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'Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire' Team Talks Adapting a Queer Gothic Romance for AMC

'There's queer sexuality but [also] queer ethics, queer aesthetics,' said showrunner Rolin Jones.

Danielle Turchiano
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From left to right: Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson in 'Interview With the Vampire'

AMC

As a novel, Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire welcomed in legions of fans who were especially drawn to the relationship between Lestat De Lioncourt and Louis de Lac, queer vampires who were raising a young vampire girl as their daughter. The book was not explicit about the nature of their relationship, though well before she died Rice, herself, confirmed it. And now, the AMC adaptation will lean into that relationship.

"It seemed pretty obvious to me what the story was here, and when I was tasked with the books from AMC, a number things they wanted [were] to make it here and now," creator and showrunner Rolin Jones said during a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the forthcoming drama series. "I don't think it's a horror show, I think it's a gothic romance. ... I wanted to write a very excitable, aggressive, toxic, beautiful love story. And they were down for it."

Within the show, he continued, "there's queer sexuality but [also] queer ethics, queer aesthetics." He noted that he wanted to see Lestat and Louis "really go through all the little obstacles and challenges of a relationship. Bogey and Bacall!" he said.

Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire is based on the 1976 novel of the same title, but it is a contemporary reimagining of the series, in that after being turned by Lestat De Lioncourt (Sam Reid) in 1900s New Orleans, living a life with him that includes raising a daughter (Claudia, played by Bailey Bass), Louis de Lac (Jacob Anderson) ends up looking for revenge, atonement, and to have his voice heard. So, in modern day, he sits down with podcaster Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) to finally and fully tell his tale.

"The character is a lot closer to who I am in real life. I'm a veteran of my life and so is Daniel. What does that mean? It means that when Daniel-slash-me goes after the story, it's with a lot more experience, savviness, and just knowing how to get the story — how to cut through any kind of duplicity that Louis may be throwing my way," Bogosian said. "It evolves into a struggle between the two of us — of me trying to find the truth and him telling his story."

Bogosian acknowledged that Daniel is very aware of the danger he could be in by continuing to sit down with a creature like Louis, but "he's going back to get the story. He wants to grab that brass ring. He's at a point in his life where this is an opportunity and he's not going to miss it. And yeah, he's afraid, and yeah, he's attracted to Louis. Louis and Daniel have a very complex relationship and it takes the whole season to explore the nuances. It's bubbling off to the side, but it's real and it's complex and it involves all kinds of irregular narratives and memory lapses and all kinds of cool stuff. He can't not go back."

He should have cause to be concerned about that relationship, though, because, as Anderson put it, "people don't really change over a century." As an actor, Anderson found that with "building on a person's life over a century, something that was really fun for me to think about was, what books has Louis read? What has he seen; who does he model himself on?" And he purposely added that as the years in the story tick on, there are a lot of "little moments that I really enjoyed bringing the old Louis back in."

In this version, Claudia is aged up to 14 (from elementary school age in the novels and 11 in the movie). "No one wants to see, I think, the material [with] a 5-year-old girl; it's harder to film," Jones said. "There are some things in Louisiana about child labor laws for actors who are under 18, and Claudia is such a huge part of this show and this universe, we wanted to have as much time with her as possible."

Claudia won't come into play until the third episode, the producers revealed, but they promised they have done something "structurally interesting" to mark her introduction.

For Bass, the idea of playing a character who is stuck in a body right around puberty, dealing with all of those emotions plus the emotions of eventually turning 20, 30, 40, et cetera within that body added layers to what she was asked to do as an actor. But so did the fact that there was not much research for her to rely on when it came to looking into how society would treat a wealthy Black child in the early 20th century.

"We kind of had to create it," she admitted. "I'm excited for people to feel seen, especially young women and young girls."

The first season of Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire, which premieres Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. on AMC and will stream its first two episodes the same day on AMC+, follows only the first half of the first book, but Jones noted that the network bought all the books and has plans to "make all of the books." Right now, though, only the first season is confirmed.