Vampires are among the most popular fantastic creatures ever created. They have been the protagonists of countless stories, and as one of the oldest magical creatures that humanity as a collective has created, they will probably accompany us for many centuries more. The creature has taken many shapes, and legends, cultures, and authors have had their own interpretations of it. Now it is the turn of “Interview with the Vampire” to bring a new interpretation of Anne Rice’s famous book to the masses, thanks to AMC. Let’s review it.
Interview with the Vampire was Anne Rice’s debut novel way back in 1976. The novel received mixed reviews, but it didn’t matter because a legion of fans gathered around the book, and the rest is history, with many successful sequels following and Anne Rice’s Universe becoming a quite successful enterprise. This isn’t the first time the book is being adapted to the screen. A famous adaptation starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise was released in 1994, and it also becomes a success, developing a cult film status even to this day.
Anne Rice’s depiction of the vampire myth is fascinating, and she was able to build an entire universe out of it, with sex and sexuality being a predominant element in the stories. Rice never shied away from the fact that the vampire as a creature was very sexual on a symbolic level, and she was able to break taboos and censorship that none of the other authors had managed to do. At least not with this level of success. This Interview with the Vampire adaptation on AMC tries to keep to the story, but is also ready to make some changes along the way.
One of the main changes, and the one that will probably cause the most controversy, is the ethnicity change of the story’s main character, Louis de Pointer du Lac. In the books, Louis is a white man, the owner of a plantation and also the owner of slaves. All these characteristics worked in conjunction to define his character. So, when the new adaptation decides to turn Louis from a white slave owner to a black male pimp, things are changing more deeply than just by how the character looks on the outside.
It is still very early to tell, but let’s hope the series can keep on with this change and still be able to deliver the Louis that is so popular with fans of the character. And that they haven’t really had the chance to meet outside of the Brad Pitt interpretation, which has its defenders and detractors in equal measure. Outside that big change and everything that comes with it, it seems that AMC is committed to the telling of this story in its entirety. The network has already green lit a second season, even before the premiere of the first one.
Production values are great and the city of New Orleans makes for an excellent first setting for the story. This is a city with so much rich and dark history that it is the perfect environment for a creepy horror story. Rice knew it, and the producers of the show are trying to do their best to live up to the fans’ expectations. Later in the story, we will go to some other bigger and older places, so it will be interesting to see how the production deals with that sort of scale.
The acting is quite solid. Jacob Anderson plays the part of Louis, and he does an amazing job of depicting the internal conflict of the character. Anderson will be a familiar face to many thanks to his participation in Game of Thrones as Grey Worm. Here, however, Anderson is the main character, and Louis is way more complex than Grey Worm. The actor has a free slate to fill in order to impress us with his performance, but he seems to be ready to take on the challenge.
Sam Reid plays the legendary Lestat, the dream of many readers and also one of the most iconic vampires in all fiction. The role carries quite a bit of responsibility, but Reid is also quite committed to delivering his best performance to date. He knows people are going to be watching, and so he transforms in this creature whose personality is bigger than life, and you believe it. Really, the two main characters of the show are the best parts of it. The rest of the cast feels very weak in comparison with these two.
These episodes are not short. We are talking about 1-hour long episodes that can sometimes feel a bit overlong for what each episode is trying to tell. This pacing issue is very minor, but I can see some people getting annoyed that things don’t move faster. It is also quite interesting to see the “Immortal Universe” logo at the beginning of each episode, confirming AMC’s desire to expand this universe in the same way they did with The Walking Dead.
Interview with the Vampire is a great adaptation. It manages to modernize some aspects of the show in a solid manner, although the show has not proven if that was the right decision yet. Nevertheless, for those missing a good story about vampires, look no further; this is the best vampire show happening right now on television outside the fantastic What We Do in the Shadows. Give it a chance before saying no.