All too often, adaptations of a famous work completely miss the mark. Fortunately, this is not one of those times. Instead, AMC takes Anne Rice’s classic vampire story and gives it a stunning makeover, keeping the best parts and fixing all the important problems. What’s more, the show is in a unique meta-conversation with both the book and movie. What does that mean? Listen and find out!


Generously transcribed by Suzanne. Volunteer to transcribe a podcast.

Chris:You’re listening to the Mythcreants podcast with your hosts Oren Ashkenazi, Wes Matlock, and Chris Winkle. [opening song]

Chris: You’re listening to the Mythcreants podcast. I’m Chris. 

Oren: And I’m Oren. 

Chris: And today Oren is going to interview me about my undead life. But by interview, I mean only flattery. So you can ask questions about how awesome are you, Chris? And I will say yes, I am very awesome indeed. 

Oren: Wow, that’s just such an awesome rule. Like, it’s amazing. It must be because you’re such a cool undead vampire that you come up with such awesome ideas. 

Chris: So that is basically the original Interview with the Vampire book, right? We’re going to talk about Interview with the Vampire in particular in the new AMC TV show adaptation. Content notice, this show features intimate partner abuse. So we are going to discuss that depiction. We will also have spoilers. It is a very great show. So if you’re worried about it being spoiled, you might want to go watch it. 

Oren: You could just go watch it. Can’t imagine why you’d be listening to us if you have the option of watching Interview with the Vampire, the TV show. I presume you’ve already done that. And now you’re here looking for some more vampire content. 

Chris: But what about their Interview with the Vampire related podcast tie-in that they keep advertising with the show? Yeah, we love this show. But no, we don’t really care about your tie-in podcast, AMC. 

Oren: That was so weird. It’s like, here, go listen to our show podcast. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are interested in that. But we are the wrong audience for it. In fact, that was actually one of the weirdest things at the beginning was when I thought that the beginning of the show was another ad. Because the beginning of the show is Daniel doing an ad for his MasterClass program. 

Chris: Yeah, yeah. 

Oren: It was so seamless that I thought another commercial had just started playing. 

Chris: I thought it was a MasterClass commercial that was like, oh, can we skip forward? And I think maybe we did or I just didn’t look because I need to go back and watch that now. It’s too convincing. Yeah. 

Oren: It felt so good to me, too, because MasterClasses, in my opinion, are not worth the money. I think they’re scams. Not intentional, but I think they’re just not worth your money. And I just love how he does this ad and then afterwards, he’s clearly like, I hate myself. 

[Chris laughs]

Oren: That was very gratifying to me personally. 

Chris: So before we get into the details of the AMC adaptation, I was hoping that we could talk about the book and then the movie. Because this is very much an adaptation that makes commentary and is engaged in discussion with the previous versions of the story, shall we say. And you definitely get more from it by having consumed the book and watched the movie. I think that newcomers can also enjoy it, for sure. I don’t think that you have to have consumed the previous works, but I think that matters. So should we start with the book? 

Oren: Yeah. I mean, book bad. I didn’t really like the book. 

Chris: Yeah. I mean, the thing about the book is that it absolutely depended on the novelty of being a vampire and describing in intimate detail a vampire’s life. As you can imagine, that does not have as much novelty now as it did when the book first came out. That’s basically the biggest appeal of it. It doesn’t have a throughline. The plot just kind of meanders along. And Lestat is just not who you probably imagine him to be. He’s not the same person as he is in the popular imagination. 

Oren: He’s just an asshole. He’s just a weird asshole. 

Chris: But also a pathetic asshole. He doesn’t have the charm. He’s not slick. His human father is hanging around. 

Oren:For some reason, no adaptation of this book has ever kept that part. He just has his human dad traveling around with him for some reason. 

Chris: Louis is not nearly as angsty in the book as he is in the movie. He’s just kind of insufferable and pretentious. 

