“No Tom Cruise!”: An Author and Her Fans’ Attempt to Sabotage a Hollywood Vampire

This article primitively appeared in the March 1994 consequence of Esquire. You can find every Esquire floor ever published at Esquire Classic. It actually was a dark and stormy night. angry thunderheads cloaked Houston ‘s Hobby International Airport, and flash-flood warnings were being broadcast on the radio. The forecast was for adenine much as ten inches of rain before the end of the day. As the limousine plowed through the downpour, the passengers recall, the body of water was rising about center on the door panels. The driver turned and asked Anne Rice if she had brought the cruddy weather with her. Rice—the generator of Interview with the Vampire and a six best-selling novels about the demonic doings of witches, ghosts. and other spiritual creatures in a hale series of dark and stormy nights—could alone smile. recently, she has been accused of greater maleficence than mucking with the heavens.
Looking like a coif Morticia Addams, Rice was in Texas to promote her latest best-seller, Lasher, at Houston ’ s Crossroads Market & Bookstore. As her limousine approached, a abject rumble could be heard in the distance. At beginning it sounded like thunder. By the fourth dimension the car rounded the last bend, though, Rice could intelligibly make out the rhythmical meter of intonation .

Interview, published in 1976, is considered the greatest vampire fresh to come along since Bram Stoker ’ s Dracula was published about a hundred years ago .

Gathered outside the bookshop, closely a thousand sodden groupies outfitted in galoshes and garbage bags, brandishing umbrellas and protest signs, were reciting the like litany at the top of their lungs : “ No Tom Cruise ! No Tom Cruise ! No Tom Cruise ! ” As she stepped out of the car, a young homo handed her a prayer with hundreds of signatures calling for a boycott of the movie version of Interview with the Vampire, which stars Cruise as Rice ’ s most ill-famed ghoul, the vampire Lestat. Those unfamiliar with Rice may justifiably wonder why her public appearances call forth syndicate of frenzied hipsters and punks sporting black leather, Mohawks, tattoo, and nose rings. Those who do dip into the Ricean prose, which is of a style that can be described only as haute purple, may besides wonder what all the mother is about. But cults take many forms, and Rice ’ second followers feel they own the vampire Lestat, no matter who paid for the film rights. The true baron of vampire literature, Rice has said, lies in “ the fathomless well of metaphor. ” Devotees tend to read into her books about anything they are looking for, be it addiction, immortality, a secret company, or homosexuality. The more opaque the imagination, the wide the invoke .cruiseTom Cruise and Domiziana Giordano in Interview.

Warner Bros.

Interview, published in 1976, is about american samoa opaque as it gets, and possibly as a result is considered the greatest vampire fresh to come along since Bram Stoker ’ s Dracula was published about a hundred years ago. Updated for a morally ambiguous senesce, Rice ’ second Lestat is nobelium retentive the vampire as evil incarnate ; he is burdened with a conscience that haunts his every waking hour. ( The victims may or may not be glad to know their attacker has read his Camus. ) Director Francis Ford Coppola was sol charm by Rice ’ s Lestat that in his remake of Dracula, he transformed Stoker ’ mho leech into a lonely giant, as much in search of redemption as of retaliation. Thanks to Rice, the advanced vampire has gone from terrifying to misunderstood, and, actually, aren ’ t we all ?

“ I didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate speak out in any organized or planned way. ” She did it for her public. “ These people have stood in line for me three and four hours. They are my readers, and they hate this, ” she says. “ I was carried along by my readers. I didn ’ thymine start the whole thing at all. ”

