Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire is a gothic horror and vampire novel by American author Anne Rice, published in 1976. It was her debut novel. Based on a short story Rice wrote around 1968, the novel centers on vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, who tells the story of his life to a reporter. Rice composed the novel shortly after the death of her young daughter Michelle, who served as an inspiration for the child-vampire character Claudia. Though initially the subject of mixed critical reception, the book was followed by many widely popular sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles. A film adaptation was released in 1994, starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and a television series premiered in 2022. The novel has also been adapted as a comic three times.

Interview with the Vampire
First edition cover
AuthorAnne Rice
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Vampire Chronicles
GenreGothic horror, vampire
PublishedMay 6, 1976
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback)
  • 369 (hardcover)
  • 342 (paperback)
Followed byThe Vampire Lestat 

Plot summary edit

A vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac tells his 200-year-long life story to a reporter referred to simply as "the boy".

In 1791, Louis is a young indigo plantation owner living in Louisiana. Distraught by the death of his younger brother Paul, he seeks death in any way possible. Louis is approached by a vampire named Lestat de Lioncourt, who desires Louis's company. Lestat turns Louis into a vampire and the two become immortal companions.

Louis initially perceives Lestat as an extraordinary being, but he undergoes a rapid disillusionment after joining Lestat as a vampire, as he realizes Lestat has no special moral insights and is in fact not much older than Louis himself. Lestat's elderly father moves to the planation and Louis learns a few details about Lestat's boyhood, including that he was denied an education and that his father once considered him the gentlest of his brothers.

Lestat spends time feeding off slaves, thieves, and other plantation families while Louis, who finds it morally repugnant to murder humans to survive, feeds from animals. The enslaved people of the plantation become suspicious of the vampires and Louis and Lestat realize they may face an uprising and cannot remain. Lestat's father attempts to apologize for the abuse he inflicted on Lestat as a child, but Lestat remains bitter and aloof and asks Louis to kill his father for him as they prepare to depart.

Louis sets his own plantation aflame; he and Lestat kill the slaves to keep word from spreading about vampires living in Louisiana. Gradually, Louis bends under Lestat's influence and begins feeding from humans. He slowly comes to terms with his vampire nature, but also becomes increasingly repulsed by what he perceives as Lestat's total lack of compassion for the humans he preys upon.

Escaping to New Orleans, Louis feeds off a plague-ridden, five-year-old girl, whom he finds next to the corpse of her mother. Louis begins to think of leaving Lestat and going his own way. Fearing this, Lestat then turns the girl into a vampire "daughter" for them, to give Louis a reason to stay. She is then given the name Claudia.

Louis is initially horrified that Lestat has turned a child into a vampire, but soon begins to care for Claudia. Claudia takes to killing easily, but she begins to realize over time she can never grow up; her mind matures into that of an intelligent, assertive woman, but her body remains that of a young girl.

Claudia blames Lestat for her state and, after 60 years of living with him, hatches a plot to kill Lestat by poisoning him and cutting his throat. Claudia and Louis then dump his body into a nearby swamp. As Louis and Claudia prepare to flee to Europe, Lestat appears, having recovered from Claudia's attack, and confronts them. Louis sets fire to their home and barely escapes with Claudia, leaving a furious Lestat to be consumed by the flames.

Arriving in Europe, Louis and Claudia seek out more of their kind. They travel throughout eastern Europe first and do encounter vampires, but these vampires appear to be nothing more than mindless, animated corpses. Louis begins to regret the murder of Lestat, fearing that they may have killed the one vampire who could provide answers regarding their nature. It is only when they reach Paris that they encounter vampires like themselves, meeting the 400-year-old vampire Armand and his coven at the Théâtre des Vampires.

Inhabiting an ancient theater, Armand and his vampire coven disguise themselves as humans and feed on terrified humans in mock plays before a live audience (who think the killings are merely a very realistic performance). Claudia is repulsed by these vampires and what she considers to be their cheap theatrics, but Louis and Armand are drawn to each other.

Fearing that Louis will leave her for Armand, Claudia convinces Louis to turn a Parisian doll maker, Madeleine, into a vampire to serve as a replacement companion for her. Louis, Madeleine, and Claudia live together for a brief time, but all three are abducted one night by Armand's coven.

