Bleh with Barry

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Tale of the Body Thief the Movie, or “Oh God, Please Don’t Let It Be Another Queen of the Damned”

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By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today on Anne Rice’s facebook page, she announced that Imagine Studios have gotten the rights and are developing a Tale of the Body Thief (TOBT) movie based on her book first published in 1992. On her page, Rice said, “Nothing makes Lestat happier than making news! Here’s the Hollywood Reporter story on Imagine optioning Tale of the Body Thief for a motion picture, with more names and details.” While I am excited by the prospect of a new vampire movie based upon one of Anne Rice’s books because I love the intricacies of the vampire world, I am additionally apprehensive as a result of Queen of the Damned (2002) starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, which was awful… just awful… especially when compared to the success of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. However, this movie could see a return to that of the first film with Cruise and Pitt which might be a good thing, but there are somethings that might need to be thought about / changed.

1) The scope of this film will be relatively more focused than that of the book Queen of the Damned (QOTD). While the movie of Queen of the Damned resembled nothing of the book that Anne Rice wrote other than character names… and some chosen events, the book of TOBT takes place with very few characters actually taking part in the full of the action (mainly Lestat, David Talbot and, Raglan James). Moreover, if the adaptation does not lend itself to compression of other novels… whereas in the QOTD, this book and The Vampire Lestat were condensed into one movie that didn’t even reach the two hour mark… please….

2) Whereas QOTD (the book) is filled with intricate subplots and creates a new vampire mythology that the filmmakers didn’t seem to want to deal with and used multiple characters to narrate the complexity of the story (again filmmakers didn’t deal with), TOBT is pretty straightforward in terms of its plot. SPOILERS: Lestat being bogged down with his life… undeadness…. vampiric nature… decides to off himself in the desert,

By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

which doesn’t work considering he gobbled up a lot of Akasha’s blood (making him as powerful as most of the old ones…). So, he gets an offer from Raglan James to switch bodies for a day… Lestat, being the brat prince that he is, cannot resist the chance of being human and agrees. Long story short, James won’t give back Lestat’s body, and Lestat and David must fight for it to get it back. Pretty easy to follow and streamlined…. one would hope that it would not be hard to plot… all I’m saying…

3) Most of the book deals with human Lestat rather than a passel of vampires. In QOTD, a crap ton of vampires appear due to many circumstances surrounding Lestat’s music, the Queen’s rising, and story time / planning session with Maharet. Thus, it would be difficult to get the characters right considering that by Rice’s third book we know a lot of the characters that are cavorting very well… Also, the additional problem of the vampires themselves and the powers they have institute themselves. In TOBT, however, Lestat is a human most of the time, and David is too. Thus, this should be a moot point… yet, I somehow still believe that it can be screwed up… possibly with a flashy action scene on a freeway in California, involving a car chase with human Lestat and Raglan James in Lestat’s body…. Ugh…

4) A new Lestat would be nice. While Tom Cruise does a serviceable job as the evil, non-complex Lestat from the first movie (i.e. Louis’s perspective of him), I don’t know that he could do the truly complex nature of Lestat as a stand alone character very well. Additionally, I hated Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat…. I feel that he did not carry the brat prince charm and the overall charisma of the character (this could be because it was a horribly written movie… “You’re a vampire?” line from the goth / punk / glam band member complete with southern twang comes to mind). Maybe we could see someone bring a little class to the role… also remember too that there have to be two Lestats in this film which complicates it… the one real body Lestat and the displaced body Lestat. This adds another level to the difficulty of casting this film… (God help me if I see Johnny Depp put into one of these roles either… I couldn’t stand to see a quirky Lestat with Goth make-up and weird hair… I just couldn’t…). I think that they should cast someone who is naturally blonde too… that’s just a pet peeve of mine…

5) Well, I haven’t really got a five… I’m not going to lie… if this purported film turns out to be anything like the QOTD movie, I might have to hurt someone… yeah… possibly Ron Howard since Imagine is his production company…

So there you have it, I look at this with much apprehension, but I am also hopeful that Lestat will once again get to live big on the theater screen… Hopefully, this reincarnation of Lestat (whenever the film may be released) will be better than the best that we have at this point. I look forward to the film and to Anne’s new book that will come out later this month.

Interview with the Vampire: The Movie

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As you can probably tell from my blog, Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors, and her vampire chronicles are some of my favorite books (due to the vampire connection…also great characters and good plots…but yeah…). Anyway, recently I rewatched the movie from 1994. . .I have to say that it is a well done vampire film that deserves to rank among the top vampire films of all time. Why you may ask? Well, give me some time, and I’ll explain it to you.

