Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’ Takes Flight at Universal

anne rice vampire chronicles movie
Gary Miller/FilmMagic

Setting up a potential vampire franchise, Universal Pictures has acquired movie rights to Anne Rice’s novels in “The Vampire Chronicles” series for Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are on board to produce.

The deal — announced Thursday — includes the adapted screenplay for Rice’s “The Tale of the Body Thief” written by her son, author Christopher Rice. Other novels in the series include “Interview with the Vampire” and the upcoming “Prince Lestat.”

Rice published “Interview with the Vampire” in 1976 and “The Vampire Lestat” in 1985, followed by “The Queen of the Damned” (1988), “The Tale of the Body Thief” (1992), “Memnoch the Devil”  (1995), “The Vampire Armand” (1998), “Merrick” (2000), “Blood and Gold” (2001), “Blackwood Farm” (2002), “Blood Canticle” (2003) and “Prince Lestat” this year.

The series is centered on the fictional character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French aristocrat living in poverty who became a vampire in the late 18th century.

Imagine president Erica Huggins will oversee films based on the series for Imagine Entertainment, and Bobby Cohen will exec produce.

An earlier adaptation of the story, “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,” starred Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in 1994 and was a strong performer for Warner Bros., with $220 million in worldwide box office.

A film version of Rice’s “Queen of the Damned,” also part of “The Vampire Chronicles,” starred Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend in 2002 and grossed $45 million worldwide for Warners.

Despite the amount of love the book received, the film version of “Queen of the Damned” was panned by critics and Rice fans alike. It has only a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a generally negative reception.

Kurtzman and Orci have teamed on multiple projects including “Transformers,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Now You See Me” and “Cowboys and Aliens.” Kurtzman is also on board to direct a reboot of “The Mummy” for Universal.

Anne Rice is represented by CAA, literary agent Lynn Nesbit of Janklow & Nesbit Associates and attorney Christine Cuddy of Kleinberg, Lange, Cuddy and Carlo. Christopher Rice is repped by Resolution, Janklow & Nesbit Associates and attorney Christine Cuddy of Kleinberg, Lange, Cuddy and Carlo.

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  1. Phillip says:

    My best and only advice to whoever makes these movies:
    Interview With a Vampire is thought of as a masterpiece among true fans (barring Antonio B as a waaaayyy too old and cheesy Armand)(Kirsten was a little old for Claudia, but so what, her performance was perfect).
    Queen of the Damned was a critical flop and the guy who played Lestat was terrible.
    Please learn from these mistakes.
    Aim for excellent acting and drama and don’t use special effects like crutches to doctor up a mediocre film.
    Make honest to goodness excellent work.
    I also recommend not remaking Interview and instead just start with The Vampire Lestat and move on from there. Interview is too beloved and got so much right that it doesn’t need remaking. Just pick a cast that emulates that work (with changes only to Armand) and move forward from that place of greatness seemlessly (despite the hurdle of new actors).

    • Tim says:

      Normally I’d agree with you about not remaking Interview With the Vampire, but part of me would like to see a complete saga made into film with a consistent cast. The changes made to the film from the book make continuing on a little difficult. I appreciate the film as a stand alone but, if we ever do get a real, quality made franchise, I’d vote for redoing it.

      With regard to Armand, casting him at the appropriate age would be problematic, as his appearance through several books/films means he ages quite a bit through that time. The younger he is at the beginning, the harder that would be to handle, logistically.

  2. Danny Kerr says:

    Tale of the Body Thief is written by Anne, not Christopher.

  3. Uke Solomon says:

    ok. i love the vampire chronicles. waiting for “prince lestat” my best of em is “Memnoch the devil” no offence to christians or anyone bu the book is really outstanding. i wish the vampire chronicles would have a serie. i do not want to compare it to vampire diaries because that movie was mostly too emotional and a diffrent view to akasha(not already recorded info from book”though a little diversion would be great) a very extreme use of powers gives a really crazy feel. from nigeria movies are heavily appreciable friends and foes alike love the book. PLEASE a serie season would be good following movie and book is soo fun. also waiting for “song of ice and fire 5”

  4. Midy says:

    I think people are too hard on the QOTD film. Granted, it has its flaws – but it also has a lot of artistic details and an incredible sound track.

