There may be a whole lot of Rice — Anne Rice, that is — in your viewing diet in the years ahead, as Variety reports that AMC Networks has acquired the film and TV rights to the best-selling author’s two most famous and extensive series of books.
The home of such other horror TV favorites as The Walking Dead and NOS4A2 has acquired the rights to Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches canons, which encompasses some 18 novels, including titles like the original Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Witching Hour and Lasher. Several of the novels cross over, bringing Rice’s vampires and witches together in one universe, and apparently the plan is to expand upon that idea with AMC’s offerings.
The company will produce adaptations for its own TV networks and streaming services from the Rice material, with the author and her son Christopher acting as executive producers on all. The Rices were reportedly seeking $30-40 million for the rights in perpetuity, meaning that AMC can keep telling tales about the bloodsucker Lestat and the witch Rowan Mayfair for a long time to come.
Rice said in a statement, “It’s always been my dream to see the worlds of my two biggest series united under a single roof so that filmmakers could explore the expansive and interconnected universe of my vampires and witches. That dream is now a reality, and the result is one of the most significant and thrilling deals of my long career.”
Her son Christopher added, “AMC Studios is responsible for creating some of the most iconic television series of the modern era and has, at times, single-handedly defined this era we call ‘peak TV.’ All the members of Team Anne…are both thrilled and comforted to know that some of our most cherished kin, from the vampire Lestat and the witch Rowan Mayfair, to the paranormal investigators at the Order of the Talamasca and the powerful spirit Lasher, are now safely in the hands of these vastly accomplished innovators who possess both global reach and deep reservoirs of experience.”
Rice’s two main series have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, but have only reached the screen twice, both times as films: 1994’s faithful Interview with the Vampire, starring Tom Cruise as Lestat along with Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas, was a box office hit, while 2002’s Queen of the Damned starring Stuart Townsend and the late Aaliyah was a too-loose adaptation that missed with audiences.
Anne Rice reacquired the rights to the books from Warner Bros. in 2016 and announced at the time that a series based on The Vampire Chronicles was going into development. Bryan Fuller did his usual Bryan Fuller routine, signing up as showrunner in early 2018 and departing a short time later, while the project floundered at Hulu and was eventually abandoned.