Oren: I don’t know. I guess it depends. I would define him in the book as being really angsty, but sanctimoniously is the thing that makes Louis in the book so hard to deal with. He’s angsting, but also just being terrible while he’s doing it. He has half-baked philosophy that doesn’t make any sense. And he’s constantly going on about how, oh, how can people do bad things? Om nom nom nom nom nom nom. And he murders somebody. But the horror of doing bad things. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. That’s how he is in the book. In the movie, they changed that and just had him be one angsty boy. He’s not sanctimonious like he is in the book. He doesn’t do a lot of weird half-baked vampire philosophy. 

Chris: He’s much more intense about his angst in the movie, I feel. I feel like he’s more kind of contemplative about his angst in the book. Louis is a slave owner in both the book and the movie. It’s very racist. It’s not great. It’s very bad. 

Oren: Eugh. It’s not good. 

Chris: Yeah, it’s not good. In the book, Claudia is like five when she’s turned. 

Oren: Seven, I thought. 

Chris: Or seven. She’s real young. There is sexual subtext between all of the characters, which is extremely gross in Claudia’s case. 

Oren: Yeah, it’s not good. 

Chris: And then our interviewer is just a boy. I think he’s just called Boy. I don’t think he has a name. 

Oren: Nope, nope. He’s just Boy. 

Chris: He’s really just there to be the audience that Anne Rice wants to have and to be like, oh, Louis, you’re just so cool. 

Oren: Talk about the world’s least necessary framing device. Most framing devices are unnecessary, but I honestly think you could probably take him out and then just start the story with Louis describing being a vampire. And I don’t think people would even notice.

Chris:That’s par for the course with framing devices, but yes, you could absolutely do it in this book. 

Oren: I don’t think people would even notice that something was missing. 

Chris: That’s the original book. We have these characters that are just not nearly as good, especially Lestat. So it’s weird, in fact, that Anne Rice decided to make later books about Lestat because he is nothing notable, nothing to write home about in Interview with the Vampire, the book. 

Oren: I get why she would pick Lestat over Louis. It’s like, all right, because Louis is over. New book, who dis? Louis is just such an obnoxious character with nothing really going on after the end of the first book. Lestat, at least in some sections of the book, is claimed to be cool. The book claims he’s suave. He’s not. The description of him is not suave. But, I can imagine how Anne Rice would see him that way. The movie is interesting because the movie did away with Lestat being just a pathetic asshole and made him all suave and dark and cool. But it also made him not an abuser anymore, which raises the big question of why does Louis want to get away from him in the first place? Right? 

Chris: Mm-hmm. Yeah. We could understand that Lestat was such an asshole in the book. We could understand why Claudia and Louis needed to get away from him, why they would have trouble doing so, and ultimately why they would decide to kill him. But in the movie, he’s so charismatic. He doesn’t seem particularly abusive. They do escalate things between Lestat and Claudia where they no longer like each other. But it’s a little bit forced. Again, we only have a movie length. It’s definitely rushed. It’s just a little strange that it goes that far. We don’t really have the same motivation for killing Lestat that we do in the book. We still have loads of sexual subtext in the movie. 

Oren: Although less with Claudia, thankfully. 

Chris: Yes. I’m not going to say it’s devoid of Claudia though, I think. We still have a few lines from the book that are like, it’s weird for a daughter to refer to her father as my love. That’s kind of a weird thing. That would be a weird thing. We still have that in the movie. But it’s definitely cleaned up a lot from the book, for sure. Obviously, there’s still a lot of chemistry between Lestat and Louis. 

Oren: That’s the main attraction of the movie, right? 

Chris: Yeah. We got a bunch of really just gorgeous men, the most gorgeous male actors we could find and dress them all up as vampires and then had them act like they really wanted to have sex with each other. 

Oren: Right. You can just imagine they’re doing that anytime they’re not on screen. Because we’re never going to say it on screen because it’s the 90s. But that’s what we want you to think. 

Chris: The interviewer is still pretty obnoxious. He’s a little older, but he’s not much better. 

Oren: Yeah, he’s still technically in the story. 

