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Producer Adam O'Byrne Reveals All The Ways Interview With The Vampire Will Deviate From Its Source

The southern vampire genre has come a long way since Anne Rice's 1976 debut novel "Interview With the Vampire," but credit should still be given to the master. Rice made a name for herself in gothic literature with "The Vampire Chronicles" series, the "Lives of the Mayfair Witches," and all subsequent spooky subject matter. But despite her mass popularity and influence on the genre, the onscreen adaptations of the author's work have not always been the best representation.

The 1994 film adaptation "Interview With the Vampire" employed the acting talents of celebrities Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt for lead roles but softened the more risqué elements of the book to appeal to a wider audience. "Queen of the Damned" was even more off the mark, conflating the book of the same name as well as "The Vampire Lestat" (via Vulture). Now AMC is having its turn at adapting the iconic book series. Book readers who have seen the trailer can already tell you there have been significant changes to the source material. Producers may claim that their "Interview With the Vampire" sticks closer with the subject material than previous films, but they have also gone on the record about all the changes they made. 

AMC's version is a retrospective on Anne Rice's entire series

There are many surface-level changes in "Interview With the Vampire" made from the book, including Claudia's (Bailey Bass) age and the time period of the series. But all of these changes come from a simple trail of logic that starts with Daniel (Eric Bogosian), the interviewer. Daniel is significantly older than in the book, but producer Adam O'Byrne had an interesting reason for that.

"We wanted to put a meatier, more aggressive journalist in the room to ask some questions," O'Byrne explained in AMC's behind-the-scenes look at the new show. "But we also, first and foremost, wanted to revere what Anne had made. So we were like: 'Oh, well, what if it's the same guy?'" They solved this interesting question by stating that Daniel had, in fact, interviewed Louis in San Francisco in 1973, like stated in the book. The Daniel in the series is far wiser and experienced when Louis (Jacob Anderson) invites him to be interviewed again. As O'Byrne explains it, 40 years ago, Louis only reflected on the events of the first book. Now the AMC series will have Louis reflect on all related source material in "The Vampire Chronicles." This allows significant changes to be made, all while staying true to the nature of Anne Rice's work.

Lestat is the vampire he was always meant to be

If there is one character in all of Anne Rice's books that reached enviable heights of fame, it is the vampire Lestat. The vain and arrogant character that turns Louis into a vampire shows up prolifically in Rice's series with charm, style, and an outrageous amount of violence. This is an important role to get right, but many may forget that Lestat's first appearance wasn't what we know him as today.

"One thing that I think was very important to everyone was that this version of Lestat wasn't necessarily just the version from the first book," Sam Reid, who portrays the vampire in question, told AMC. Adam O'Byrne went on to explain that the Lestat that is featured in his show is more in line with who Lestat is remembered for in pop culture. In a behind-the-scenes look, O'Byrne holds up Rice's "Interview With the Vampire" and "The Vampire Lestat" in comparison. These were two works about the same character but came out almost a decade apart.

"The Lestat from this book ["Interview With the Vampire"] is very different from the Lestat in this book ["The Vampire Lestat"] and all the rest of the books that go forward after that," O'Byrne reflected. Because Daniel is interviewing Louis in retrospect to all the years they spent together, audiences can now see Lestat as he truly is.

Slight changes were made to the rest of the family

Louis and Claudia make up the rest of the vampiric family residing in New Orleans. The relationship between the two still resembles the close bond they hold in the books, but with slight variations. Though the series picks up in the 1910s instead of the plantation era, producers found a way to connect it to the series.

"Louis comes from money from the plantation that was in this book. His great grandfather had that plantation and it moved down, third or fourth generation," O'Byrne explained to AMC. "And this time period, it was very difficult to be in the sugar business if you were a Black man." Instead of a plantation owner, which would be a hard sell to modern audiences, the creators made Louis a proprietor of sex workers. He cares about the girls he employs, but there is still a darkness that he struggles with. Claudia's changes were made for much more practical reasons. Instead of the five-year-old girl that she is in the books, this "Interview With the Vampire" makes her a 14-year-old girl on the edge of adulthood.

"I think aging Claudia up is a super smart decision," director Alexis Ostrander said in one interview. "For her to be stuck at that age, there's a lot of turmoil and — how is she going to find companionship and how is she going to grow?"