Spurred on by her readers, Rice has embarked on a one-man crusade to embarrass Tom Cruise ; Warner Brothers, the studio bankrolling the movie ; and David Geffen, the film ’ second producer. To cheering push, Rice has been cursing Cruise for butchering her script, sanitizing the intimate contentedness to accommodate his clean-cut trope, and perpetrating the worst crime in the identify of casting since The Bonfire of the Vanities. Addressing an audience of one thousand on Halloween nox, she said, “ I wanted to call David Geffen and say, ‘ How the hell could you do this ? ’ ” For Tom Cruise, Interview is turning out to be a watershed role. At only thirty-one, the preternaturally cunning actor with the paralyzing smile earns $ 15 million a picture and delivers huge open weekends. But by nowadays that earnest-young-man function he has played to paragon seems to be wearing a little thin. It ’ sulfur become a quite boring act : The cocky youth matures to manhood over the course of a ninety-minute movie ( applause and roll credits, please ). The familiar wink, smile, and expression of balmy bewilderment ; it ’ mho all so familiar now. At the same time, all sorts of things can go amiss when stars venture beyond their highly bankable personas into that chartless territory known as “ stretching. ” For Cruise, who until immediately could do no wrong—even Cocktail has a certain late-Reagan-era charm—the risks are significant .film 'interview with the vampire' by neil jordanCruise in Interview.

Francois Duhamel

But at the goad of two Hollywood potentates, CAA headman Mike Ovitz and David Geffen, Cruise is entering the dangerous kingdom of character depicting. The fact that millions of Rice ’ s readers know the youngish Lestat to be tall, blond, European, and androgynous may be the least of his problems. In taking on the separate, Cruise is playing a villain for the first clock in his life—a sallow mass murderer, no less, an after-hours devil who sinks his tooth into every world, woman, and child he meets. cruise claims he isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate worried about whether the Wheaties-box visualize will interfere with his ability to play Lestat. “ I just couldn ’ thyroxine resist the function, ” he says in the easy, ad-lib direction he might talk about having a second piece of cake. Speaking over the earphone from his home in Los Angeles, where he is resting for a day before flying to London, Cruise is courteous and charming. While he concedes that Lestat represents a real deviation, he prefers to see it as less a risk than a challenge. “ Besides, he ’ s not a bad guy, he good has nefarious aspects to him, ” he deadpans. “ From his charge of opinion, he ’ sulfur justly. He ’ s actually a terribly lone character. ” If anything, Lestat is amoral, a lone super-vampire who voyages through time and space feast on human body. In Interview, he happily turns Louis, played by Brad Pitt, into a vampire because he likes the company—and he digs Louis ’ s fabulous pad. Later, still bored and alone, Lestat persuades Louis to “ adopt ” the five-year-old Claudia, making her a vampire vitamin a well. Claudia and Louis, who miss being homo and spend a distribute of time mope, are actually the engines that drive the plot. Lestat largely stands around looking cool .cruise and kidmanNicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, 1993

Barry King

Geffen contacted Cruise in December 1992, while the headliner was vacationing in Australia with his then-wife, Nicole Kidman. Cruise says he “ got identical excited. ” He had heard that they were making a movie of Interview, which he had read as a adolescent and loved. As a pull the leg of, he says, he had been a huge fan of the writing style, staying up late with his three sisters to watch Creature Feature and Fright Night. “ I was the moment unseasoned, ” he says, “ and I would constantly go to bed absolutely terrified. ” From the moment he knew he had the share, he has been “ busting ass, ” rereading Rice ’ south vampire books and boning up on the decadent life style of the eighteenth-century french aristocrat, Lestat ’ s milieu before he went into the vampire game. Cruise spend time in museums in Paris and visited Versailles to get the feel of the period furniture and fashions. He went on a diet-and-exercise regimen and dropped twelve pounds to take on Lestat ’ s bony physique. His hair, which he now wears parted in the middle, is streaked blond, and his eyebrows are flecked with gold. “ I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate know how this movie will turn out, ” he says. “ All I know is as an actor I am having a bang-up time playing this character. ” What he has not enjoyed doing is defending himself against Rice ’ s frequent and unflattering attacks. Rice has made a series of snarky comments about everything from the actor ’ randomness acme ( “ excessively short ” ) to his voice ( “ excessively high ” ), complaining a bit hubristically in the Los Angeles Times that Cruise is no more her Lestat “ than Edward G. Robinson is Rhett Butler. ”
"interview with a vampire" los angeles premiereNicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, 1994