It is revealed that Lestat survived the fire in New Orleans, scarred and weakened. He demands Claudia face punishment, even death, for her murder attempt but screams at the coven that they promised not to harm Louis. The coven doesn't respect his ranting and proceed with their punishments. Louis is forcibly locked in a coffin to starve, while Claudia and Madeleine are entrapped in an open courtyard.

Armand arrives and releases Louis, but Madeleine and Claudia are burned to death by the rising sun; a devastated Louis finds their ashen remains. Louis sees Lestat crying over the remnants of Claudia's yellow dress, but loses track of him as he plots his revenge against the theatre coven.

Louis returns to the Theatre late the following night, burning it to the ground and killing all the vampires inside, leaving with Armand. Together, the two travel across Europe for several years, but Louis never fully recovers from Claudia's death, and the emotional connection between himself and Armand becomes strained. It remains ambiguous even to Louis whether the murder of Claudia was primarily orchestrated by Armand in his desire to gain Louis's companionship, by the coven in their perception of Claudia breaking ancient vampire law, or by Lestat's arrival and desire for vengeance.

Tired of the Old World, Louis returns to New Orleans in the early 20th century. Living as a loner, he feeds off any humans who cross his path, but lives in the shadows, never creating another companion for himself.

Louis tells the boy of one last encounter with Lestat in New Orleans, where Lestat has hidden himself in a rotting mansion and lost touch with the passing of time. Armand hopes that seeing Lestat might arouse feelings of passion, sorrow, or anger in Louis and expresses despair that Louis remains cold, unreachable, and unable to share eternity with him. The two end their companionship, concluding they have nothing more to offer one another. Louis ends his tale; revealing that after 200 years, he is weary of immortality and of all the pain and suffering to which he has had to bear witness and create.

The boy, however, seeing only the great powers granted to a vampire, begs to be made into a vampire himself. Angry that his interviewer learned nothing from his story, Louis refuses, attacking the boy and vanishing without a trace. The boy then leaves to track down Lestat in the hopes that he can give him immortality.

Background and publication edit

In 1970, while Anne Rice was attending a graduate program in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, her daughter Michelle, then about four years old, was diagnosed with acute granulocytic leukemia.[1] Michelle died of the illness about two years later,[1][2][3] and Rice fell into a deep depression, turning to alcohol in order to cope.[4] Later reviewers and commentators identified Michelle as an inspiration for the character of Claudia.[5]

In 1973, while still grieving the loss of her daughter, Rice began reworking a previously written short story, which she had written in 1968 or 1969.[nb 1] Thirty pages long, the short story was written from the interviewer's perspective.[6] She decided to expand "Interview with the Vampire" into a novel at the encouragement of one of her husband's students, who enjoyed her writing.[6][7] It took her five weeks to complete the 338-page novel: she did research on vampires during the day and often wrote during the night.[6]

After completing the novel and following many rejections from publishers, Rice developed obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). She became obsessed with germs, thinking that she contaminated everything she touched, engaged in frequent and obsessive hand washing and obsessively checked locks on windows and doors. Of this period, Rice says: "What you see when you're in that state is every single flaw in our hygiene and you can't control it and you go crazy".[9]

In August 1974, Rice attended the Squaw Valley Writer's Conference at Squaw Valley, conducted by writer Ray Nelson.[10] While at the conference, she met her future literary agent, Phyllis Seidel. In October 1974, Seidel sold the publishing rights to Interview with the Vampire to Alfred A. Knopf for a $12,000 advance of the hardcover rights, at a time when most new authors were receiving $2,000 advances.[11] Interview with the Vampire was published in April 1976.[12]In 1977, the Rices traveled to both Europe and Egypt for the first time.[13]

Upon its release, Interview with the Vampire received mixed reviews from critics.[14] A reviewer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the book a positive review, describing the prose as "hypnotically poetic in tone, rich in sensory imagery",[14] while other reviews were more negative. Edith Milton of The New Republic wrote: "To pretend that it has any purpose beyond suckling eroticism is rank hypocrisy".[14] As of February 2008, the novel had sold 8 million copies worldwide.[15]