Chris: So basically the appeal of the movie is the glamorous visuals and the A-list actors. Great acting. It tries to deal with the lack of throughline. It cuts some parts out, which is good. Like they don’t delve into Eastern Europe to see a different kind of vampire. 

Oren: Yeah, we never meet the zombie vampires. Real loss, if you ask me. 


Chris: But at the same time, it can’t quite get past the fact that the book doesn’t really have a throughline. So it just has kind of an awkward tension sag in the middle before it gets going again. But it did what it could as a movie. Which brings us to our AMC adaptation. 

Oren:Which is like a one in a generation adaptation. This almost never happens. 

Chris: Yeah, this is a fantastic adaptation. It’s funny because I had to remember that the big draw of this adaptation was that the gay subtext is actually text. Louis and Lestat are actually in a romantic relationship explicitly because it’s so natural in the story. I had basically forgotten that this was considered the big deal about this adaptation, that this was a big change. The big thing that the adaptation was largely advertised on in many corners because it’s just so obvious. Like, of course they are. Of course they’re a couple. 

Oren: Yeah, it just seemed very normal. I mean, extremely sexy, but not something that I was shocked by, right? 

Chris: I have to say, The Guardian had this review of the AMC adaptation that’s like, oh, you know, I think something is lost when you change subtext to text. And it’s like, oh, shut up, Guardian. This is why I don’t give you money. 

Oren: Yeah, something is lost. It’s just not a thing I care about losing. 

Chris: If subtext is so great, why don’t we just take all of the heterosexual relationships and make them all subtext? You know, so we don’t lose anything. 

Oren: The thing that is lost is heterosexuals being comfortable. That’s what we lost. 

Chris: Well, as a heterosexual myself, I would like to see two sexy guys actually be in a relationship. 

Oren: Yeah, well, there’s that too. People have some weird takes on Anne Rice. I saw one person complaining that this new show is bad because Louis isn’t a slave owner anymore, which means he’s not a monster before he becomes a vampire. And that the point of the book was that he was already a monster. No, that’s not the point of the book. 

Chris: No, that’s definitely not the point of the book. 

Oren: The book doesn’t care that he was a slave owner. It does not condemn him for that. So just the fact that he’s not a slave owner anymore is a huge upgrade. 

Chris: It’s definitely a glorification of him being a slave owner. It plays into the sort of romantic notion of those southern plantation owners, which is very gross. The movie even has a slave that’s like, oh, master, I’m so concerned about you. Oh, it’s gross. That’s why it was so great that Louis is Black in the AMC adaptation. 

Oren: And they moved it forward into the early 1900s instead of the late 1700s. So we get to see the Black business owners in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. Super cool. It’s kind of unfortunate that big budget prestige dramas have become people’s main education about African American history. But until we catch up in the schools, this isn’t a bad place to learn. 

Chris: And instead, Louis runs brothels, which still allows him to question the morality of running brothels, right, and still give some of that there. But we don’t have to have him be a slave owner. 

Oren:You can see the strain of ruthlessness that he has had to get, right, because this whole world is arrayed against him. He’s had to do hard things to succeed, which is important and part of his character and something that he wrestles with after he becomes a vampire. 

Chris: It’s really interesting to see how being a vampire, to some degree, helps Louis deal with oppression, but he still can’t entirely escape it. It just gives him more privilege and power in some areas that he can use to cope, but he’s still affected by that oppression, because vampires to some degree have to deal with society. I thought that was a really good thing that they did with the show actually, having that balance of, okay, the vampires, yes, they can overpower any individual human, but there’s still going to be trouble if they incite a mob, for instance. 

Oren: They can’t just reveal themselves and be like, bow before us mortals, right? Like they still have to remain hidden, which is about as good a justification for the masquerade as you’re ever going to get. 

Chris: Yeah, just about as good. With only a few vampires, we can basically get away with that. The other thing is the plot is handled really well. I have to say the throughline problem is neatly solved just by using a TV show and dividing the plot into seasons, because the plot of the book just works much better as two arcs instead of one, because we have the whole deal with Lestat as our first season arc, and we haven’t gotten to season two yet, but the stuff in Paris with the other vampires seems like a natural second season. Again, the story works much better as a part one and a part two than it does as one story, which the movie had to condense into one. 

