Ever since it was first announced, the question following AMC’s Interview with the Vampire around like a dogged familiar has been: how faithful will this series be to Anne Rice‘s classic vampire novel?
Though the first volume in Rice’s epic Vampire Chronicles already received a beloved film adaptation in 1994, the presence of past success doesn’t do much to guarantee future results. Thankfully, however, the first full trailer for the project has now arrived and it should put at least some concerns to bed (or in a coffin). Check out the clip, which just premiered during the show’s SDCC 2022 appearance, below.
As has been long promised by AMC, this really does appear to be a faithful and appropriately atmospheric take on Rice’s great work, albeit with some tweaks. The timeline has been fudged a bit so that Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) can own brothels rather than plantations. And Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) is a little more…well, Lestat. By ripping the priest away from Louie mid-confession to feast on his blood, this Lestat is displaying more of the devil-may-care attitude that the character eventually reveals in the later novels of Rice’s Chronicles. That’s ultimately good news and extra Lestat is good Lestat.
More important than Lestat’s bloody face or a period-appropriate depiction of New Orleans, however, is that this trailer finally gives us a look at one of Rice’s best characters – a character who has not yet appeared in any of the show’s marketing.
In his conversation with Den of Geek, Interview showrunner Rolin Jones called the eternally young vampire, Claudia, Rice’s “greatest creation.” We’re inclined to agree as Claudia is not only charismatic but also represents one of the first times that vampire literature truly grappled with what it meant to never age.
In Rice’s version of Interview with the Vampire, Claudia is an angel-faced five-year-old girl with long curly hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. In the year 1794, Louis comes across Claudia grieving over her mother’s dead body. Though Louis tries to stay a sort of vampiric vegetarian, feeding on only small animals as opposed to humans, he’s unable to contain his beastly urges upon seeing something so tragically innocent and he bites into Claudia’s neck.
Lestat then turns Claudia into a vampire so that he, Louis, and the girl can form a perverse little family. Spookily, Claudia’s vampiric body never ages so that even as her mind matures, she always resembles a five-year-old child. Rice wrote Claudia into Interview with the Vampire as she was still grieving the loss her daughter who died of acute granulocytic leukemia in 1970, shortly before she turned six years old (just like Claudia).
Interview with the Vampire‘s concept of a “forever-child” has proven to be a powerful one with many other vampire properties since experimenting with age-locked vamps. The 1994 film’s version of Claudia was played by a then 10-year-old Kirsten Dunst.
As this trailer reveals, AMC’s Interview with the Vampire has opted to age up Claudia a bit more than both the novel and the film’s version.
“It was very important for us to shoot in New Orleans, where child labor laws say your actor can only work so many hours,” Jones says. “We decided to make her trapped in all the chemical excitements of puberty, and we put our Claudia at 14.”
Still, Claudia at age 14 (played by Bailey Bass) looks to be no less terrifying or unnerving than Claudia at age 5. In this trailer alone, we see the young vampire kill a local cop, confront her own monstrous existence in terror, and of course: smile serenely while covered in blood. It’s truly all the greatest hits of being a teenage vampire.
To fully succeed, Interview with the Vampire will have to get a lot of things right beyond only its characters. Based on this brief first glimpse though it looks like the show is at least on the right track.
Interview with the Vampire premieres Oct. 2 on AMC and AMC+.