After countless attempts to make a film of Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, Hollywood succeeded with Irish director Neil Jordan at the helm.
The film’s success was in no small part due to the starry casting of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as – respectively – the aristocratic and immortal vampire Lestat, and his chosen acolyte, Louis.
The film begins in San Francisco with a reporter (Christian Slater) interviewing the fetching Louis, a modern-day vampire who narrates the story of his life.
That takes us back to Louisiana in 1791, where 24-year-old plantation owner Louis – grieving over the death of his wife – submits to the magnetic Lestat, who turns him into a vampire (because he likes pretty company and needs a place to stay).
Louis torches his plantation and moves to New Orleans with Lestat, where his hopelessly immortal life takes on a new meaning with the arrival of the cherubic waif, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), who turns out to be deadlier than the vicious Lestat.
Thus begins a bizarre saga of blood, bodies and bordellos that gets more intriguing when the scene changes to Paris, where orgiastic proceedings at the Theatre des Vampires, led by the irresistibly charismatic Armand (Antonio Banderas), add a new twist to the tale.
Rice initially denounced the choice of Cruise (Daniel Day-Lewis was the original choice, but he turned the part down), then published a fulsome change of heart in Variety, declaring “the charm, the humour and invincible innocence which I cherish in my beloved hero Lestat, are still alive in Tom Cruise’s courageous performance”.
This “courageous” performance was reputed to be worth over $10 million in salary and bonuses to Cruise, plus a percentage.
The undeniably stylish film lacks emotional depth, suffers noticeable long boring periods, and offers some horrific blood-sucking sequences.
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