TV 'With the Vampire': Anne Rice classic makes its way to AMC

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Dana Simpson / TV Media
Jacob Anderson and Kalyne Coleman in “Interview with the Vampire”

Jacob Anderson and Kalyne Coleman in “Interview with the Vampire”

While vampires, true to their nature, never really died off in popular culture, TV and film trends as of late point to somewhat of a resurgence of the genre. Though this can perhaps be linked to feelings of uncertainty and viral infection amid the pandemic, AMC's newest series was in the works long before the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020.

Based on Anne Rice's 1976 novel of the same name, the eight-episode series "Interview With the Vampire" makes its television debut Sunday, Oct. 2, on AMC and AMC .

The first instalment in Rice's Vampire Chronicles book series, "Interview with the Vampire," perhaps best known for its 1994 film adaptation starring Brad Pitt ("Fight Club," 1999), Tom Cruise ("Top Gun," 1986) and Kirsten Dunst ("Marie Antoinette," 2006), follows a misfit family of vampires living largely in New Orleans. The plot is driven forward by the titular interview, conducted by a journalist (Christian Slater, "Mr. Robot" in the film) and chronicling the details of Louis' (Pitt in the film) second life, from the moments just before he became a vampire up to the present day.

While AMC's new series seems to hold rather true to both the book and the film, "present day" in the TV version will be 2022 (not the '70s or '90s of other versions) and thus is subject to weave new, more modern elements in amid the plot.

In this iteration, Slater's role as journalist Daniel Molloy is taken on by Eric Bogosian, who lends the same fast-talking, no-nonsense attitude to his vocation as he does to his character, politician Gil Eavis, in the HBO super hit "Succession."

The leading roles, meanwhile, are filled in the AMC series by a couple of familiar faces: one from "Game of Thrones" and the other from "The Astronaut Wives Club."

Jacob Anderson, who played Grey Worm in HBO's George R.R. Martin fantasy series, takes on the role of distressed vampire Louis, while Sam Reid, best known for his role as John Glenn in ABC's 2015 historical space drama, assumes the role of Louis' sire Lestat (played by Cruise in the film).

The series follows the same plot as the film, but given its more drawn-out structure, allows for a more detailed exploration of Louis' life as laid out in the novel. One of these expansions is the inclusion of Louis' younger sister, Grace (played by relative newcomer Kalyne Coleman, "Dog Bite," 2021). Described as a calm and commanding presence, Grace has the strength to support her brother through his tumultuous new existence.

Because, as fans of either existing iteration will already know, Louis is tormented by the insatiable bloodlust of his kind. Miserable after the death of his wife and young son, human Louis is stalked by an unpredictable creature of the night. When Louis begins to feel as though he cannot go on living, his night stalker, Lestat, offers him a choice: either die and be rid of his torment or drink Lestat's blood and be turned into a vampire so he may go on living in another form.

Bailey Bass in “Interview with the Vampire”

Bailey Bass in “Interview with the Vampire”

Eventually choosing the latter, Louis is soon forced to confront the nuances of his condition. For a while, he spends time feeding on small creatures — unable to bring himself to commit murder — until he finally gives in and drains a young girl who has just lost her mother and is bearing familiar grief.

Claudia, the young girl in question (played by Dunst in the film), is portrayed by relative newcomer Bailey Bass in the series.

Bass, whose previous credits include "Moon and Sun" (2014), "The Jenkins Family Christmas" (2021) and a 2020 episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," has a number of projects coming down the pipe, from the next three Avatar films to "At That Age," a TV series currently in pre-production, according to IMDb.

From the trailer, Claudia's role also appears to have evolved from the film, hinting at a possible romance with Lestat after she has assumed her vampiric form and lived as an undead tween for several hundred years. While five years old in the novel and played by 10-year-old Dunst in the film, Bass's Claudia is still a girl, though on the cusp of becoming a young woman.

"It was very important for us to shoot in New Orleans, where child labor laws say your actor can only work so many hours," showrunner Rolin Jones ("Weeds") said of the change. "We decided to make her trapped in all the chemical excitements of puberty, and we put our Claudia at 14."

While this certainly isn't the only change to the Vampire Chronicles canon, anyone worried about the integrity of the source material should rest fairly easily knowing author Rice and her son, Christopher Rice, are attached to the series as executive producers. (The pair also collaborated on a 2017 novel called "Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra.")

Other changes include the nature of Lestat and Louis' occupations — they now own brothels instead of plantations — and the influence of modern technology on their un-lives. The interview itself will also likely touch on shifting journalistic standards.

Whether you're new to the saga or a diehard fan, there is plenty to love about AMC's new adaptation of Rice's beloved series. After all, the author did write, "The world changes, we do not, therein lies the irony that kills us."

Experience this changing world through the eyes of the undead when "Interview With the Vampire" premieres Sunday, Oct. 2, on AMC and AMC .