The book spawned a total of twelve sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles, and the spin-off series New Tales of the Vampires. The first sequel, The Vampire Lestat, was published in 1985 and sold more than 75,000 copies in its first printing, garnering largely favorable reviews.[14] 1988's The Queen of the Damned improved on Lestat's numbers, receiving an initial hardcover run of 405,000 and topping the New York Times Best Seller list.[14] Rice's vampire books share a fictional universe with her series Lives of the Mayfair Witches and the novel The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned.[16]

Adaptations edit

Film edit

The film rights to Interview were at times controlled by Paramount Pictures, Lorimar, and Warner Bros., the distributor of the film, before The Geffen Film Company acquired the rights.[17] Director Neil Jordan rewrote Rice's first draft of the screenplay, though she received sole credit.[18] Brad Pitt starred as Louis, Tom Cruise starred as Lestat, Antonio Banderas co-starred as Armand, as did a young Kirsten Dunst as the child vampire Claudia. Most of the movie's shooting had been completed by October 1993, and all that remained were the few scenes involving the interviewer that would then be inserted at various points throughout the film.[19][20] Production of those scenes was put on hold for a few weeks whilst River Phoenix, who had been cast as the interviewer, finished working on the film Dark Blood. Phoenix died from an overdose later that month, and Christian Slater was then cast as the interviewer Molloy. Slater donated his entire salary to Earth Save and Earth Trust, two of Phoenix's favorite charities.[21][22][23][24][25]

The film was released in November 1994 to generally positive critical reaction,[26] and received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Original Score.[27] Dunst was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.[28][29] Rice had initially voiced her objections to the casting of Cruise as Lestat, preferring Rutger Hauer for the role. After seeing the film, however, she voiced her support for the film,[17] saying: "That Tom did make Lestat work was something I could not see in a crystal ball. It's to his credit that he proved me wrong".[18]

In August 2014, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment acquired the motion picture rights to the entire Vampire Chronicles series, with producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci signed to helm the potential film franchise. The deal also included a screenplay for The Tale of the Body Thief (1992) adapted by Christopher Rice.[30] In May 2016, writer-director Josh Boone posted a photo on Instagram of the cover a script written by him and Jill Killington.[31][32][33] Titled Interview with the Vampire, it is based on the novel of the same name and its sequel, The Vampire Lestat.[31][32][33] However, that November Universal did not renew the contract, and the film and television rights reverted to Rice, who began developing the Vampire Chronicles into a television series with Christopher.[34][35]

Comics edit

Innovation Comics published a twelve-issue comic book adaptation of Interview with the Vampire from 1991 to 1994,[36] also making comic adaptations of The Vampire Lestat (12 issues) and The Queen of the Damned (11 issues).[37][38] A Japanese manga adaptation by Udou Shinohara was published in 1994 by Tokuma Shoten.[citation needed] It was also serialized in both Animage and Chara magazines. In 2012, the graphic novel Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story was published by Yen Press, retelling much of the original novel from the point of view of child vampire Claudia.[39]