Oren: It’s too bad because if the movie was made now, they would realize they could turn the book into two movies and get twice as much money. 


Oren: But they hadn’t started doing that back in the early 90s. The ability to squeeze money out of a franchise had not advanced far enough yet. 

Chris: I have to say, spending an entire season with Lestat just gives enough space to make a really intimate drama. We’ve got a couple episodes with just Louis and Lestat getting a really close look at them and their relationship, and then we bring in Claudia and spend some time with her. I would have to say that’s probably the weakest point of the season. Claudia’s not a terrible character, but she takes some time to warm up mostly because of this age dissonance she has where she’s supposed to be a child who then internally gets older because she’s a vampire and is immortal, but doesn’t outwardly age. I think that there was a little bit of tension there in how do we depict this, where she seems young at first to contrast with how she is older, but people don’t want to cast an actress usually that is underage because then you have child labor laws. 

Oren: Right, and of course she would physically age over the course of production, and that’s a huge pain. A friend pointed out, I think I mentioned this in my article that she’s supposed to be 14, she looks 19, and she talks like she’s 7. That gets smoothed over pretty quickly when some in-universe time passes, but at the beginning it’s a little bit iffy on her character. 

Chris: She still has this central problem of wanting to grow into an adult physically and never being able to do that. I have to say with the current actress being a little older, it’s just not very convincing. When I see her it’s, like, well, I mean, yeah, she might be a little smaller than she would be otherwise. She might have grown a little bit more, but there are plenty of women who are that small, so it just doesn’t seem like a huge issue. 

Oren: Her arc in this is much more about escaping from Lestat than it is about wanting to become an adult. They still have that in the story, it just doesn’t work quite as well. It’s not quite as compelling as the fact that she wants to escape and that there’s conflict because Lestat is jealous of the fact that Louis cares about her because Lestat wants Louis all to himself. There’s all of that. Lestat sees her as his possession the same way he sees Louis, and that part of the story is beautiful and works very, very well. 

Chris: It’s interesting to see that even though it’s a very intimate drama, the story always moves forward. It’s never repetitive. Every episode we have a different situation, they’re in a different place than they were before, and we move towards that escalation where they have to kill Lestat to escape from him. In the depiction of abuse, one of the interesting things there is, so, real life abusers are often very charming, and there’s a risk because if you depict them that way, you don’t actually want the audience to root for an abuser or get attached to them, right? You want to see abuse as it is. With this show they did start Lestat very charming, and I think that for me, it allows you to see from Louis’ eyes what the relationship looks like to him in addition to what it is, and I think as the season continues, they’re doing their best to then pull up the curtain and show how horrible Lestat really is, but allow you to be charmed by him in the beginning. Now, I don’t know how many viewers were not able to make that transition. Sometimes people get really attached to characters and want to make excuses for them, but for me, by the time Lestat was going to die, I was ready for him to die because he’s a horrible person. 

Oren:To me, it just felt incredibly natural. Okay, he’s super cool and suave, and then after a few episodes, he’s becoming more and more of an asshole and becoming more and more abusive, both emotionally and then physically. I believed that Louis was having conflicts. I believed that because Louis still had this image of Lestat as this cool, suave lover that he had taken earlier, that he would be resistant to trying to leave the relationship the way Claudia wants him to, but it was so immediately obvious to me what was going on that it’s hard for me to imagine someone being like, oh, but actually, Lestat wasn’t such a bad guy. But maybe someone does that somewhere. 

Chris: You know how people are.

Oren: I do know how people are. I have met people. 


