It was November 11, 1994, and Neil Jordan’s decadent adaptation of Anne Rice’s bestselling novel Interview with the Vampire was set to bring the author’s famed vampires to life for the first time on the big screen.
With an estimated budget of $60 million, the film opened number one at the box office with $36.4 million going on to take in $105 million in the US and a total of $224 million worldwide thanks in large part to the combination of Rice’s die hard fans and the brilliant casting which brought together some of the biggest stars at the time.
The film told the story of Louis (Brad Pitt), a centuries old vampire who, late one evening, decides to tell the story of his life in darkness to a young reporter (Christian Slater) which began one fateful night when he caught the attention of the foppish and sensual vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise).
Audiences were captivated by the story and the portrayal of Rice’s vampires by its leading cast. They seemed especially taken by young Kirsten Dunst as the child vampire Claudia. Dunst was eventually nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the film.
Casting for the film also boasted Antonio Banderas (Evita), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), and Thandie Newton (Westworld).
Critical reviews were mixed though they leaned toward the positive.
“Although one of the characters in “Interview with the Vampire” begs to be transformed into a vampire, and eagerly awaits the doom of immortality, the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness,” famed film critic Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun Times. “That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they’d gotten away with something. But the first great vampire movie, “Nosferatu” (1922), knew better, and so does this one.”
The film seemed to spark the imagination due in large part to its aesthetic heightened by Elliot Goldenthal’s exquisite score, and fans continue to adore it 25 years later even as news of a new adaptation based on Rice’s entire Vampire Chronicles looms.
If you haven’t seen Interview with the Vampire in a while, it’s time to break out the DVD and give it an anniversary watch.