    • Jungle Boi says:

      It was crap, IMO – I was enthralled by IWTV, read the books and waited years to see it – one of the biggest movie let-downs of my life.

  5. Meghann says:

    I’m so hoping that this will work into a great series of movies. I hope they make a movie based on Armand’s story too. My sister, who does not read very much loved both of the movies but did not realize that Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned were even supposed to link together. My boyfriend didn’t either. I was really sad when I realized this and had to help them realize how it all linked together and how Lestat was the same Lestat in both movies.

  6. Ulaira says:

    My God, My God, My God, My God! (Reading The Tale of the Body Thief RIGHT NOW 0:) Sometimes Mon Dieu doesn’t cut it! I’m gonna hyperventilate! Is this FOR REAL? They’re not pulling our leg??? I’m torn! They CANNOT mess this up, but another TRY and maybe they’ll get it right! Maybe people can quit singing the praises of that other franchise and… well, I guess I’m thinking in terms of Anne Rice getting the recognition by people my age, of people knowing Lestat and Louis and loving them (and all the rest of the coven, post-Akasha–I’m only up to “Tale of..”) as much as I do
    AAAHHH! They could do Claudia RIGHT! Make her the child she is/was! They’d need her for the Body Thief! Can one’s hopes get that high???
    Please don’t think I don’t like Jared Leto, because I’d DIE to go to a 30STM concert, but I think he’d be a poor choice for Lestat–he’s a beautiful man, and an ENORMOUS talent–because he’s a 40+ man and Lestat was immortalized at 20. Plus, if you remember Fight Club… blonde doesn’t do Jared justice.
    Not saying I want some other pop-culture kid stepping into such big shoes. I think an unknown would be good… someone who could actually pull off the brat prince. *sigh* ravings of a fangirl.
    BUT CAN I HOLD OUT HOPE AND EXCITEMENT FOR A PERFECT REPRESENTATION??? They can overdo books like The Hobbit, is it too much to hope for a film version that stays true to the books? Head spinning, hoping, but not entirely trusting, any news is good, though!

  7. Dave Coleman says:

    Kurtzman and Orci have teamed on multiple projects including “Transformers,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Now You See Me” and “Cowboys and Aliens.” —- None of which are good movies and are nothing to be proud of.

  8. robRmh says:

    Is this another tease or do we have to wait another decade? so over the anticipation.

  9. Chelsea says:

    Cant wait to see it, one of my top favorite book.

  10. Comparing Twilight to Anne Rice’s novels is an insult!

  11. amanda says:

    Jared Leto should play Lestat. His piercing blue eyes, Oscar winning acting ability, and musical genius would easily encompass all that the series would require of the actor to successfully portray the vampire legend.

  12. Andrea says:

    I hope they manage to capture the intensely lush atmospheric of the books , which in the first film was only fleetingly evident, while the deep homoeroticism was replaced by superficial posing. Cruise was like a bleached swatted blowfy. Only Pitt captured the camera by virtue of his still beauty, and the allowance the director gave for the audience to drink it in, and the sensuous clothes he was wrapped in.

  13. are half of you people illiterate, or just stupid? it doesn’t say Christopher Rice wrote the damned Tale of the body Thief NOVEL , it says he wrote the SCREENPLAY. they are NOT the same thing. Before you flip your shit and berate the author how about reading the entire article first and not being a moron?

  14. David says:

    This is not TWILIGHT LIKE. What a disgusting thing to say. Twilight is the deformed crack baby that came into existence after the already brilliant Vampire Chronicles – both on paper and in theaters. Do your research and quit calling everything original that someone creates twilight-like. Is that the only adjective you know?

  15. Nicole says:

    I hope this is done right because I am in love with her books. I have read The Vampire Chronicles many times as well as some of her other books. To this day I am sad about how both the movies where done. I will hope endlessly for good casting and if Armand has to be an adult how about a baby faced 18-22.

    • I AGREE WITH YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT ARMAND. ANTONIO WAS NOT A GOOD CHOICE. I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY THIS PART. I WILL EVEN COLOR BY HAIR DEEP AUBURN (NOT BROWN! DUH!) AND WHILE MY EYES ARE SAPPHIRE BLUE, MORNING LIGHT TURNS THEM SILVER GREEN. JUST SAYIN’. A BOY, AFTER ALL, CAN DREAM A VAMPIRE DREAM JUST AS JESUS DID. XOXO! LOVE! APPOLLO ROSE-FREESIA AKA TOM DE VRIES APPOLLO ON FACEBOOK.

