Interview With The Vampire is “true to the book”…but also changes stuff?

The Walking Dead is ending, but AMC has a contingency plan in place: it’s going to swap zombies for vampires…and maybe witches too. Not only is the network making a TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic novel Interview With The Vampirebut it intends to create a whole universe based on Rice’s works.

“It’s hard to believe sometimes that they’re connected, but they are,” producer Mark Johnson told Entertainment Weekly about Rice’s novels. “While one might be about vampires and one might be about witches and one might be about God knows what, they are all connected. You guys will tell us whether this will be a franchise or not but I believe that this world, the Anne Rice world, is going to go on for some time on AMC.”

But let’s see if this first show does well first. Watch the new trailer below:

Interview With The Vampire is “a really beautiful love story”

In this new version, Game of Thrones veteran Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) plays Louis, the melancholic Louisiana man who gets turned into a vampire by the hedonistic Listat (Sam Reid). If you’re a fan of the book, or the 1994 movie with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, you’ll probably notice some big changes from the original. For one, the time period has changed. In the original Interview With The Vampire, Louis starts his journey in the 1700s. Now it’s the early 20th century. Also, his Cajun accent is a lot more pronounced. I’ll cross my fingers on that one.

You’ll also notice that Daniel Molloy, the interviewer of the vampire now played by Eric Bogosian, is much older in the TV version than usual. “Molloy is much better at his job than in the books,” Jones said during the Interview With The Vampire panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. In this version, Molloy tried to interview Louis early in his career as a journalist, botched it, and is now getting a second crack many years later after having a successful career. “The script is very clear that it’s 40-something years later, and Daniel is no longer the boy who was a journalist, just starting out, making tapes of this vampire interview,” said Bogosian. “Now he’s getting a second crack at it. He’s been very successful, he’s actually on the downside of his career, and this is his last chance to grab the brass ring. It’s dangerous, but he wants to go get that story.”

He’s much craftier than he was when he was a kid. He won’t let Louis lie to him. He’s going to get the story. He’s afraid, of course, he’s afraid. And he’s trying to scare me. There’s also the temptation. It’s always sitting there. He says, ‘I can make you one of us if you want,’ and that’s always there as a temptation. It’s very complex, and it was wonderful playing that.

According to Johnson, the new show will “surprise a lot of people.” At the same time, he somehow thinks it might be more book-accurate than the ’94 movie? “We tried to stay as true to the spirit of the book as possible, but it’s very much a modern interpretation,” he said. “In many ways, our show is truer to the book than the movie was, which is ironic because Anne Rice herself wrote the screenplay to the movie.”

Interview With the Vampire is above all else a really beautiful love story. As a result, as opposed to the movie, the series is less plot-driven and more emotional, more character-driven…It all comes down to performance. With our lead actors, we have our Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and our Listat and Louis are going to be so much more complete than the movie — not because the movie did anything wrong, but it’s only two hours and we have a lot more time than that…We don’t even meet Claudia until later into our season. Hopefully we get a second and third season to finish the book.

Look, this show could end up being amazing, but I worry this guy is setting himself up for failure by saying it’s more accurate than the movie even as he acknowledges that Anne Rice herself had a big hand in that film…and acknowledging that they’ re making huge changes. I dunno if everything adds up. And any show that comes out of the gate trying to start a cinematic universe gets flagged for suspicion in my book. I also worry about not being able to finish adapting the book in a seven-episode season of TV. Is this going to feel stretched out?

We’ll see how everything comes together when Interview With The Vampire premieres on October 2.

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