Thursday, September 29, 2022

Interview with the Vampire, on AMC

New Orleans really is the perfect place for vampires. It is a city built around nightlife, where they bury their dead above ground. The new series reboot definitely capitalizes on the New Orleans vibe, but it also embraces the homoeroticism of the original novel. This definitely is not Tom Cruise’s Lestat. What was once implied is now explicit in creator Rolin Jones’ Interview with the Vampire, which premieres Sunday on AMC.

Years ago, vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac sat for an ill-fated interview session with rookie reporter Daniel Molloy. Years have passed. Molloy is now an aging journalist, facing his mortality. With the CCP pandemic raging, Molloy agrees to a do-over with Pointe du Lac, meeting him in his luxury Dubai penthouse.

This time around, Pointe du Lac is a Creole vampire, who saved his family fortune through his administration of several Storyville sporting houses. How he met Lestat de Lioncourt hardly requires much explanation. Although de Lioncourt first humiliates Pointe du Lac with his favorite high-class prostitute, they are soon sharing her services. Pretty soon they do not even need her at all. By this time, de Lioncourt has turned his vampire apprentice-lover. However, Pointe du Lac still attempts to maintain ties with his family, despite the increasingly awkward complications of his sexuality and vampirism.

In the film, Pointe du Lac was played by Brad Pitt, which made sense, whereas Cruise portrayed Lestat. Honestly, it was a miracle the director Neil Jordan was able to make that work to the extent that he did. Louis’s new Creole-ness is certainly woke-compatible, but it fits relatively easily with the novel’s themes, further emphasizing Pointe du Lac’s outsider status.

However, the best part about the new series is the older, dramatically more cynical Molloy, now portrayed by Eric Bogosian, who is a major trade-up from Christian Slater. Time after time, Molloy undercuts the eroticism and moral relativism Louis tries to cloak his story in. Repeatedly, he asks tough questions about the vampires’ victims and their bereaved families. Honestly, it is a shame so few real-life journalists demonstrate this kind of integrity and tenacity.

In this case, it really is the telling that makes the tale. Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid look appropriately pretty and creepy as the vampires, but Bogosian gets all the best lines, which the former monologist delivers to maximum effect. At this point, we would be fine if the series ditched the vampires and followed his Molloy’s Carl Kolchak-like exploits instead, but that is not likely to happen (As a bonus, look out for 1980s icon Rae Dawn Chong, as Louis’s mother.)

The first two episodes (provided for review), both helmed by Alan Taylor, clearly favor lush, hedonistic atmosphere over narrative tension, but they never get draggy. You can never get bored in New Orleans. The sex is what it is and there is a lot of it, but Molloy’s attitude cuts through it with don’t-give-a-toss clarity. Recommended for very-adult adult-vampire fans,
Interview with the Vampire starts this Sunday (10/2) on AMC/AMC+.