Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have acquired the rights to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles series. We could see Lestat the Vamp on the big screen yet again. Let's hope it'll be a better movie than Queen of the Damned turned out to be.
This deal ensures that Universal and Imagine will have an entire body of existing, as well as any future novels in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles book series. This will also include the preexisting screenplay for Tale of the Body Thief, written by Anne’s son Christopher Rice.
Imagine Entertainment president Erica Huggins will oversee the series, while Bobby Cohen will executive produce. Brian Grazer will also produce for Imagine Entertainment with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It was previously reported that Kurtzman and Orci were no longer business partners – apart from a couple of television projects – but could perhaps be re-teaming for this sufficiently large property. This potential horror series is certainly in vogue with Universal’s decision to reboot their classic monsters. Kurtzman is directing The Mummy reboot for the studio, as well as overseeing a possible classic monster universe of interconnected films which would include everything from Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster to The Wolf Man and Van Helsing.
A couple of Rice’s books from The Vampire Chronicles have previously been adapted to the big screen. Interview with the Vampire was produced in 1994 and starred Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas, and grossed $220 million worldwide – a pretty penny for Warner Bros. Rice’s Queen of the Damned (also part of The Vampire Chronicles) was adapted to the screen in 2002. Universally panned by critics and fans alike, the film was the last acting effort of singer Aaliyah and the last screen adaptation of Rice’s iconic vampire Lestat (this time, played by Stuart Townsend).
The novels in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles are centered around Lestat de Lioncourt, an 18th century French nobleman turned vamp, who acts as both narrator and antihero. The deal gives Universal and Imagine access to the entire Vampire Chronicle series as well as the previously mentioned screenplays and any future novels including the upcoming 11th book Prince Lestat.
Whether Grazer, Kurtzman, Orci, Universal and Imagine decide to treat the adaptations as the romantic tragedies of vampiric immorality they are is still unsure. Judging how Kurtzman is handling the classic Universal monster movie reboots like The Mummy and Van Helsing, we can be sure The Vampire Chronicles‘ adaptations will have many “artistic liberties” that might look more like Dracula Untold than Neil Jordan’s 1994 Interview with the Vampire.
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Images: Warner Bros., Knopf Publishing