AMC’s Interview with the Vampire
I have only watched the first episode of AMC’s take on Anne Rice’s vampires, but I have some mixed feelings. And yes, I understand why some changes were made, and I don’t have a problem with those. I don’t think Louis needs to run a slave-owning plantation in order to tell this particular story. His being a person of color doesn’t faze me either. And I actually appreciate they kept his brother’s death as a key incident on his road toward damnation; it is, imho, a far more interesting origin story than simply losing one’s wife and child. That he was already attracted to Lestat is a nice touch as well.
In fact, it is with Lestat’s character that I thus far have the most grievance.
Again, I’ve only watched one episode, so things may yet change. But this Lestat is not nearly as much fun as he should be. His sense of mischief has been watered down in favor of playing up his intellectual side. He tells Louis he loves him? Uh, hello, will the real Lestat please show himself?
Lestat, as Rice wrote him, has a grand character arc over a long series of books (those last two notwithstanding; I could not finish Prince Lestat and didn’t even try the Atlantis thing). He goes from impulsive brat to thoughtful over, well, centuries and a number of trials. At the time he meets Louis, at least in the book, he is desperate. He has arrived in the New World with his father and needs money and shelter. Louis is wealthy, pretty, and an easy target. The codependency isn’t healthy, and Lestat’s understanding of “love” is largely self-centered and underpinned by insecurity. He thinks he loves Louis, or at the very least he believes he’s doing Louis some kind of favor by turning him. But Lestat really does it for himself, and the relationship falls apart pretty quickly.
Maybe this will happen in this show? What I would kind of like to see, when thinking about how The Vampire Lestat starts, is the story later told from Lestat’s POV. After all, he does not hesitate to call Louis a liar. But what’s strange is that this story, as taken from Louis’ POV, is thus far romanticizing Lestat. Does Louis, as he tells it to Daniel two centuries later, mean to show that he did romanticize Lestat at first? Will things go sideways now and Lestat’s manipulation become clear to him? (It seems like Lestat has already begun systematically removing Louis’ support system, or am I reading too much into it out of a desire for book-version Lestat to appear?) Or have the writers of this show fundamentally changed Lestat’s character? It’s obviously too soon for me to tell; I have one more episode to watch, and another comes out this weekend, I believe. I’ll keep watching—for now. At the very least, I’m curious, which is as good a start as any, I suppose.