  16. dee says:

    Would love to see the Witching Hour series

    • Merrick (2000) is the seventh book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. This book brings together Rice’s vampires and the Mayfair Witches.
      how are they going to manage this without the With series?

    • Nicole says:

      I’m rereading book one at this very moment. I love that series as well.

  17. Yuza Cox-Zucker says:

    Jared Leto as Lestat is perfect casting. Can’t wait for the new movies to come out!

  18. Scott Bessinger says:

    I am looking forward to a true to the book telling of the Vampire Lestat. It is my favorite of The Vampire Chronicles. The Queen of the Damned movie was a terrible movie that attempted to rip off parts of the other books and incorporate them into the Queen of the Damned. I look forward to a meticulous preservation of the fantastic stories told in the books of the Vampire Chronicles. Casting is going to be very important and I would like to see some newcomers to the screen playing these roles. These are the best vampire stories I have ever read and should be brought to the silver screen with a reverence to the author’s intent.

  19. Please never use “Twilight” and “The Vampire Chronicles” in the same sentence again. Ever. And I’m incredibly suspicious of this, to be honest. I don’t trust Hollywood after they screwed up Queen Of The Damned, and once an adaptation has been totally torn apart like that, I just can’t trust them when news like this breaks. But I guess we’ll see. They so far only have the rights for Tale of the Body Thief, Interview, and Prince Lestat. That alone makes me nervous because it looks like it’ll be out of order. But again, we’ll see how it develops. If they do it RIGHT, this could be huge.

    • Tim says:

      Reread the article and other information available. Universal has bought the film rights to ALL of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and any future installments.

      Get a clue before you give an opinion.

  20. I love all the books that Anne Rice has written. Mikey is right Anne’s son did not write The Tale Of The Body Thief. They are all written by Anne herself. I have been disappointed in most of the pictures that have tried to portray her novels. I hope this company can do a better job in protraying these characters. I think people, or at lease me, didn’t like “Queen of the Damned” not because of Aaliyah, but because of all the stories and characters they left out. It destroyed the movie for me. These movies must be made with the love they have inspired. Amazing directing, excellent writing, wonderful actors who fit the part and great production values. I hope Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment will truly respect the stories. These are not Twilight-like kindergarten stories and I hope they do not treat them as such. Out of the list of movies they have made, only “Star Trek Into Darkness” was excellent. ther others were fun but not very serious or emotional. The Vampire Chronicles should frighten and intrigue you. They should make you fall in love with the characters and their stories. I am glad they will be movies but i want Peter Jackson like care to be taken in bringing them to the screen.

    Oh! Don’t reboot “The Mummy.” The Mummy” was fun and adventurous

    and it is too soon.

  21. Adam says:

    Calm down folks, they didn’t say Christopher rice wrote the book just the adapted screenplay, which is true

  22. LSKing says:

    Please, oh, please, do TVL and do it seriously. I want to see an 18th-Century Parisian theatre in all its glory. I want production values to rival “Dangerous Liaisons” or “Amadeus.” And this time, for God’s sake, don’t scrap a George Fenton score!

  23. JJ says:

    Interview with a Vampire is a gorgeous movie that has aged fairly well. The effects hold up. And for all the brouhaha about Cruise’s casting, he’s excellent in the movie. It’s Brad Pitt who’s not so great.

    • Angeleno says:

      Actually, I agree with you about this. As a longtime fan of the books, I was horrified when Tom Cruise was cast as Lestat, but I was truly surprised at the fine performance he turned in. He obviously took the role seriously and gave it his all. The only problem was, although I knew it was a good performance, he just never captured Lestat for me, although some of the fault may belong to the writers.

      However, the biggest problem with the movie was Brad Pitt, who I generally like and think is underrated as an actor. I think Louis is probably the poorest performance I’ve ever seen him give. He just looked uncomfortable playing the role throughout most of the movie. I found myself wondering why he even took it on in the first place.

