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‘Interview With the Vampire’ Team Explains Changes From the Book in the Finale & Romance

Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire (2022)

In adapting the novel, AMC+’s Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire made some key changes to the already messy dynamic between vampires Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson). Many centered around issues of race that were blended into the narrative when Anderson was cast as Louis. In the finale, another huge addition to a tragic moment highlighted exactly how complex the bond between these two men truly is.

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Spoilers for Interview With the Vampire.

Claudia decides it is time for Lestat to go. His hold over their makeshift family and especially Louis’ heart has become too much for her to handle. With Claudia, the TV series making her slightly older and more world-weary has allowed her own narrative as the “child” in the middle of an abusive relationship that much more interesting. She clearly sees Lestat’s dark hold over Louis as a hindrance to them ever having a life of their own. So, she engages in a game of 4D chess against her maker in order to get him to drink poisoned blood at a party. In the novel on which the show is based, Claudia does it all, including slitting Lestat’s throat, on her own.

In the show, in an emotional moment, Louis is the one who does it, highlighting Louis’s feelings about Lestat and their love language of pain, death, and brutality. Lestat says he’s glad it was him as it happens, and it is such good acting!

“I was a mess,” Anderson said about filming the scene to Variety. “I cried my eyes out… I’m not a method actor, I want to be conscious of what I’m doing. But I kind of lost myself in those scenes. I got very freaked out by the idea of it all ending, and also doing this to Sam — because it means this dynamic is going to change next year. It’s going to be different. It kind of had to be done at my hand, and that was heartbreaking.”

Series creator Rolin Jones explained that this change was part of taking the subtext of the relationship and really making it the emotional focus on the story. “I think [Lestat] accepts that Louis is going to kill him, and understands, very much in that last moment, that he needs to do this,” Sam Reid said in the same Variety interview. “Where he is right now is a very dark, fucked-up place, and you sort of need this iteration of him to die.”

They also decided not to pretend like Lestat was actually dead—a really good choice, because I don’t think any of us want less of Reid’s amazing Lestat. We will be able, now, to maybe include some of his own backstory, which appears in The Vampire Lestat novel, sooner rather than latter.

The finale also validated Rashid/Armand truthers when it was revealed that the character, played by Assad Zaman, are one and the same. We end the season with Louis calling Armand the “love of his life,” meaning that we are going to see Louis go from a powerful white vampire lover, to an even more powerful vampire man of color. It is such a compelling dynamic, especially since, in the novel, Armand has the form of a red-haired boy. Oh no, more redhead erasure.

“They’ve been in a relationship for a long time, these two,” Anderson says. “You have to assume the way Louis is now has a lot to do with his relationship with Armand, probably even more than his relationship with Lestat.”

While it seems very unlikely we are going to get a straightforward adaptation of every novel in the series, Jones has spoken about season one being informed by multiple texts: “[…] we are going to do things that are wildly loyal, and really try to squeeze out every beautiful piece of prose in that second half of the book — and we are going to do some other things the book didn’t do, mostly based on where the books go from here. Books 2, 3 and 6 really inform all the decisions we made in Season 1, and a lot of the decisions we are making in Season 2.”

It will be interesting seeing Armand and Louis’s relationship unfold, especially because there was so much heightened emotion around Louis and Lestat. Knowing Armand was there the whole time during the interview also makes me wonder how much of an unreliable narrator Louis was being? How do you tell the story of your great epic love right beside the person you are calling the love of your life?

Anderson talks about the scene in which Louis and Lestat kiss during the ball, and it really just highlights the passion they both bring to it: “It is this grand pronouncement of love, but it is a mutual one. There are a lot of things going on underneath it. There’s Louis guilt, there’s Lestat knowing he’s going to die. But I think that, in this brief moment, it is just the two of them — and it feels like when it was good.”

Interview With the Vampire’s first season was a lot at times. It was dark, beautiful, wonderfully acted, and at times haunting. While it was not a paint-by-numbers adaptation, the soul was good. And what made it so is that it saw the queerness of the novel and recognized how important it was—the darkness, the light, the highs and lows. In every interview, Reid and Anderson talk about it with respect and reverence. It is great to be in an era where a toxic gay vampire romance can be turned into prestige television. Huzzah.

(via Variety, featured image: Showtime)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

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