Sam Reid: Interview with the Vampire characters know they're bad

"They are aware that they are killers," the star told reporters in a recent Zoom interview.

Sam Reid (L) and Jacob Anderson star "Interview with the Vampire," premiering Sunday night. Photo courtesy of AMC
1 of 5 | Sam Reid (L) and Jacob Anderson star "Interview with the Vampire," premiering Sunday night. Photo courtesy of AMC

NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson say the non-aging, superpowered bloodsuckers they play in the new TV drama, Interview with the Vampire, live their lives to extremes because they are avoiding tedium as well as fighting for survival in a constantly changing world.

Premiering Sunday night on AMC and AMC+, the adaptation of Anne Rice's gothic horror novel is about how wealthy, centuries-old vampire Lestat (Reid) charms Louis (Anderson) in early 20th century New Orleans, eventually turning the respectable businessman into his immortal companion.


Rolin Jones, whose credits include Boardwalk Empire and Weeds, is the series' creator.

The show has already been renewed for a second season

"They live forever. We know that about vampires. They are kind of immortal beings. [Rice] really hammers that home and Rolin has beautifully picked up on that," Reid, 35, told reporters in a Zoom roundtable interview Thursday.


"Endurance is a huge part of being a vampire. It's not only endurance to survive, to not walk into the sun because you've had enough and can't go on. It's endurance to make life interesting," he added.

"It's endurance to make every night that you wake up NOT the same monotonous merry-go-round of existence, so they do make things extreme. They are dramatic. They are extra. They're feeling a lot of things because they are conscious. They are aware that they are bad. They are aware that they are killers. There's that constant push and pull between: 'Do I embrace it? Do I enjoy it?' or 'Do I fight it and hate myself.'"

Anderson, 32, said the dichotomy of "endurance and acceptance" is fascinating to play for actors.

"You can get into patterns of always wanting to justify a character's behavior. That's not something I think is important. You can have empathy, but then it's also really fun to occasionally be like, 'Well, I don't know how I feel about that, and then try to find your way through that, find your way into it," he explained.

"Something about Anne Rice's vampires that is so special is they do live on this incredibly complex, cosmic scale. They are everything at the same time."


The British stars were also intrigued to explore the social, sexual and racial dynamics of this specific time and place in American history where Season 1 largely takes place, but Anderson, who is Black, said he didn't find a tremendous amount of archival material about free People of Color and the Creole community of New Orleans during that period.

"The 1910s in New Orleans is this sort of secret period in New Orleans' history. Storyville was kind of a red-light district ultimately where it was like taboos were made legal for this period of time and it was the beginning of gentrification," he noted.

"Storyville became this gentrified thing, a pariah into a 'decent Caucasian society' -- I'm putting some big quotation marks there -- and I think that really speaks to something about how vampires were seen. It almost feels like it wouldn't be that shameful to be a vampire and that is something that is attractive to Lestat. It makes sense and it feeds into Louis' shame."

Reid also loved the music of the era.

"It's really fun to bring that element to it because it plays such a big part of these characters' lives," the actor said, referring to how much time Lestat and Louis spend in bars, clubs and opera houses.


Anderson said his exquisitely detailed period costumes made him immediately feel like he was his character.

"He takes pride in presentation and there is something about our Louis where he is almost on the progressive scale of the time. He wants to stand out. He doesn't want to blend into the background," the actor emphasized.

"There's like an irony and a push and pull about that. He also doesn't want to be looked at. He's carrying a lot of fear about himself and being found out in lots of different ways."

Louis frequently dresses in clothes that have a gold luster to them, Anderson pointed out.

"He kind of glows," he said. "I like the idea of that doing something to Lestat. It's just this other subtle thing that draws him in, not that that's Louis' intention, but I, Jacob, looking at that dramaturgically, really enjoyed that and it made me carry myself slightly differently."

While Louis is embracing the latest fashions in an effort to project confidence and success, Lestat's wardrobe initially gives off more of the timeless, global vibe consistent with someone who has traveled extensively and lived many years.

"Early on, when you meet him, he's still carrying the remnants of the century from where he's come before," Reid said.


"Then he has to sort of get a makeover, an update. It was a bit clashy. It was a bit like: 'This guy doesn't fit in these clothes. How does this work?'" he added

Costumer Carol Cutshall found ways of incorporating Lestat's personality and experience into his clothing.

"The waists would be much smaller and the boots would be made of patent leather. He'd try a silly boater hat on because he knew it was ridiculous and funny," Reid said. "We were always looking for the keys that come back to the character."

Interview with the Vampire was previously adapted as a 1994 movie starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas and Kirsten Dunst.

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