Bloody Disgusting has confirmed today that Robert Downey Jr is in close talks to play the vampire Lestat in Universal Studios’ planned reboot of the film franchise of Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles.
Rice’s vampire books were previously adapted for the big screen in 1994 with Neil Jordan’s Interview With The Vampire, which starred Tom Cruise as the beautiful blond vamp Lestat (Brad Pitt played the vampire Louis), and then in 2002 with Queen of the Damn, in which Stuart Townsend took over the Lestat role.
Before the Twilight phenomenon, the books of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles were the ultimate in vampire stories next to Dracula, with Lestat being the most desirable of the undead. Fans might remember how badly Rice took the news of Cruise being cast as Lestat in Interview and severely criticized the choice (after seeing the film, she retracted her statements).
Since nabbing the lead in the first Iron Man film, Downey has seemed invincible. It’s not hard to imagine that he can pull off just about any role handed to him. But, Lestat? That just doesn’t seem to add up.
The character of Lestat de Lioncourt was an 18th century French nobleman who became a vampire at the tender age of 20. He has a youthful beauty and charm, which was only enhanced after he was turned — this is part of what makes him so charismatic.
If you today’s Downey was 20 years younger, I’d say he’d probably be able to pull this off — and do it well. But as his is now, I don’t see how it could happen.
While I don’t think an entire reboot of the franchise is necessary, since I thought Interview was a great movie and still holds up today, I am excited that more of Rice’s books will come to life. Queen of the Damned was the third book and that film was originally supposed to go direct-to-video (and that should give you an idea of the quality of that one), but was given a theatrical release only to capitalize on the sudden death of its star Aaliyah. No film was ever made for the second novel, The Vampire Lestat, the story which Lestat narrates about this life.