Anne Rice may be known for her vampires, but her world is far, far more than just The Vampire Chronicles. In case you missed the news, AMC has taken the next steps in getting her stories from the page to the screen. No, we’re not talking about casting Lestat. The latest big news, which actually has us scratching our heads a little bit—mostly in a good way!—is the recent opening of a writers’ room for Lives of the Mayfair Witches.
This is super early in the process, to the point where there may not even wind up being a series. Here’s the thing: Trying to adapt The Vampire Chronicles poses its own sort of challenge. Everyone already thinks they know Interview with the Vampire because of the fantastic 1994 film by the same name. The bar is extremely high with that one (and extremely low with the third book in the series, which had one of the worst film adaptations ever. But uh. Not going there today). If the network eventually wants to include more of Lestat’s story, introducing him through Louis’ eyes without making him the villain he was, at least at one point, is going to be really interesting.
But you can’t tell Lestat’s full story, assuming anyone decides to go there, without introducing Rowan Mayfair and the rest of her family. Which brings me back to the original point. This adaption is not going to be easy. At all.
Unless you’ve read The Witching Hour and its two sequels, Lasher and Taltos, forget everything you thought you knew about Anne Rice and about witches. Honestly, just throw out everything you thought you knew about anything.
The Witching Hour is probably one of the best love stories I’ve ever read—or at least the most memorable…Y’all, I read this like 20 years ago, at least, and still distinctly remember shipping it hard. Not to mention, Rowan Mayfair is a complete BAMF, who’s absolutely going to be on everyone’s “Strong Female Character” lists if (when?) this thing ever makes it to the screen—especially if AMC goes balls to the wall and makes its way through the entire Anne Rice library.
So, when the press release mentioned Esta Spalding and Michelle Ashford were the writers and executive producers (with Spalding as showrunner), someone definitely made the right choice in asking women to write Rowan Mayfair. Add both writers’ experience on Masters of Sex, and you’ve got two people who can write a complex love story for the screen, create amazing drama, and even deal with some of the time jumps of it all.
(Although, a few decades in a very realistic universe are quite different than the rich and deep history presented in the Mayfair witch trilogy. But meh. Talent is talent.)
Here’s where the wrinkle comes in: By the end of The Witching Hour, things go a bit…batshit. Lasher and Taltos? Well. What’s written on those pages needs to be handled very, very carefully, or there’s going to be a lot of talk about jumping the shark from people who’ve never opened an Anne Rice novel in their lives. One of the things that has always made her supernatural universe a favorite, even when it has gone into territory that no one should ever have had the right to pull off, is her particular style of prose. The Mayfair Witch Trilogy is no exception.
But you don’t get that on a television series. So, somehow, other elements of production are going to have to come together to make up for the loss of Anne Rice’s words. (See also: Some of the best parts of 1994’s Interview with the Vampire were the voiceovers—and all those beautiful words—mixed with that glorious soundtrack.)
Are Spalding, Ashford, and whoever else winds up in the room up to the challenge? Only time will tell…But if Lives of the Mayfair Witches is unsuccessful, yet every piece of The Vampire Chronicles still winds up making its way to AMC, that’s going to be a huge disservice to my girl Rowan. We can’t have that.
We also, quite frankly, can not get the casting wrong. Not for Rowan Mayfair and not for anyone else in Lives of the Mayfair Witches. As in, don’t make the same mistake that A Discovery of Witches did. The chemistry on that series? Top notch. Casting someone to play Diana, an American, who couldn’t come up with any kind of American-sounding accent—much less a consistent one—to save her life? Not so much.
We’re still super far away from that whole discussion…but just saying. I’m sending Rowan’s Uncle Lestat after y’all if you screw her over.
What I’m saying here is this had better at least be watchable, unlike that disaster of a Queen of the Damned film. Those of us who have loved a thing for more than half our lives, like I have with all things Anne Rice, including Lives of the Mayfair Witches, get kind of protective over it. So, I’ll be watching this carefully, ready to praise or rage as necessary.
What about you? Are you excited about the possibility of a series? Let us know in the comments.