Interview with the Vampire director Neil Jordan reflects on the controversial casting of Tom Cruise

Neil Jordan reflects on the controversial casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire

In the pages of her 1976 debut novel Interview with the Vampire, author Anne Rice introduced readers to a blonde-haired vampire named Lestat de Lioncourt, who was given the nickname The Brat Prince. He’s a character Rice loved writing about and her fans loved reading about, and he appeared in several more stories that make up the series known as The Vampire Chronicles. These days, Sam Reid is playing Lestat on AMC’s Interview with the Vampire TV show – but the first actor to bring the character to life on the screen was Tom Cruise, who was cast to play Lestat in director Neil Jordan’s 1994 film adaptation of Interview with the Vampire – a bit of casting that was quite controversial at the time, with even Rice herself speaking out against it.

Jordan has written about the casting of Cruise in his memoir Amnesiac: A Memoir by Neil Jordan, which is set to be released on June 20th – and an excerpt has made its way online via The Telegraph and Variety. Jordan writes, “The problem was the casting of Lestat. Brad Pitt had agreed to play Louis and somehow assumed Daniel Day-Lewis would be playing Lestat, an assumption shared by Anne. I offered it to Daniel, who read it, and, as I expected, didn’t want to play the character. A few years before, he had confined himself to a wheelchair to play Christy Brown in My Left Foot. He would have had to sleep in a coffin for the entirety of this production if he followed the same practice. So we moved on.

After meeting with Cruise twice, Jordan began to see that he had a lot in common with the vampire Lestat. “He had to live a life removed from the gaze of others. He had made a contract with the hidden forces, whatever they turned out to be. He had to hide in the shadows, even in the Hollywood sunlight. He would be eternally young. He was a star. He could well be Lestat.” He notes that Cruise also happens to be a superb actor, which a lot of people overlooked while they were outraged over his casting in the vampire film. But Cruise went on to deliver a performance that won over many of his critics, including Rice.

Produced by David Geffen and Stephen Woolley, Interview with the Vampire also starred – in addition Cruise and Pitt – Christian Slater, Stephen Rea, Antonio Banderas, and Kirsten Dunst.

Jordan also discussed the subject in an interview with The Guardian, saying the casting controversy “must have been very difficult for (Cruise). The entire world said, ‘You are miscast.’ He’s a great actor. If he says he can do something, he will do it in a way that people will be shocked by. Tom has become the last remaining film star. It’s kind of strange.

What do you think of Tom Cruise’s performance as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Tom Cruise isn’t the only actor to play Lestat on the big screen, as Stuart Townsend played the character in the 2002 film Queen of the Damned.

Originally published at