The upcoming Vampire Chronicles series, which briefly flirted with Bryan Fuller as series showrunner, has finally found someone new to fill that position. According to a post from series co-executive producer Christopher Rice, the series showrunner will be Dee Johnson, who was behind seasons 1-4 of Nashville, as well as several other critically acclaimed series. You can read his whole statement below:
How Did Lestat Go from Movies to TV?
The journey from book to films to television for Anne Rice’s legendary series of novels has been a long and winding one. Interview with the Vampire was originally published in 1976, and almost immediately the movies rights were sold. However, the property changed hands many times, going from studio to studio. The transgressive novel, which had pansexual erotic overtones, proved to be too controversial for the studios of the time.
Despite the fact that Hollywood seemed too scared to make this movie accurately, many attempts were made and several different scripts were written. After Rice wrote the first sequel book, The Vampire Lestat, and its follow-up The Queen of the Damned, interest in what was now “The Vampire Chronicles” gained even more traction. Finally, Warner Bros produced Interview with the Vampire as a big budget film in 1994.
The movie was directed by Neil Jordan, and starred superstar Tom Cruise as Lestat, and then up-and-comer Brad Pitt as Louis, the titular interviewed vampire. The film also famously also introduced Kirsten Dunst as the child vampire Claudia. Though it was a big hit, no follow-up film was ever pursued. The property languished at Warner Bros for many years before the company made a relatively low budget sequel to Interview with Queen of the Damned, pretty much just in an effort to retain the rights.
None of the original cast returned, and actor Stuart Townsend replaced Tom Cruise as Lestat. The film combined elements of the second and third novels in the series, but ultimately resembled neither book, leaving most of the fans bitterly disappointed. Only the late singer Aaliyah, who played the titular Queen Akasha, really left any kind of impression. It is only very loosely based on the original novel of the same name.
As vampire mania spread throughout the world thanks to several other fangtastic movies and shows, the rights to The Vampire Chronicles remained somewhat in limbo. In 2014, Universal Pictures gained the film rights to the series, and a reboot was announced from Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. Josh Boone was set to direct, and even completed a script. However, that version never got off the ground either.
While all this was happening, it was becoming clear to the fans, and Rice herself, that the small screen would be a far better place in this day and age for a property like The Vampire Chronicles than movies would ever be. In November of 2016, Rice announced that the rights to the entire series of novels had reverted back to her, and it was her plan to produce a television series based on several of the novels, with herself and her novelist son Christopher Rice producing.
So Who Is Behind the TV Series?
The series is being produced by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, the production company behind acclaimed series like 13 Reasons Why, The Alienist, and The OA. It was announced on July 17, 2018 in The Hollywood Reporter that the show had found a home on the Hulu streaming service. It’s still unknown how many episodes there will be when it finally debuts. Both Anne Rice and her son Christopher Rice will be the show’s executive producers.
What’s This About Bryan Fuller as Showrunner?
Fan favorite creator Bryan Fuller, who was behind such beloved television series as American Gods, Hannibal and Pushing Daisies, was at one point attached to the series as an executive producer. Alas, it was a brief time in the world of the vampires for Mr. Fuller, who grew up a huge fan of the book series, as he decided to leave his post back in January of 2018. A search for a new showrunner is currently on.
Who Is Playing Lestat and the Other Immortals?
Although Anne Rice has frequently gone on her Facebook page and solicited the fans advice when it comes to who should play the vampires in the series, no casting decisions have been made so far. The vampires will obviously have to be played by actors who have that kind of eternally youthful appearance so they look more or less the same age over several potential seasons of a show.
Will The Show Cover All the Books in the Series?
Actually, no. Although there are currently 14 novels in The Vampire Chronicles series, with book number 15 on the way, three of those novels—Merrick, Blackwood Farm, and Blood Canticle—were crossover novels with Anne Rice’s other perennially popular series The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Because the rights to the Mayfair Witches are tied up elsewhere (and may possible become their own television series eventually), those mash-up books won’t be included in the TV version. Considering that Rice herself has stated that she was never happy with how those crossover novels turned out, maybe it is for the best. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t enough in the other 11 novels to make for several seasons of television.
Will Season One Begin with Interview with the Vampire?
— Christopher Rice (@chrisricewriter) May 2, 2018
Nope. The second novel in the series, The Vampire Lestat, will be adapted first. Book number two in the Chronicles actually takes place well before the events of Interview, and since Lestat is going to be the protagonist of the television series, the Rices have decided to start there. The Vampire Lestat was overlooked for Queen of the Damned when it came to the big screen, so this is the Rice’s chance to fix that error.
The second book is long enough to comprise up to two seasons of television, so viewers may not meet fan favorite vampires Louis and Claudia until season three…or even later! Christopher Rice has completed work on the pilot script for the series, whose title “Wolf Killer” suggest the show starts right where book two begins. As seen above, Rice tweeted the cover for the script in May of 2018.
When Will The Series Premiere?
Still unknown. With a Hulu cemented as the series’ new home as of July 2018, we would imagine that the earliest fans could see the series would be in the summer or fall of 2019, depending on how soon the show goes into production. It may debut as late as 2020.
What are you most exited about in regards to Lestat and company making their long awaited live-action comeback? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments.
Images: Warner Bros / Ballantine Books / Anne Rice