Where to Stream It? AMC+
Starring: Sam Reid, Jacob Anderson, and Eric Bogosian
Created By: Rolin Jones
The pilot episode was screened for this review.
“In throes of increasing wonder…”
Just in time for Halloween, AMC gives us a remake of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and it is definitely a remake worth watching. Sam Reid stars as Lestat de Lioncourt and Jacob Anderson as Louis de Point du Lac. The two make an intriguing pair — one with all the chemistry of lovers and the emotional explosiveness of enemies.
While they share a common prey, and a thirst for something more out of life than what is offered, morally, they are polar opposites. Lestat, the older of the two, feels no remorse or compunction for feeding on humans. We are a lesser species.
In contrast, Louis whose roots run deep in New Orleans has experienced a different family life than Lestat’s brutal one. He has his troubled brother whom he loves most of all, his sister who is about to marry, and his mother who lost her husband five years earlier.
“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”
That is to say, Louis’ choice of friends overshadows his relationship with his family.
Now the head of the family, he must keep his family afloat after his father’s sugar cane business failed. Unfortunately, there are few options for “a man of his complexion” as he would say. He ends up opening several houses of ill repute in order to keep the family in the manner of living to which they’d become accustomed and letting go of the ties that bind fills him with deep and lasting sorrow.
The death of his brother for which his mother unfairly blames him pushes Louis to embrace Lestat and his new life. Through his grief and despair, he emerges as a new “person.” Little does he know, his troubles are just beginning.
This is where the story emerges as a fully fleshed-out design. What some today refer to in pejorative terms as “woke” politics in storytelling is actually great storytelling through the eyes of someone we don’t usually hear from.
In this story, the perspective of “Other” is told through Louis whose family history and experiences only add to the story, not detract from it. His experience as a Black man in the South trying to compete with White men in business adds dimension to his character and the story as a whole.
Add to that his homosexuality and he has huge social and religious hurdles blocking his way to living his best life.
New Orleans Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Hot
The chemistry between Lestat and Louis is fiery. Sam Reid as Lestat smolders and burns; his love and lust for Louis blaze leaving nothing untouched or unexpressed. Louis for his part walks the thin line between family figurehead and quiet rebel. Outwardly, he appears to be, to some, a “clever negro” doing well for himself. Inwardly, he burns with a desire to destroy all those who see him as inferior.
And who can really blame him? He has already been living a life in the shadows of society even before he became a vampire. Despite his intellect, ingenuity, and drive, he’ll always be just a “clever negro,” even in New Orleans.
The words flow like liquid love, some undeniable ambrosia, the answer to every unspoken wish and desire. Lestat’s talent lies in seeing the truth of someone, down to their very soul, and then reflecting it back to them. He does this for Louis and in doing so saves him from living a life that isn’t his. As Lestat says, “Be all the beautiful things you are and be them without apology.” But what he doesn’t say is that here in this world, everything comes with a cost, even for vampires.
The older and much wiser Louis leads us through this story step by step, as he says, “Let the story seduce you.” And it does. Looking back he retraces his experiences and lays them bare for the journalist played by Eric Bogosian— a bare truth told with beautiful description.
One of my favorite parts of the narration is when Louis is talking about the moment in the church when he first drinks Lestat’s blood. He says that it was “…as if some enormous creature were coming through a dark and alien forest. A huge drum…that I could feel in my veins…I opened my eyes and it was then that I realized that the drum was my heart. And the other drum had been his…And we sat there for some time, in throes of increasing wonder.”
As a tear of blood falls from his eye, he pronounces it to be the end of the story and then the beginning.