Barry King

Cruise, who in holocene years has been carefully shielded from the weight-lift by his overprotective PR womanhood, Pat Kingsley—infamous for requiring writers ( myself not included ) to sign contracts before interviewing Cruise—was caught napping by Rice ’ s wrath. “ When it first hit, it very hurt my feelings, to be blunt about it, ” he admits, adding with genuine astonishment, “ her malice hurt. ” Cruise didn ’ triiodothyronine realize how much play Rice was getting until he started receiving calls from friends who wanted to know what was going on. “ cipher could see what the big softwood was, ” recalls Cruise. With the support of people he trusts, Cruise is trying not to let it get him down. He however regrets not being able to meet with Rice, the room he did with the writer Ron Kovic before making Born on the Fourth of July. “ You don ’ triiodothyronine normally start a movie with person not wanting you to do it, ” he says, allowing himself to sound a piece bruised for a moment. “ That ’ second unusual. ” Like Cruise, Warner Brothers is unamused by Rice ’ s campaign. In fact, some peak executives at the studio would gladly drive a interest through her heart. “ She ’ s out there promoting her book and getting a lot of ink from all this, ” says Robert Friedman, president of publicity for Warner Brothers. “ It ’ s no accident Interview is back on the best-seller number after seventeen years. It ’ sulfur just dear, antique hucksterism. ”

Although Interview isn ’ thymine scheduled to be released until the fall, it has already become the butt of industry jokes—labeled everything from Cruise ’ s Coffin and Geffen ’ sulfur Grave to Fangs a Lot .

even Ovitz, who represents Cruise, was sufficiently disturbed to respond. Insisting that Rice ’ randomness attacks on his client and the film had not done any damage, Ovitz handed down an official-sounding line : “ Interview will stand on its own intrinsic quality, which, given the talented people involved, will probably be very gamey. ” While it is axiomatic in Hollywood that any publicity is dear promotion, there is growing business at Warner Brothers that Rice ’ second rampage could bury the $ 50 million movie even before it is completed. Ever since Columbia Pictures jousted with the Los Angeles Times over a negative article about last Action Hero, studio executives have been skittish about boost word .actor tom cruise presents his new movie 'interview with the vampire'Cruise, 1994


Although Interview isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate scheduled to be released until the fall, it has already become the butt of diligence jokes—labeled everything from Cruise ’ s Coffin and Geffen ’ s Grave to Fangs a Lot—and of newspaper headlines predicting another hilarious Hollywood turkey. More than seventeen years in the make, with a bequest of dampen deals, badly scripts, and bizarre cast problems, Interview may good be hex. superstitious industry people point to the sudden death of actor River Phoenix, who was set to play the character of the young reporter, as an baleful harbinger. For all of Cruise ’ s efforts to play cool, there is no doubt that Rice ’ randomness comments have created a siege brain. Since filming began last October, the papers have been filled with unconfirmed reports about latent hostility on the set, beefed-up security, confidential tunnels connecting Cruise ’ s dressing room to outside locations, and other extraordinary efforts to protect the star from the press. The whole bid agent has been so besieged with cockamamie rumors that she has given up denying them. With $ 50 million at stake, and Cruise ’ s gold career entrusted to his concern, it is slowly to understand why David Geffen is feeling a little crank. last at function after several demonic years of haggling with Rice over her bible, preparing countless scripts, and thoroughly searching for a conductor and star topology, Geffen immediately finds himself being sabotaged at every turn by the writer. “ Anne is a difficult woman at best, and what her motives are remains reasonably beyond me, ” he says, sounding spitting delirious. “ But for her to attack this movie for her own ego, when she has been paid $ 2 million [ in rights ] and stands to make a distribute more money selling her books, is fair capricious. It lacks forgivingness. It lacks free will. And it lacks professionalism. ”

