Entertainment Weekly: '...Step into the savage garden'

Published 17 October 2022 in Insights

Entertainment Weekly

'Interview With the Vampire premiere recap: Step into the savage garden'

By Sara Netzley

Entertainment Weekly - TV

Published 02 October 2022

The AMC adaptation of Anne Rice's beloved 'Vampire Chronicles' gets off to a bloody good start thanks to the crackling chemistry between leads Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid.

Welcome to New Orleans in 1910, where a gay Black man struggles to conceal his true nature from a society that refuses to accept him as he is.

And welcome to Dubai in 2022, where that same man is now an immortal who's amassed enough wealth to live in luxurious ennui as the world around him succumbs to rage and plague.

Adapting a beloved property like Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles' is tricky enough, but layer in modernization, a major era shakeup, and new backstories for beloved characters, and AMC's 'Interview With the Vampire' was facing an uphill climb. Yet it's one the pilot scales with the ease of a vampire floating in the air to sink his fangs into his new human lover. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) has seen it all. Done it all. The drugs, the booze, the epic blowups with management over his gritty articles. (We learn all this from the pitch-perfect ad for his MasterClass-ish online learning course, and if that doesn't toss you right back to the start of the pandemic, I don't know what will.)

Daniel conducted an interview in 1973 that left him with a messy scar on his neck and an unbelievable story that didn't make it into his memoir. And when he receives a package of audio cassettes from that night, he gets on a plane to Dubai in the middle of a global pandemic despite his Parkinson's diagnosis.

Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) has summoned Daniel to finish what "boyish youth" prevented them from completing half a century ago, and Daniel arrives at Louis' palatial Dubai penthouse to find the preternaturally beautiful, spooky-eyed vampire living like reclusive royalty behind floor-to-ceiling UV-protected glass.

Their original sit-down ended with Louis attacking Daniel after he accused Louis of forgetting what human life was like. ("You were disrespectful," Louis scolds, to which Daniel replies, "I was 'high'.") But Louis and the world have both changed, and he's ready to try again.

So he takes Daniel (and us) back to New Orleans in 1910 — the show wisely bypasses the 18th century setting of Rice's 1976 novel, with all the plantations and enslavement that comes with it — where he's working as a pimp to keep his family afloat after the death of his father, who frittered away their sugar cane riches.

Human Louis is earthy and rough in a way the vampire we've just met is not as he deals with an outraged working girl and an unruly john. Afterward, he has an altercation in the street with his fervently religious brother Paul (Steven Norfleet), who's battling mental illness in an era ill-equipped to help him. And who's that watching their disagreement, which ends with Louis drawing Chekhov's sword cane? It's an ethereally beautiful blond man who's looking at Louis like he's quite the snack.