Casting Lestat in the Interview with the Vampire movie was controversial. When filmmakers went with Tom Cruise, author Anne Rice herself protested. She eventually came around. Rice died just as the AMC series Interview with the Vampire was casting. Sam Reid plays Lestat on Interview with the Vampire, but feels he has a unique advantage that Cruise didn’t have in 1994.
Reid was on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel on Aug. 10. When the inevitable question about the pressure of comparison to Cruise came up, Reid took it in stride. Interview with the Vampire premieres Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. on AMC and streams on AMC+.
Sam Reid was a fan of Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’ before the movie
Reid would have been 7 years old in 1994. He didn’t say whether he saw it then or later on home video, but clearly he was a fan of the Cruise movie and the Rice books.
“I was alive when the movie came out and I love that movie,” Reid said. “I love that movie and I’ve always loved the work of Anne Rice, so I was very excited to be a part of reigniting it. Just even as a fan of the books, I was excited about the fact that it was going to be made at all.”
Tom Cruise was working blind as Lestat in ‘Interview with the Vampire’
By 1994, Rice had already written four vampire novels including The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. Still, there would be 18 in total before she died. AMC bought all of them and plans to adapt them eventually. Reid said he can begin playing Lestat with everything Rice wrote about him later, most of which neither Cruise nor Rice herself knew in 1994.
What we do in this adaptation in this version of Interview with the Vampire is look at an entire series of books. Because when that film came out, she was still writing them, so they didn’t have a perspective of the entire work and now we do have that perspective. And so when we’re looking at character arcs, we’re looking at a much broader scale. So yeah, it’s valid and I love what Tom Cruise did as Lestat and I think he should be loved and remembered for that role, and so I’m never trying to touch that. It’s a huge honor to take on this extraordinary part created by Anne, but we are doing a different show. We are actually looking at all of her books, so it is a different feeling than what that 1994 film did.Sam Reid, Television Critics Association panel, 8/10/22
Anne Rice made vampires human
Reid spoke further about the unique vampires Rice created. He sees the human foibles she gave them in Interview with the Vampire and other books.
“Anne Rice is probably responsible for the reason why vampires are so universally loved, because they are so human,” Reid said. “They’re the most human monsters. They reflect our own humanity back, they talk about our own darkest desires, and they’re constantly questioning their existence, why they are here, because they are motive-conscious demons, who don’t really ever get to die. So I think it’s Anne Rice really who made these complex, beautiful creatures.”