“ Every hurl choice is a leap, ” says director Neil Jordan, “ and if it works, it ’ mho because the actor makes it fit his own skin. ”

Geffen ’ mho impatience is exacerbated by his efforts in the past year to accommodate Rice. Early on, Rice had given Geffen a list of her favorite directors, headed by Ridley Scott and David Cronenberg, but they all turned the movie down. In the end, Geffen managed to recruit Neil Jordan. His name had made Rice ’ s shortlist after The Crying Game— which credibly confronted the theme of androgyny more openly than any movie in recent memory—and one of his earlier films, the creepy The Company of Wolves, even comes in for a kind citation in one of Rice ’ mho novels. “ She was thrilled, ” recalls Geffen piercingly. “ She was a big winnow of his. ” With Rice ’ s blessing, Geffen besides pursued Daniel Day-Lewis to star as Lestat. Rice says that the taciturn Lewis kept them waiting six months before declining the role, reportedly because he was tired of costume play. It was at this orient that the situation soured. Rice desperately wanted Jeremy Irons to play Lestat. She besides favored John Malkovich. She had actually modeled Lestat on Rutger Hauer when writing the novel, but evening she conceded that, at forty-nine, he might be a bit long in the tooth to play her virile vampire. Jordan, for his function, felt Rice ’ s casting suggestions all were besides old and besides predictable. He wanted to avoid the same clichéd, cadaverous-looking actors familiar to audiences from Max Schreck and Bela Lugosi Dracula flicks .film 'interview with the vampire' by neil jordanCruise and director Neil Jordan on the Interview set.

Francois Duhamel

Reached on his way to London, and sounding bone-weary after thirty-five nights of shooting in the swamps of New Orleans, Jordan insists that Cruise was his choice. “ sometimes when you go the inverse way from what people expect, you get the best results, ” Jordan explains. “ Every molding choice is a jump, ” he says, “ and if it works, it ’ randomness because the actor makes it fit his own peel. ” An Irishman who speaks with a lilt, Jordan has attempted only two big-budget Hollywood movies in his career, High Spirits and We ’ rhenium No Angels, both box-office flops. He is refreshingly candid about one of Rice ’ s worst fears— that Cruise was selected partially for commercial reasons—confirming that “ a very high-profile choice ” was a necessity for a film american samoa dearly-won as Interview. He can ’ t quite sympathize why she is making such a fuss. “ I had a conversation with Anne when I took the job and she was very enthusiastic and very sugared on the earphone, ” he says, “ so I ’ ve been amazed by all this public criticism. ” He pauses a moment. “ I ’ m not sure what ’ randomness happened, but it ’ s all gotten indeed out of restraint it ’ south farcical. ” Sitting in the sun-drenched garden room, the lone cheerful room in her otherwise gloomy, violet-colored First Street sign of the zodiac in New Orleans, Rice seems overwhelmed with regret. For that count, the hale house, with its apparitional mirrors and statues, staring porcelain dolls, and eerie memorabilia—skulls, crystal balls, and such—seems oppressively sad. As she explains her anguish over the course that events have taken, clasping and unclasping her modest, pale hands, her adjunct, who sports a small gold pivot in the shape of a bat, serves us cold Tabs. We drink in silence for a moment. The only legal in the firm is the clink of the ice in our glasses and the whizz of the ceiling fan. Rice didn ’ thyroxine entail for things to go this army for the liberation of rwanda. She had put her reliance in Geffen and Jordan, but the more she thought about what they were doing to her book—turning it into a commercial blockbuster—the more cheat on she felt. “ I on the spur of the moment realized I was just ferocious, ” she recalls, clutching her field glass. “ I didn ’ triiodothyronine speak out in any organized or planned way. ” She did it for her populace. “ These people have stood in tune for me three and four hours. They are my readers, and they hate this, ” she says. “ I was carried along by my readers. I didn ’ t start the whole thing at all. ”ann rice late 90sAnn Rice, late ’90s

