Interview with the Vampire: How the BBC show differs to past adaptations

Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid);Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid);Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire has been adapted for a modern audience, with the drama premiering on BBC Two on Thursday, 12 October.

The TV series stars Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid in the iconic roles of Louis de Pointe du Lac and the beguiling Lestat de Lioncourt, with Anderson's Louis telling the story of how they met, how he came to be Lestat's vampire companion and their experience taking in a child vampire named Claudia (Bailey Bass).

Read more: Our pick of the 9 best vampire films of all time, from Thirst to Interview with the Vampire (Evening Standard, 6-min read)

But while this narrative may sound familiar to those who have read Rice's 1976 novel, the show is not entirely what fans will expect either.

How the BBC's Interview with the Vampire differs to past adaptations

Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) is the main character of Anne Rice's in The Vampire Chronicles (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

Rice's novel redefined gothic literature and the vampire genre as a whole, and the author followed up her hit with a further 12 books with all of them coming under the banner of The Vampire Chronicles.

These novels often revolve around Lestat, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century and later comes to meet Louis along the way.

But Louis is not the same man he is in the novel, or the 1994 film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. In the BBC version, which was originally created by AMC, the character is of Black Creole descent.

Kirsten Dunst kissed Brad Pitt in Neil Jordan's 1994 gothic horror 'Interview With the Vampire'. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt depicted Louis and Claudia in 1994 gothic horror 'Interview With the Vampire'. (Warner Bros)

In the original novel, Louis is from Louisiana in the 1800s but the story has now been transferred to the Jazz Age of the early 1900s and is set in New Orleans. Claudia, too, is an African American girl, which is different to how the character has been depicted in the past — in the 1994 film the role was played by a young Kirsten Dunst.

Despite the changes, some aspects of Louis' character have remained the same though. Rolin Jones, who is the co-creator and showrunner of the series, spoke about why the creative team decided to modernise Interview with the Vampire, and what they did to make it stand out.

"Time periods were another way to differentiate the series from the previous adaptation," Jones has said.

"You still want to be reverential to the author, so we looked for ways to maintain plot and character similarity and in that way, honour the source material.

Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) is depicted as a Black Creole man in BBC's Interview with the Vampire (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

"Louis still owns a plantation, but the gothic romance moved from the 18th century to the next sexy, exciting time period in New Orleans, which was when jazz was coming up, in the early 1900s. Given that environment, it wasn't really hard to say, 'why don't we make Louis Black Creole and see what that does?'"

As well as changing Louis' origins, setting and timeline the story is also different in that it is more overtly homoerotic to Rice's original books, which had undertones of it but never saw Louis and Lestat engage in a romantic relationship on paper, nor does this happen in the 1994 film.

Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
BBC's Interview with the Vampire focuses more on the homoerotic nature of Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and Louis de Pointe du Lac's (Jacob Anderson) relationship (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

The journalist that Louis is telling his story to in Rice's novel is also only referred to as "boy" by the disillusioned vampire, but is portrayed in the series as an older man named Daniel (Eric Bogosian). The character did have an encounter with Louis when he was younger, which is a reference to the interview from the novel.

Jones also shared that consideration was taken into how the story approached Claudia, as a young girl forever stuck in puberty and dealing with difficult issues now she's a vampire.

"Claudia is one of the most aggressively interesting characters; a young vampire’s awakening. But with an eye toward today’s sensibilities, we looked at another very challenging moment in a young girl's life," Jones said of the character.

Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) is depicted as an older character in Interview with the Vampire (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

"If you suddenly transformed into a vampire as a puberty-ridden teen when all the chemicals are going off, that's the moment you're frozen in time?!

"That provided an opportunity to see something exciting and different. Again, events and things that she's going through are very similar to the novel. We just hit a little pivot there."

Jones went on: "We've kept all the novel’s plot, but how we get to some things are altered by two fundamental changes: parts of Lestat from future novels and setting the story in the early 1900s."

Claudia (Bailey Bass) in Interview with the Vampire (BBC)
Interview with the Vampire also takes Claudia's (Bailey Bass) story into consideration (BBC) (BBC/AMC)

Although some people may have felt it'd be a daunting task to adapt a book as beloved as Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Jones said that the team felt it was an opportunity to do something different.

"Fans will always have the novel and there is the movie, which everybody embraced and was very popular," Jones admits.

"But there’s no reason to repeat that. People who have read Anne’s books closely will quickly figure out how much love and reverence are woven into the first season.

"AMC has opened up and allowed us to go into these darker places in this novel. It's really super exciting."

Interview with the Vampire premieres on Thursday, 12 October on BBC Two.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo TV UK at