants to educate the world about his existence, or is he a narcissistic libertine who wants popularity and acknowledgment?

No matter if you are an Anne Rice fan or not, this series definitely stands on its own. This retelling of Anne Rice’s classic novel gives viewers a chance to revisit the source material while entertaining viewers with a new perspective on the tale.  If the series is picked up for multiple seasons, Sam Reid will definitely be able to carry Lestat’s storyline for future seasons. No knock against Tom Cruise, who in my unpopular opinion was a superb Lestat, but Reid’s Lestat is a far more interesting take on the beloved characters that all have been waiting for. 

Interview with the Vampire is now available to stream on AMC+.