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Interview With the Vampire returns for a 'grander' & gayer season 2

Interview With the Vampire returns for a 'grander' & gayer season 2


Interview With the Vampire returns for a 'grander' & gayer season 2
Larry Horricks/AMC

Rolin Jones, showrunner of Interview with the Vampire, promises a “bigger and grander” return of AMC’s queer horror hit.

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Why do queer people love horror? The thrill of the genre is, of course, universal. People from all over the world, of all genders and sexualities and races, love to watch horror films. But there’s something to the genre that specifically lures in LGBTQ+ folks.

There is a rush in getting scared, in wrapping one’s head around the unimaginable, and looking fear in the eye behind the safety of a screen. It’s escapism and emotional waterboarding combined, a mirror reflecting the darkest desires of humanity — and ourselves. And it’s fun. Why else would the Babadook be a gay icon?

Vampires are queerer than most monsters. They seduce us, quite literally, for our blood, and don’t typically discriminate on gender. Look at Dracula, the Queen of the Damned, Edward Cullen, What We Do in the Shadows, or even the outlandishly homoerotic Interview With the Vampire film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Heterosexual? Uh, sure. But there’s just something so queer about them.

There are other obvious gay parallels. Vampires are forced to imagine an alternate way of living outside societal norms. They’re only free to be themselves under the cover of the night. Many spend time pretending to be someone (or something) they’re not. Immortality supersedes discrimination, oppression, and illness.

And if the vampire wanting to turn you is as hot as Jacob Anderson or Sam Reid, what mere mortal could resist?

The two stars of AMC’s television adaption of Anne Rice’s 1976 novel Interview With the Vampire push the inherent queerness that’s always existed in vampirism from subtext to canon. No need to read between the lines, ship a romance between heterosexual characters on Tumblr, or write a fanfic. It’s on-screen, fully fleshed out, and just as delicious as we’ve always dreamed.

If you missed season 1: The story follows Louis (Anderson), a shady businessman staking his claim to 1910s New Orleans. Lestat (Reid), a mysterious Frenchman, comes to town, and the two quickly form a twisted infatuation with each other that escalates into a gothic romance for the ages. Throughout their tumultuous decades together, Louis yearns for a family, and the unlikely fathers adopt (turn) a dying teen named Claudia to save her life. But as she ages, their relationships strain, and each of the trio struggles with their individual thirst for power, love, and blood.

Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac and Delainey Hayles as ClaudiaLarry Horricks/AMC

The epic season ends on a haunting note for Lestat, and showrunner Rolin Jones promises that the next chapter will be “bigger and grander.” Season 2 sees Louis and Claudia free from their elder’s grip and searching for their vampiric kinfolk in Europe amid World War II. Still wounded from his bloody breakup with Lestat, Louis gains a new lover in another vampire named Armand (Assad Zaman) with his own entangled history. Talk about a love triangle.

Drawing from Rice’s novel of the same name and other entries in her Vampire Chronicles series, the writers’ room is constantly working to expand upon the source material. “If you think of the first two seasons, all 15 episodes, as a movie, then rightfully the second half of your movie should be richer and bigger and bolder and more heartbreaking and more beautiful than its predecessor,” he explains.

Jones teases the meet-cute between the vampires Armand and Louis where fans might go, “‘Wait, that’s not what happened in the book.’ Wait a few more episodes, folks,” he says. “You’re all gonna get to see what you want.”

In exchange, fans receive something much juicier. In episode 2, the vampires’ paths collide in perhaps the gayest way possible: cruising in a Parisian park. “That’s what you had to do in 1946,” Jones laughs. “There’s still something sexy and interesting and fun and dangerous about it.”

Rice, Jones praises, was “way ahead, man.” The writers strive to “be just as aggressive as she was in 1973.” Rice worked on the AMC series before she died in 2021 (before the show aired in 2022), but they still channel her energy.

“The mantra always was ‘Put Anne in the room when she was a young writer,’” Jones says. When the writers are lost, “look to that empty chair and go, ‘What would you do then,’ and keep her alive in presence in the room. That was super important.”

Jones chuckles as he considers what Rice would think of the show today. “If she was alive to see it and invited me to dinner, 96 percent of the dinner would be about what I did wrong and how angry she was at it and how I screwed it up. And I do think about 4 percent of it would have been ‘Hmm. I like that.’”

The mystique of the show, Jones believes, is the grandeur, of course, but also the soapiness of these aged vampires.

“They’re really, really old,” he notes. “If I think about the baggage I have as a 50-year-old, now they’re 200 years, and they’re still living.” Instead of hardening in old age, AMC’s vamps will “get more messed up the older they got, as opposed to more detached and cold and restrained.” How will that affect their mindsets?

“There’s this violent act that most of them have to do every night,” he muses. “What we’re really interested in is this restraint and enduring because if that’s what you have to do every night, the fact that they can sit down and have a cigarette and ask, ‘How are you doing?’ I think it’s remarkable and heroic that they are constantly trying to normalize their very weird, violent, destructive lives.”

Don’t we do the same? Minus the blood, of course.

Interview With the Vampire premieres Sunday on AMC and AMC+.

This article is part of the Out's May/June issue, which hits newsstands on May 28. Support queer media and subscribe— or download the issue through Apple News, Zinio, Nook, or PressReader starting May 14.

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