‘Interview With the Vampire’: Jacob Anderson & Sam Reid Break Down the Dark Gift Scene (VIDEO)
Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones) and Sam Reid (The Newsreader) take on Anne Rice‘s iconic characters Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt in the adaptation, with Eric Bogosian (Succession, Talk Radio) as journalist Daniel Molloy, and Bailey Bass (Avatar: The Way of Water) as their fledgling vampire daughter, Claudia. Anderson and Reid stopped by the TV Insider office in New York to dish on their bloody tale. And our interview with the vampires, above, takes viewers behind the scenes of the dark, thrilling moment in the series premiere when Lestat offers Louis the dark gift.
The sultry series stays loyal to Rice’s books while updating some plot details for modern audiences. The story is set in 1910 New Orleans instead of the 1800s, Louis is a Black Creole man rather than White Creole (which, as Anderson details above, accurately reflects the demographic of New Orleans in the show’s chosen time period), and Claudia is a teenager rather than a young child (truly, the right choice). The most unique twist the series offers: the San Francisco interview has already happened. Now, 50 years later, the aged and ill (and many years sober) Daniel has been offered a do-over by Louis, now living in Dubai. Both of them hope the time passed will allow them to produce a better interview than before.
Anderson tells TV Insider that any good book-to-screen adaptation should make some changes.
“Rice’s books are so singular, they’re so their own thing. I feel like if you’re going to adapt work like that, you have to do something with it that justifies its existence as a show or in a different format because the books are still there. We want people to go and read the books. It’s not just a one-one adaptation. It’s like what are the themes and the feelings from the original source material that can something about how we live today? I personally don’t enjoy just a direct adaptation, but I think we’re very faithful to the feelings and the characters.”
Having seen five episodes of Season 1 (Season 2 has already been green-lit), it’s clear the creators took tender care of the source material. In fact, viewers will find the series is more loyal to Rice’s book than the 1994 movie with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise as Louis and Lestat. The movie left out some key basic elements and made large changes to others. The blood tears are back in this show, as is Louis’ family (including his brother, Paul), and Louis and Lestat’s romance is the crux of the entire story. The movie was filled with homoerotic subtext, but Rice herself was always clear that the men were, in fact, a couple and parents to Claudia.
“People say that we’ve made the subtext text, but actually we’ve just gone back to the text,” Reid says of the undead lovers. He also feels that the structural differences between books and shows require creators to fill in some blanks, but above all else, “the essence of the show and the essence of the characters” is paramount. “It’s very hard to translate a thing from a book to a television series. You need to find the private moments that characters have that don’t necessarily exist in a book series that leads them to make one decision after another … And I think [series creator Rolin Jones] has done that really well.”
As book fans know, most of the plot occurs after Lestat turns Louis into a vampire. This moment in the series premiere is brutal, bloody, and teeming with supernatural seduction. Reid reveals that was one of the first scenes they filmed. It took three days to shoot and kicked the months-long filming process.
“We arrived in this amazing church in the middle of nowhere, really. It was a bizarre suburb that felt very removed. You walked in, and they had all of these porcelain pews, which they light on fire, and they were just continually burning. There was this black, acrid smoke, and so everyone was covered in soot,” he describes. “You’d be like cleaning the soot out of your nose and you had these contact lenses and blood and stunts. And then at the same time, we had this moment where we had to make this connection that sets up the premise of like Louis and Lestat giving it a go [laughs].”
“We shot that scene out of sequence,” Anderson adds. “It’s probably the first time that you and I had to be like, ‘OK, what are we doing? How do we make this flow?'”
“We had to make a lot of decisions as well, like how do you bite?” Reid chimes in.
Learn more about the dark gift scene and other creative decisions behind this sumptuous drama in the full video interview, above. Interview With the Vampire debuts one episode on AMC on October 2, with the first two episodes available on its accompanying streaming service.
Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire, Series Premiere, Sunday, October 2, 10/9c, AMC & AMC+