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TV: James Duff Trying To Conjure Up ‘The Mayfair Witches’

Time for a confession: I’ve never read an Anne Rice book. I really don’t know much about her outside of Interview With A Vampire and Queen Of The Damned – the latter of which is poorly acted crapola in my book – but I know she has a huge following and I’m surprised she hasn’t had more of her work adapted for the big or small screen.

There was talk of an NBC mini-series based on her Mayfair Witches series, consisting of The Witching Hour, Lasher and Taltos, but that fell through after the Peacock lost interest. James Duff, co-creator of TNT’s The Closer, is picking up the reigns, though it’s unknown whether this is going to be a telefilm, mini or traditional series.

“We watch and we are always here” is the motto of the Talamasca, a saintly group with extrasensory powers which has for centuries chronicled the lives of the Mayfairs–a dynasty of witches that brought down a shower of flames in 17th-century Scotland, fled to the plantations of Haiti and on to the New World, where they settled in the haunted city of New Orleans. Rice ( The Queen of the Damned ) plumbs a rich vein of witchcraft lore, conjuring in her overheated, florid prose the decayed antebellum mansion where incest rules, dolls are made of human bone and hair, and violent storms sweep the skies each time a witch dies and the power passes on. Newly annointed is Rowan Mayfair, a brilliant California neurosurgeon kept in ignorance of her heritage by her adoptive parents. She returns to the fold after bringing back Michael Curry from the dead; he, too, has unwanted extrasensory gifts and, like Rowan and the 12 Mayfairs before her, has beheld Lasher: devil, seducer, spirit. Now Lasher wants to come through to this world forever and Rowan is the Mayfair who can open the door. This massive tome repeatedly slows, then speeds when Rice casts off the Talamasca’s pretentious, scholarly tones and goes for the jugular with morbid delights, sexually charged passages and wicked, wild tragedy.



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