  24. Pete McNesbitt says:

    Anne Rice, always emphatically stated at the time of the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat that the actor she imagine playing the role would have been Rutgar Hauer. As he would have be more masculine a sensual.

  25. viveka47 says:

    Anne what ARE you doing?!!! No, No, No, No and Nooooooooooooooooo. Just no. You think you’re what… reviving Lestat and the gang? You’re killing them and those of us who have fought to preserve them while you were off writing about Jesus are for the most part, anguished. If you loved Lestat at all, if you really did and really held him to you as sacred, you wouldn’t pimp him out this way just for commercial gain and getting your name back up there now that the Twilight craze has died down.

    • LSKing says:

      Um, if it’s on Variety .com it’s a fait accompli, that is, it’s done. Contracts have been signed. She couldn’t back out now if she wanted to, she’d be in breach of contract. This is a multi-million dollar deal. It’s her property, she can do with it what she pleases.

  26. erin says:

    There is another Vampire Chronicle book… Pandora. I purchased and read it while living in Germany in ’99…. WHY IS IT NOT LISTED. I lived that one.

  27. Bree says:

    Um…did you just refer to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles as a “Potentially ‘Twilight’-like franchise”?
    You got it backwards man, Twilight wouldn’t even exist had Anne Rice not written her novels.

    • Pandora is not a vampire chronicle, its one of two books under the short series ‘New Tales Of The Vampires’… the other book is Vittorio The Vampire.

    • dave says:

      Agreed. Twilight is nothing but kinder garden vampires, and despite all the vampirsm media frenzy there is nowdays, we know what saga is the true masterpiece (besides dracula of course).

  28. Elena says:

    Twilight doesn’t deserve to even be in the same paragraph of the level of story we’re going to get with this. Do these books justice and you’ll make a fortune with this. This story has the potential to be “Game of Thrones” level if you do it right.

  29. Matthew says:

    So excited for this, I’ve been waiting so long to see the whole Vampire Chronicles series to come to life. I’m especially excited about the adaptions for The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Blood and Gold, and The Vampire Armand (all my favorite installments).

  30. John Mitchell says:

    Please Please, Please, follow the book and do not mess it up like queen of the Damned was. I love Ms. Rice’s work, but the films could have been so much better if they would just follow the books.

  31. Cee Gadd says:

    The Vampire Chronicles are legit, they are about vampires, not whiny sparklers. Twilight doesn’t come close to the epic levels of Anne Rice’s vampires. Twilight is an insult to vampire lore and writing as a whole. DO NOT compare the genius of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles with Twilight.

  32. Tracy says:

    Hopefully the studio will listen to the fans and NOT put Tom Cruise as Lestat (again). Julian Sands would have been so much better, but what do I know? I am just a person of the general public who pays to see these movies……..

    • Tim says:

      What fans would the studio have to listen to? It doesn’t matter anyway, as this will be a reboot, not a sequel. Tom Cruise is both too expensive and too old for the role at this point so you really have nothing to worry about there.

  33. Granny Goodwitch says:

    FABULOUS news…we have been waiting for this for decades !!! TIWTV was well done…alas…QOTD was a HUGE disappointment for Anne & Her fans both…and having Her son Christopher writing the screenplay will keep it in the family…Anne’s fans are thrilled for Her as She has been awaiting this for to come to fruition for far too long…so excited !!! …now…who do I talk to about playing the role of Aunt Queen ;-)

  34. Jennifer Roldan says:

    Interview With The Vampire has already been filmed with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst. Queen of the Damned has already been filmed as well with the late Aaliyah. Why would they fill another versions? Those movies were created using Anne Rice’s books.

    • M says:

      “Why would they fill another versions?” Because movie studios exist to make money. Vampires have always been hot, and especially now are quite popular. With the new book coming out, interest will be high. Where interest is high, money is made.

      Also, Queen of the Damned, while technically using the book, changed much of Rice’s mythos, especially concerning Lestat’s origins. I would welcome a more accurate retelling.

    • Allan says:

      How many film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet have there been? Sherlock Holmes? The Three Musketeers? Novels getting re-adapted multiple times and is nothing new.

      Interview with the Vampire was awesome, but the adaptation of QotD was just so bad it is deserving of a new movie.