Chris: One thing that helps, we haven’t talked about Daniel that much. Daniel’s interview was fantastic in the show. One of the reasons why framing devices don’t usually add anything, and this one actually manages to by making good commentary on the story. The reason I haven’t previously seen this work is for exactly the problem that we talked about in the book, where the only commentary the author wants to make on their own work is like, oh, it’s so awesome. But because this is not the original writer of the book, they used the interview with Daniel to make comments on the original story, because we see Louis and Daniel together in the scenes in the present day. The whole premise behind this is that the original interview happened and Louis told Daniel one thing, and now they’re meeting again many years later and Louis is there to be like, okay, actually, I lied a bunch that first time. Let me tell you how it really was, which kind of gives them a little bit more leeway with the story, but also allows Daniel to contrast what Louis is saying now from what he said before and make a lot of commentary. One of the things that’s used for is for Daniel to outright say, this is an abusive relationship, to help give the viewer some clarity about what is being depicted that might not be as obvious if we’re just watching it from the perspective of people at the time, especially if Louis is still charmed by Lestat. 

Oren: The concept of making this the second interview is brilliant. It’s a stroke of genius. It’s a eureka moment. I don’t know how they got to it. Maybe it was iteration, but it feels like a eureka moment because it makes the show have this weird meta continuity with the book and allows them to do all kinds of great commentary and critique of the story as they’re telling it. And man, I just, I love Daniel in the show. I love Daniel in this show. I love how he’s sassy, you know, that he’s old and tired and he doesn’t have time for any of Louis’ crap. It’s so great. Oh my gosh, that character. 

Chris: His critique of his earlier interview is like, this isn’t an interview. 

Oren:He’s like, I was just telling you how great you were because I was young and over awed. It’s like, oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you, Daniel. I love you. Send you some fan mail. 

Chris: That becomes very valuable when Louis is talking about his abusive relationship and he still doesn’t necessarily have the proper distance from it. Even by the end, we see that Louis, even though he manages to escape from Lestat with Claudia’s help, he’s still a little bit under Lestat’s influence. Having Daniel there to be like, ha ha, you say that you were in an equal power relationship, that’s obviously not true, et cetera, I do think is really helpful when it comes to depicting abuse to make it very clear to the viewers that that is what you were watching. Because again, especially when it starts, it can be very subtle. People don’t know what they’re looking at because the entire point is that the abuser wants to disguise what they’re doing to get control over the other person. 

Oren: You want Lestat to make convincing arguments when he claims that he’s not being abusive, because you want him to act in a way that is logical for his character to act. But if he makes those arguments too well, then the viewer might be like, oh, well, I guess he’s got a point, right? That’s what Daniel is here to do to point out and be like, no, actually, he doesn’t. It’s very useful for that. 

Chris: Yeah. And we start with small things like the fact that Lestat wants to sleep with other people. He says he’s okay with Louis doing it, but he’s not. He’ll come and get jealous and try to prevent that from happening. Later when he starts to enter an abusive cycle where he inflicts violence and then after six years lures Louis back with lavish gifts, which is another typical thing that abusers do. So we see that and see it escalate until we’re ready for Lestat to die. Hopefully everybody was ready for Lestat to die. 

Oren: Right. He also does a bit of isolation because he turns Louis into a vampire, which isolates Louis from any of his human connections. 

Chris: And he also just doesn’t like it. He clearly doesn’t like that Louis wants to stay in touch with his family. 

Oren: Right. He also refuses to tell Louis and then later Claudia anything about other vampires. So they have no one else they can socialize with or talk to because he’s the only vampire they know. That is another very classic abusive tactic. 

Chris: Yeah. That escalates. And then they handle the Lestat not-death real well. Did you want to talk about that? 

Oren: Oh, well, I mean, that’s one of my favorite parts because—

Chris: Exactly. 

Oren: Okay. So they have this really great epic masquerade ball that ends in a double cross, triple cross stab Lestat moment, which is super great. That’s the best Claudia ever is in the show when she’s organizing all of that. I love it. And then we see them throw Lestat’s body in the garbage, into his coffin and then into the trash instead of incinerating it. I’m like, oh, come on. They know he can regenerate. It’s like a huge plot hole. And then we flash into the present and Daniel’s like, hey, you know he can regenerate. What the heck? You let him live on purpose. And Louis is like, oh, you got me. I did. And I was like, oh, this is beautiful. I saw it and I thought it was a plot hole, but actually it was a plot point. I love it when that happened. 

