Do you mind if we get a little spooky? Because one of the most beloved vampire stories of all time is coming to the small screen, and I’m just dying to spill all the details!
Before there was Twilight, there was Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. First published in 1976, the book launched a sprawling series of almost a dozen books known as The Vampire Chronicles.
Not to be confused with The Vampire Diaries.
Or A Discovery of Witches.
Or any of the other vampire stories that have followed, all of which owe a debt to Rice’s Gothic romantic fantasy.
The 1994 movie, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, has held up surprisingly well over the last 25 years. At the time, Anne Rice desperately wanted Julian Sands for the role of Lestat.
She was overruled and the studio cast Tom Cruise instead. Rice strongly protested the casting, saying that letting Cruise play her beloved vampire was “so bizarre; it’s almost impossible to imagine how it’s going to work.”
After actually seeing his performance, however–which harnessed the same unhinged, hyper-romantic energy that we’d later see when Cruise was jumping on Oprah’s couch–Rice admitted that he did a great job.
Now, Rice will get her chance to hand-pick the actor to play her most beloved literary creation.
A new TV series based on The Vampire Chronicles is in the works at Hulu, with Anne Rice and her son Christopher, who is also an author, executive producing. Christopher Rice also penned the first episode, called “Wolf Killer.”
Anne Rice claims that the series will begin with the events of the second book, The Vampire Lestat, rather than returning to Interview with the Vampire.
It makes sense because TVL is actually a prequel. And we know exactly who should play the title role.
Meet Cody Fern. The 31-year-old Australian actor is a favorite of Ryan Murphy–in fact, he played the Antichrist himself in the 8th season of American Horror Story. He’s got the hair, the patrician good looks, and the intensity to play Lestat.
However, Anne Rice has suggested on Facebook that she might prefer an unknown actor for the part.
Whoever lands the role will have to live up to her very exacting specifications–Lestat was inspired, at least in part, but Anne’s late husband, Stan Rice.
The series has been in development for about 2 years, after Paramount Television bought the rights to the series.
Originally, Bryan Fuller was supposed to come on board as a showrunner, but he left the project last year. (That dude has been fired or quit more high-profile shows than I can count!) Dee Johnson of Nashville fame was brought on to the project, and word is that they’ll start filming soon.
How soon is debatable. The project was supposed to begin filming last month in Budapest, but given that we’ve heard zero casting news, it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer.
It’s not likely that any of the original cast will return. For one thing, Brad and Tom can’t exactly pull off the “ageless immortal” thing in their 50s.
Not saying that they don’t look good, but time makes fools of us all. There’s not enough dry skin moisturizer in the world to make them look like they’re 30 again. Plus they’re way too famous to show up on Hulu.
Provided that the show survives for at least 2 seasons, we might get to see Louis and Claudia (Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst in the 1994 film) make a return to the screen. However, as Christopher Rice wrote on the show’s official Facebook page, “[t]elevision is a marathon and not a sprint.”
Don’t expect episodes to drop until late next year at the earliest.