Interview with the Vampire stars on ‘mind-blowing’ fan reaction and filming ‘infamous’ sex scene

Sam Reid as Lestat and Jacob Anderson as Louis in Interview with the Vampire

As Interview with the Vampire season one hits BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, stars Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson talked all things Lestat and Louis with PinkNews.

AMC’s Interview with the Vampire series, based on the beloved Anne Rice gothic horror vampire novel, was released to major success in 2022. The seven-episode first season strays away from the hit 1994 film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, in one key way – by ripping away the heavy subtext and making it loudly and proudly gay.

Created by Rolin Jones, the show follows Louis de Pointe du Lac (Anderson) and his tempestuous love affair with his maker and lover, the vampire Lestat De Lioncourt (Reid), in the early 20th century.

The acclaimed show is filled with gory vampiric rituals, dark themes around immorality and immortality and destructive familial bonds. Now, Reid and Anderson speak to PinkNews about representing interracial queer relationships, ‘unsexy’ sex scenes and serving the devoted fanbase as the show arrives in the UK.

What initially drew you to the show? Were you excited to see them make Louis and Lestat an explicit queer relationship – something long-time Interview with the Vampire fans have been hoping for?

Jacob Anderson: Personally, I was less familiar with the book and the ’90s film so I guess I didn’t know that there was a possibility for their relationship to not be explicitly queer. 

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Sam Reid (L) and Jacob Anderson (R) in Interview with the Vampire.
Sam Reid (L) as Lestat and Jacob Anderson as Louis (R) in Interview with the Vampire. (AMC)

What drew me to it was that I don’t think I’ve ever read something before where, in the first 10 to 20 pages [of the script] I was like ‘this hurts about humanity’. It feels like when the sun goes through a magnifying glass and burns you. It was like somebody was doing that. It just completely drew me in, straightaway.

Sam Reid:  I knew the books so I was excited to read [the script]. [Creator Rolin Jones] had done such a good job of adapting these books, I was like ‘this is it’. You couldn’t do it any better, it just felt so right and so well written. It was just insane. 

[Jones] had this extraordinary ability to weave in real dialogue from the books, [which contain] lots of exclamation marks and hyperbolic language and very extreme sentiment [which is] hard to translate into a TV show. There’s an extreme head smashing, screaming and wailing level of drama, but it’s fun. The relationship between love and lust is done without shying away from all of the horrific elements of that relationship. 

What do you find most interesting about your characters, Louis and Lestat?

Jacob: I love everything [about Louis]. He has his flaws. He’s maybe a little bit too self-interested, which creates a trail of fire and death behind him wherever he goes, but I kind of love that about him. 

Louis has been through a lot of inner turmoil and he just keeps going. He really carries everything with him so he’s very, very complex, which is so fun to play. I really relate to Louis in a lot of ways and he’s brought a lot to me.

Sam: Lestat’s a really interesting character because he’s always changing. There’s a lovely quality in him as a monster, which is that he didn’t really want this to happen but he didn’t really get a choice. So he can either wallow about it or he can embrace it and deal with his perceived shortcomings and make the most of it. He just refuses to suffer… to the point of maybe suffering for it. 

The series confronts Lestat and Louis’ experience as an interracial gay couple during the early 20th century – how did you approach this?

Jacob: For me anyway, while we’re shooting there were times when it wasn’t front of mind but then there are just these moments which are beautifully written where you’re like ‘this is it. This is something that’s being touched on’.

Jacob Anderson, Sam Reid and Bailey Bass in Interview with the Vampire. (AMC)
Jacob Anderson, Sam Reid and Bailey Bass in Interview with the Vampire. (AMC)

Sometimes [in storytelling] it can be quite tokenistic. There are portrayals that show the world is fixed because interracial dating exists, but that doesn’t help anyone. It was really exciting to suddenly level up those dynamics as this is something that had to be discussed in [Louis and Lestat’s] relationship, given the time period as well. It just adds a completely different dynamic. 

Louis is reminded everyday that it is not okay to be queer and it’s not okay to be a Black man or a Creole man at this point. He just can’t avoid it. There’s a power imbalance in their relationship.

Sam: Yeah… Lestat has been sleeping with men since the 1700s and never really suffered for it, because it was a different time period. He’s never really had to face prejudice where he came from. [In this new time period] there’s prejudice everywhere but he’s a super powerful vampire who could kill anyone so he’s like ‘why do we even care?’. 

Louis rightfully thinks ‘no, we actually need to deal with these issues’ and that’s become one of the main rubbing points between the two of them.

The two of you have several intense scenes in the show including an infamous floating sex scene – how was that filmed?

Jacob: Unfortunately we can’t float. It’s all practical. We’re not levitating with a green screen or special effects, you just can’t see what we’re levitating on. 

Sam: It’s really unsexy but it was a really fun scene [to film]. The story of that scene was really extensive. We spent a long, long time trying to work out that whole sequence of events. We tried it in rehearsal and then we tried to shoot it a couple of times and it was wrong and we would have to go back and do it again. A lot of thought went into, so it’s very gratifying that it’s become infamous. 

Interview with The Vampire is on BBC iPlayer.
Interview with The Vampire is on BBC iPlayer. (AMC)

In the US, the series has grown a devoted LGBTQ+ fanbase. What does it mean to you to see that support?

Sam: It’s amazing. We were both terrified. We talked about it all the time while we’re shooting because the books have a big fan base already. The world and characters that Anne Rice created and what they represent are very important to people. So to receive the support that we have, it’s been mind blowing. 

There’s a feedback loop as well. I got sent a really lovely book recently with fan art they had drawn. It’s surreal because one of the things I did when I started playing Lestat was amalgamating as much fan art as possible to think ‘how can we make this character alive’. To now see a whole bunch with my version of the character makes it feel like we are all making it together.

We want to serve the fans of the books because they are our core viewers and they are really important.

Jacob: Being seen and being accepted is a real theme throughout Anne Rice’s writing and it’s how we felt reading the scripts. [It’s amazing] to have people accept our interpretation of characters they love so much and to have people who didn’t know these characters, like me, feeling understood.

Season one ends on a major cliffhanger, what can you tease about season two?

Sam: If you’ve read the book you know where this is going, to an extent. There’s a big emphasis on Louis and Armand’s [Assad Zaman] relationship.

Jacob: I think Armand is a really interesting character, because he’s old and has a lot of connections to all of the vampires.

Interview with the Vampire continues next Thursday (19 October) at 9pm on BBC Two and the full series is now available on BBC iPlayer.