      And this time, they have the chance to do it as a series right again.

    • Doug Butler says:

      Maybe an HBO series is the vision

    • MacJew says:

      Wild guess? Money.

      Queen of the Damned wasn’t a very good movie, so why not make something more faithful to the series? There’s a wealth of material to adapt, and, while Interview was a good film, a remake that is consistent with actors throughout could be interesting, too.

  35. Leigh says:

    I’ve been waiting forever for a good version of The Vampire Chronicles, especially my favorite, the second in the series, The Vampire Lestat. A the time the book was published, I thought Sting would have made an excellent Lestat, despite the British accent vs. a French one. He had already written and recorded a song on a solo album that was obviously about being a vampire in New Orleans. And, per the story, he was a rock star. But the moment I heard Tom Cruise was cast as Lestat in Interview, I knew any chance at the sequel being filmed was gone, and seeing that movie only confirmed it. I agreed with the author’s initial reaction to Cruise, and without intending to impugn her reputation or honor, when she suddenly changed her mind, I could only imagine that the studio or some executive had threatened her in some way. The later movies were acceptable, but nowhere near a good as the books. I’m excited and look forward to seeing the movies as adapted by her son.

  36. Chris H. says:

    Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci? The geniuses that brought us “Transformers” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”. This has to be a practical joke.

    • Hairy Arse says:

      The books are crap. They go on and on and on. The first one is so overwritten it gave me a headache. Good story but man did it go on.

    • Allan says:

      The “later” movies – or rather movie – was not acceptable. QotD was a bad adaptation.

      At least IWTV was a good adaptation, and while Tom Cruise was not an ideal first choice, he surprisingly delivered. The only misfire there was Antonio Banderas cast as Armand, who should be in his teens and boyish looking.

    • MacJew says:

      At least they’re not writing it.

  37. You can’t compare The Vampire Chronicles with Twilight, you just can’t… Vampire Chronicles wipes the floor with Twilight.

  38. Randall Ross says:

    Excellent news! FINALLY the Vampire Chronicles will be made into more films including my favorite, Tale of the Body Thief! With Christopher Rice writing the screenplays for Tale and Prince Lestat, it’s assured that he will be true to the novels. FINALLY I hope to see these stories made into great films that will hopefully be the adult versions of vampires instead of the ridiculously silly Twilight movies.

    • Tim says:

      The article doesn’t say anything about Christopher writing a screenplay for Prince Lestat. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be any immediate film plans for any of the Chronicles except for The Vampire Lestat. This is supposed to be the starting point in the new franchise.

  39. Jaimie Irwin says:

    I met Anne Rice and her son Christopher last November in San Francisco and it was a long awaited meet, she has been my author and mentor for so long that meeting her was so awesome for me. Now with her coming out with a new book to the vampire chronicles I don’t know what to say exept congrats ANNE RICE YOUR AWESOME…

  40. C.L. Hopper says:

    they better not screw this up like that QOTD. I hope Rice will get more input and approval. She’s a treasure. there’s a reason she has such dedicated fans!

  41. Jennifer C. says:

    Hopefully the special effects will be awesome (and not too computer-like and fake). I love the books! :)

  42. I agree with Sherry Rutherford…It’s about time!! I’ve been waiting for years to see these great books hit the movie screens!! Just make sure you do a good job of Anns great books!!

  43. If I remember correctly Anne Rice had her name removed from the Queen of the Damned movie due to its butchering of her work and their lack of approval for the film to be made in the first place, She was quite unhappy if memory serves. they got so much wrong in that movie it cannot be remotley associated with her amazing books. I think people should fact check before publishing an article.

  44. Yo Ra Khan says:

    PLEASE OH PLEASE DON’T F*CK THIS UP UNIVERSAL.

  45. Brian says:

    They better not screw this up!!!!

  46. Sherry Rutherford says:

    I am glad that there is going to be movies of Ann Rice books. Its about time!!!!!!!

  47. elric301 says:

    Robert Orci is involved? This is a gag, right?

  48. Dale Sullivan says:

    Which one did she base on Matt Bomer? If they get him to star, I’ll watch it! BUY IT, EVEN!

  49. owlman11 says:

    Twilight-like? Are you joking? Who writes these…

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