Chris: Another thing that’s really nice that they do is at the end of the last episode when Lestat has finally been cast off, they do a teaser for the romance with Armand, which I think is really good when you have a gay couple and gay people need more happily ever after. So yes, this gay relationship was an abusive one, but hey, look, we have a healthier one coming up next. 

Oren: Right. The show’s not trying to say that gay relationships are inherently abusive, which can sometimes be the message if you only ever show one. Your audience will make assumptions whether you want them to or not. So it can be helpful to have other relationships. And in this case, the Armand one looks to be pretty cool. I’m so hyped for season two. I really hope that they deviate from the book and Claudia doesn’t die. Just Claudia is so much better as a character in this show. Like in the book, I kind of didn’t care when she died. Sure, it was sad, but I didn’t really like or care about Claudia. Whereas now I definitely do. I don’t know, sometimes characters you care about die, but it’s hard for me to imagine not rage quitting if she dies in the same way that she does in the book. I guess we’ll see. I don’t know. They’ve done good so far. 

Chris: I think at the very least she’ll probably have more agency because in the original, she’s just kind of cast off. She’s characterized as a helpless child, even though she’s supposed to be quite devious. In the movie again, she’s just, oh, let’s throw her in the well. She can’t do anything. She’s a helpless child. I’m sure that the show will do better than that. We might find that Claudia gets mad at Louis and leaves instead. I would not be surprised if that happens, but we’ll find out. One thing I will mention is that this show does, it’s not shown on screen. It is off screen, but there is a rape. It has a plot purpose, which is to explain one of the reasons why Claudia comes back instead of going off on her own and the risks of her being out there. But I can’t help feel like there was probably a different way to do that. Because the show is not about Claudia, I’m just not seeing that as a necessary thing that they needed to do. 

Oren: It’s especially awkward because Claudia going off on her own is also the least fun part of the show to watch to begin with. So it’s like, yeah, all right, I guess we’re having an ending to this part. It feels like maybe we just shouldn’t have done this part to begin with. 

Chris:She does try to leave again later and then Lestat just threatens her. And it’s like, okay, well, we could have just—

Oren:Maybe we could have started there. I don’t know. 

Chris: We could have just done that. 

Oren: That part was weird. The Wiki, for whatever reason, says, and then he does something that we don’t know about. And it’s like, okay, are you in denial? Or do you have some insider knowledge that we’re going to get a reveal that it wasn’t a rape in season two?

Chris: That could be. We’re certainly left to assume that it was rape, but we don’t know for sure. 

Oren: I don’t know what’s going on with you guys, Wiki. I don’t know if you have some friends or if you’re just in denial about what happened. 

Chris: If it’s not rape, you’re leaving the audience to experience the story as though it was rape, because that’s what you’re left to assume without seeing it happen. 

Oren:Despite that, I still really loved the show. I thought it handled most of its really dark topics much better than I’ve seen in any other context for the last few years, at least. 

Chris: Yeah, it was a fantastic show. I was really impressed. The acting was great. The social interactions were so rich and nuanced, like I have seen few times before. It was worth signing up for a new streaming service. Even though AMC doesn’t have a lot to offer, it was absolutely worth signing up for AMC just to watch this one show. 

Oren: I’m probably going to sign back up once Mayfair Witches airs. I’ve never had any interest in Mayfair Witches, but I’m so hyped because of this show. I guess we’ll see what they can do with other Anne Rice properties. 

Chris: All right. Well, if you enjoyed this episode, please support us on Patreon. Just go to

Oren: Before we go, I want to thank a few of our existing patrons. First, we have Callie Macleod. Then there’s Kathy Ferguson, who’s a professor of political theory in Star Trek. Next, there’s Ayman Jaber. He’s an urban fantasy writer and a connoisseur of Marvel. And finally, we have Danita Rambo. She lives at We’ll talk to you next week.

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