Back in November, we told you that the rights to the Vampire Chronicles series of novels had reverted back to writer Anne Rice, who planned on turning the stories into a television series; previously, they were of course used as the basis for 1994’s Interview with the Vampire and 2002’s Queen of the Damned. With horror being as popular as it is right now on the small screen, now is certainly the time to strike; “A television series of the highest quality is now my dream for Lestat, Louis, Armand, Marius and the entire tribe,” Rice wrote on Facebook in November.
Rice, who remains as passionate as ever about the Vampire Chronicles universe after all these years (the twelfth novel in the core series was just released last year), took part in a Facebook Live Q&A session last night to answer fan questions about the upcoming television series, and we were paying close attention. So if you missed it, here are eight important things we learned!
One of the words Rice repeated throughout the 30-minute Q&A was “integrity,” and it’s clear that she has absolutely no plans on letting her loyal readers down. She promised to provide “what the readers want to see; the characters they want to see and the situations they want to see them in,” and noted that she has rejected several scripts over the years because they failed to remain true to her source material. Furthermore, she has no plans on going to network TV with the series, which is in line with her commitment to integrity. “This is far too transgressive for network,” she said, revealing that she hopes to bring the series to a platform like Amazon, HBO, Starz, Showtime, or Netflix: “We want to be able to do these themes with complete freedom.”
Released in 1985, “The Vampire Lestat” was the second book in Rice’s series, and the plan is for the TV show to begin with that prequel book. Set in 18th century France, the story is told from the point of view of Lestat de Lioncourt, a young man desperate to break free from his life and become an actor in Paris. Of course, he ends up being turned into a vampire by Magnus.
“I want to begin right there and follow the adventures of Lestat through the Chronicles,” Rice said.
If you love the “Interview with the Vampire” story, have no fear, because Rice definitely intends on telling it on the small screen. She says that depending on how many episodes end up being in each season, that story will be told in either Season 2 or Season 3. At the moment, it’s a bit too early to tell exactly how the project is going to come together, as it’s still being developed by Anne and her son Christopher; Anne is doing the outlines, while Christopher is writing the scripts.
The six-novel Lives of the Mayfair Witches series began in 1990 and acts as a companion to The Vampire Chronicles, but Rice says that those crossover characters will most definitely not be appearing in the “Vampire Chronicles” TV series. She explained: “They are part of another franchise that has another development history in Hollywood. I cannot use them.”
When asked if new characters would be injected into the stories for their leap to the small screen, Rice noted that though the major players will remain the same, new peripheral characters may be introduced throughout; and it’s even possible that some of those characters will then find their way into future novels. “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if new characters popped up,” she said.
One of the more interesting questions Rice was asked was in regards to which scenes from her books she most wants to see play out in the series, and her answer was the transformation of Lestat into a vampire. During the stage-by-stage transformation, she hopes to be able to capture “what the world looks like to him” in an innovative way that will bring something new to the world of vampire entertainment. “I don’t think it’s ever been done quite like that,” Rice added.
In “The Vampire Lestat,” Lestat often breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the readers, which could make for some interesting moments in the television series. But Rice isn’t so sure she wants to keep that storytelling device, as she doesn’t want to be beholden to it throughout the entire series. She explained: “I don’t know if I want to go that route. Once you make a commitment to breaking the fourth wall, it can have a huge amount of power, but then you’re locked into that. There’s something to be said for the more traditional way [of telling a story].”
It’s a bit too early in the development process to start talking about when we can expect to see “Vampire Chronicles” on our televisions, but Rice did mention during the Q&A that she’s hopeful production will begin by the end of this year. “We are moving rapidly on the creative side,” she said, adding that scripts will be turned in “very soon.” At the earliest, it’ll arrive in 2018.
Watch the full Q&A session below.