Lee Celano

The floor behind Rice ’ s dealings with Hollywood and the difficulty in bringing Interview to the shield is about as retentive and tortured as one of her novels. Rice ’ s intense emotional ties to the ledger can be traced back to the tragic circumstances of its conception : Interview was written in 1975 in the bibulous, bereaved years after her five-year-old daughter died of leukemia. much of the history is autobiographical : The character of Louis, the vampire who acts as narrator, is based on herself, and Claudia, the five-year-old vampire, is the reincarnation of her lost child. big studios ’ and stars ’ decision to turn good books into frightful movies borders on compulsive. But Interview is not everybody ’ sulfur mind of a adept bible. Scene after setting is larded with highly charged intimate imagery—heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. It is a aroused bouillabaisse of uncontrolled animal urges. The plot, however, is intemperate to find. many people ( this reporter included ) can ’ t tell if it is meant to be unplayful fiction or great methamphetamine. Interview was rejected by every publish house Rice sent it to. Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster dropped her agentive role a note saying, “ I can ’ thyroxine see this at all. lunch ? ” Rice kept it as a memento. Ironically, Knopf, one of the more highbrow houses, thought the book had likely and published it with great flourish. The reviews were shuffle : The Washington Post declared it “ beautiful and always unforgettable, ” and The New Republic dismissed it as “ insidious ” and “ suckling amorousness. ” Hollywood loved it. The book was optioned by Richard Sylbert, a give production architect who was then lead of production for Paramount. But Sylbert lasted there only eighteen months. not long enough, he says, “ to get bullshit made. ” even so, Sylbert recalls that during his brief tenure “ there was absolutely no enthusiasm for that movie. ” Paramount offered it to John Travolta, but he passed on it. The head problem, according to Sylbert, was that Rice ’ mho floor is “ polymorphic perverse, ” which is to say, downright kinky. Some of the scenes of Lestat and Louis cuddling with Claudia, the five-year-old love child, margin on pedophilia. If it wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate for the fangs, these guys would have been brought up on a morals mission .bradBrad Pitt in Interview.

Francois Duhamel

The book was slated to become a bum movie of the week when the rights reverted to Rice. By this time, she had hooked up with producer Julia Phillips, who was convinced that Interview belonged on Broadway—as a musical. The project fell through. By 1988 it seemed improbable that Interview would always make it as a movie. There were more than a twelve different scripts of Interview, all of them regarded as unmakable. But when Rice ’ s sequel to Interview, The Vampire Lestat ( in which Lestat returns as a rock star ), became a best seller, Lorimar bought the rights to both books. To keep the ball wheel, Rice proposed a bizarre solution : a new handwriting changing the male vampire Louis into a womanhood. Since she had based the character on herself in the foremost place, Rice did not see this as a radical deviation from the text. It would besides dilute the report ’ s homoerotic elements and introduce a comforting maternal theme in regard to Claudia. Convinced that her “ transvestite ” quality was a good compromise, Rice developed a treatment for Lorimar along those lines with Cher in mind. She besides thought Meryl Streep or Anjelica Huston could play the function. then Warner Brothers purchased Lorimar, and Geffen, who had a output manage with the studio apartment, acquired the rights. Geffen persuaded Rice to take another stab at the Interview handwriting herself. Rice dispensed with all the elements she had introduced over the years to placate different producers and focused on a narrative line that would make Lestat “ sympathetic ” and “ clearly establish that vampires are bisexual. ”
original mag spread, esquireOriginal magazine spread, Esquire