Television edit

In May 2020, AMC acquired the rights to The Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches for developing film and television projects.[40] AMC gave the production a series order for a seven episode first season of Interview with the Vampire. The series is executive produced by Rolin Jones and Mark Johnson.[41] Interview with the Vampire stars Sam Reid as Lestat,[42] Jacob Anderson as Louis,[43] Bailey Bass as Claudia,[44] and Assad Zaman as Rashid/Armand.[45] The series premiered on October 2, 2022.[46]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Biographer Katherine Ramsland gives two dates for the short story: 1968 in the text,[6] and 1969 in her timeline of Rice's life.[7] Michael Riley's timeline lists the year as 1969.[8]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Anne Rice's Imagination May Roam Among Vampires and Erotica, but Her Heart Is Right at Home" Archived March 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine by Joyce Wadler, Johnny Greene, People, May 12, 1988.
  2. ^ "Small talk: Anne Rice Archived May 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine" Anna Metcalfe, Financial Times (London), November 15, 2010
  3. ^ Ramsland 1991, pp. 112–113
  4. ^ "Anne Rice". Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  5. ^ Husband, Stuart (November 2, 2008). "Anne Rice: interview with the vampire writer". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Ramsland, Katherine (1991). Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. New York: Penguin Group. pp. 140–151. ISBN 978-0-525-93370-0. OCLC 23733745.
  7. ^ a b Ramsland, Katherine (1991). Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. New York: Penguin Group. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-525-93370-0. OCLC 23733745.
  8. ^ Riley, Michael (1996). Conversations with Anne Rice: An Intimate, Enlightening Portrait of Her Life And Work. New York: Ballantine Books. p. xv. ISBN 978-0-345-39636-5. OCLC 34562839.
  9. ^ Ramsland 1991, pp. 157–158
  10. ^ "Richard Lupoff's Book Week", Algol 17, 1977, p.29.
  11. ^ Ramsland 1991, pp. 159–160
  12. ^ "Interview with the Vampire".
  13. ^ "Anne Rice Biography". AETN UK. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e Ferraro, Susan (October 14, 1990). "Novels You Can Sink Your Teeth Into". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "Anne Rice And Jesus Save Lestat: But Can Vampires Accept Christ into Their Undead Lives? // Current TV". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  16. ^ H., V. (1995). "Anne Rice in the Academy". Science Fiction Studies. 22 (1): 129–130. JSTOR 4240407.
  17. ^ a b Guiley, Rosemary Ellen (2004). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters. Checkmark Books. p. 163. ISBN 978-0816046850.
  18. ^ a b Rice, Anne (1994). "From Anne Rice: On the film, Interview with the Vampire". Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  19. ^ Ryan Gilbey (November 5, 2003). "Ryan Gilbey on the legacy of River Phoenix | Film". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  20. ^ Vera H-C Chan (September 15, 2011). "The Misery of Brad Pitt". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  21. ^ Allin, Olivia (September 21, 2012). "River Phoenix's final film 'Dark Blood' to debut at Netherlands Film Festival". On the Red Carpet. Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  22. ^ "(UK): "Christian Slater"". The Biography Channel. Archived from the original on February 14, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  23. ^ Christian Slater Archived January 31, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Gadsden Times. November 18, 1993
  24. ^ "Christian Slater – Slater's Mother Makes Emotional Appeal To Press – Contactmusic News". Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  25. ^ Grove, Lloyd (April 19, 2005). "Plea For Christian Charity – New York Daily News". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  26. ^ "Interview with the Vampire". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  27. ^ "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  28. ^ "HFPA—Awards Search". Golden Globes Official Website. Archived from the original on January 4, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  29. ^ "Hello Magazine Profile—Kirsten Dunst". Hello!. Hello! Ltd. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  30. ^ McNary, Dave (August 7, 2014). "Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles Takes Flight at Universal". Variety. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Gallagher, Brian (May 5, 2016). "Interview with the Vampire Remake Script Is Finished". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  32. ^ a b Evry, Max (May 4, 2016). "Josh Boone Revealed to be at Work on Interview with the Vampire Remake". Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  33. ^ a b Jones, Mike (May 5, 2016). "New Mutants Director Offers Interview with the Vampire Update". Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  34. ^ Rice, Anne (November 27, 2016). "Anne Rice statement on her Official Facebook Fan Page". Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 13, 2017 – via Facebook.
  35. ^ "Anne Rice Is Bringing Her Vampire Chronicles to Television". Vanity Fair. November 27, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  36. ^ "Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire Comic Series Index". Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  37. ^ "Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat Comic Series Index". Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  38. ^ "Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned Comic Series Index". Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  39. ^ "Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story". Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  40. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 13, 2020). "Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, Lives of the Mayfair Witches Rights Land at AMC". Variety. Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  41. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 24, 2021). "Interview With the Vampire Series a Go at AMC". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  42. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 13, 2021). "Interview with the Vampire: Sam Reid To Play Lestat in AMC Series Based on Ann Rice's Book". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  43. ^ Petski, Denise (August 25, 2021). "Interview with the Vampire: Jacob Anderson To Play Louis in AMC Series Based on Ann Rice's Book". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 25, 2021. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  44. ^ Petski, Denise (October 5, 2021). "Interview with the Vampire: Bailey Bass To Play Claudia in AMC Series Based on Anne Rice's Book". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 5, 2021. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  45. ^ Petski, Denise (March 4, 2022). "'Interview with the Vampire': Assad Zaman To Play Rashid/Armand in AMC Series Based on Anne Rice's Book". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 4, 2022. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  46. ^ Oddo, Marco Vito (July 23, 2022). "AMC's Interview with the Vampire Series to Premiere Just in Time for Halloween". Collider. Archived from the original on October 11, 2022. Retrieved July 25, 2022.

External links edit