1) Anne Rice wrote the screenplay. Whereas most book to film adaptations suck, Anne Rice effectively transfers the heart, soul, and life-blood of her narrative into the movie. It is one of the few adaptations that I have watched and felt pleased after the fact. I think this is due to the active participation of the author in creating the written dialogue.

2) The actors are amazing. I don’t know that any vampire movie that I have ever watched has the all-star cast of this one. With Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as Louis, and Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, the main characters are acted superbly. Brad Pitt captures the innocence and conflict of Louis. Cruise plays the charismatic and manipulative Lestat with wonderful effect. Finally, Dunst as Claudia is the cherry on top of the creepy sundae. With Stephen Rea (Santiago), Christen Slater (the Interviewer), and Antonio Banderas (Armand) rounding out the cast, the story comes alive in a way that only Neil Jordan (the director) and Anne Rice could have dreamed.

 

3) The human qualities of Anne Rice’s vampires have always intrigued me. Her vampires are not really supernatural creatures. Rather, they are just flawed human beings that end up being cursed (or blessed) to live for a long time. This longevity amplifies their human characteristics and makes them more vulnerable and more apt to fall. They exemplify our worst fears of what we might become…or what we might be…they are the mirror of ourselves…

While this movie may never be regarded as high brow, I will continue to love it. It is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and fins something new each time I watch. Will I see Lestat in the “Theatre des Vampires?” Will Claudia be less of a little demon child?…I search for such questions each time knowing what will happen…but maybe I will watch the film a little differently each time…If you’re looking for a good vampire movie (and for God sakes nothing like Twilight or any of those movies), I would suggest that you go out and find this one.

For more info on the movie check out this IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110148/

The Vampire Formerly Known as Lestat

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In the realm of Anne Rice, we all know about the vampire Lestat and his escapades into the supernatural world that is his realm. He has been the consort of the most powerful vampire in the world (Akasha), had an out of body experience, been to heaven and hell, and became a religious vampiric icon. But now, his story has come to a halt, and he lives on through the pages of his books.

While I am sad about Lestat because at the end of Blood Canticle he doesn’t have a lot of resolution, I am even more sad because of the “death” of the other vampire characters contained within the novels. The characters that I hoped Anne would pick up and start writing about again. Characters like Mael, Eric (vampire mentioned in Queen of the Damned), Pandora (I know that she wrote a novel about her but I want more), Gabrielle, Thorne, Louis (after the transformation), and others. I always found her peripheral characters very intriguing (more so than Lestat at times). Yet, now, Anne has said that at this point in time she does not plan to write anymore vampire chronicles…so, we’re left with dangling strings in my eyes. Now, I love and respect Anne because she is one of my all time favorite authors. I love her prose and her choice of words. She paints pictures with them.

The true reason I write this post is because part of me wonders what is going to happen with the ideas of the vampires or other supernatural creatures contained within Anne’s earlier works…will they be forgotten in the grand scheme of novelic time or will they find their rightful place in literary circles?

Personally, I believe that the books are amazing retellings of the vampire folklore that has been prevalent in cultures around the world for many centuries. While Anne does take some liberties with the overarching myth in places, she remains true to the heart of the myth itself. She also humanizes this creatures of darkness that have symbolized rape, disease, famine, and other deep, dark things for years. Her writing has opened the “monster” up and made them seem not as scary; however, by that same token, she has made them even more monstrous. If something that still has human emotions and drives acts like a feral, evil thing, they seem more monstrous. Her vampires make the choice willingly to feed on humans… they don’t lose themselves…

Another thing that interests me about her vampiric ideals is the whole mythology she created of the “red-haired twins” that she created to rationalize her vampires…it is brilliantly thought and written…it makes me almost wish that she would write her own book of myths or folklore. I believe that it would be a brilliant oddity.

While Lestat and the other vampires may never grace new pages of novels again, I still have hope that they will come to life in new forms. As recently as a few years ago, there was a musical that opened based on the books. In which the music wasn’t bad; however, the staging was lack luster at best. There is also talk of new movies coming out to portray the “brat prince” again…(Hopefully, they won’t make another Queen of the Damned movie travesty…because it sucked [no pun intended]). Here’s hoping that Anne Rice’s vampires continue to prosper in the minds of readers around the world. Because if they don’t, vampires like Edward Cullen might…and that would just be sad…