Over the years, screenwriters had transformed the vampire ’ second bloodlust into a metaphor for AIDS, casting the fib in a strange light. “ One rationality the fifteen or so scripts of Interview hadn ’ metric ton worked was that people tended to make Lestat a pigeonhole of a atrocious gay person, ” explains Rice. “ They were awful scripts. I used to call them the hairdressers from hell. ” To correct the trouble, she made what she terms a series of “ child changes, ” giving Louis a dead wife and child ( those syndicate values pop up everywhere ) and in one scene switching the small boys Lestat feasts on to a couple. rice nowadays concedes that it was she herself—and not Cruise or Jordan—who “ mainstreamed ” some of the material to make it more palatable to Warner Brothers. “ I did the things Neil Jordan is accused of, ” she says. Geffen showed Rice ’ mho revised script to directors, and even she admits “ it became apparent that we were going to have trouble finding person to do it the way we thought it should be done. ” In the end, Jordan threw out all the former efforts and started over, putting back “ the little girl, and the rake, and the sex, ” he says, chuckling. possibly the greatest irony about Rice ’ randomness attacks is that of all the screenplays written over the years, including three of her own, Jordan ’ second is probably true to the reserve. “ Anne is hostile because her scripts couldn ’ t be made, ” concludes Geffen, adding that she had seventeen years to get the movie made her way and has no grounds for complaining now. “ She ’ s not about anything but ego. ”on the set of interview with the vampire by neil jordanAntonio Banderas in Interview.

Francois Duhamel

Geffen is not in a forgiving frame of mind. He feels that by bad-mouthing the film, Rice was playing with people ’ s reputations. “ She is hurting people, ” he says angrily. “ It ’ s just cruddy and complimentary and uncalled for. ” Geffen maintains that Cruise has not demanded any changes. “ He has not had any input into this handwriting any, ” says Geffen. “ There is not one shred of truth in it. Any homophobia being alleged against Tom is an shock and a bald-faced lie. ” Jordan is particularly puzzled by Rice ’ sulfur claims that he is cutting out the sexual content. “ To accuse me of taking all the homoerotic elements out of the movie, after I made The Crying Game ? Me, of all people—why would I do that ? ”

“ There ’ s a distribute of biting going on, ” jokes Cruise. “ It is a very erotic visualize. The hard part is learning to bite person in a different way each time. ”

Jordan points out that despite all of the overheat passages in her book about two hearts beating as one, her vampires do not have sex. They are, if anything, sexually ambivalent. Lestat likes to snack on girls, then move on to boys for the main path. As Rice has the vampire Louis excuse in Interview, “ For vampires, forcible love culminates and is satisfied in one matter, the kill. ” “ There ’ s a lot of biting going on, ” jokes Cruise, who doesn ’ triiodothyronine want to give anything away. “ It is a identical erotic video, ” he hints, explaining that every meter Lestat goes for the jugular, it is done in a unique, achingly seductive manner. The ridicule has finesse. “ The arduous function is learning to bite person in a different room each clock time, ” he says, getting into character. “ Each kill has to tell the floor of that relationship. ” For Cruise, “ there is a huge amount on the line—money, repute, everything, ” says Jordan. “ For me, it is not american samoa much a hazard professionally. ” If the movie fails, the director says, he can constantly go back to making little movies. “ But you have to be brave to do this, ” he murmurs .
esquire cover march 1994Esquire cover, March 1994

Geffen thinks Rice will end up deplorable. After all, Ian Fleming apologized after complaining that Sean Connery would make a severe James Bond. But if Interview turns out to be a great movie, it won ’ thyroxine count. “ No one will remember Anne Rice ’ sulfur attacks, ” says Geffen, “ and she ’ ll make a bunch of money selling more and more books. ” rice may besides have to get accustomed to seeing Cruise ’ s expression. After all, there is the not-insignificant topic of sequels. Interview is the inaugural of four best-selling books that make up her bloodstained anthology, The Vampire Chronicles. Geffen, who bought the rights to the complete hardened, was intelligibly planning for his future. If Interview is a hit, Rice can look ahead to seeing Cruise play Lestat again and again and again.

Editor’s Note: The movie was indeed a hit when it was released in November, 1994. And Ann Rice loved Cruise ’ s performance, late commenting, “ I like to believe Tom ‘s Lestat will be remembered the manner Olivier ’ sulfur Hamlet is remembered. Others may play the character some day but no matchless will ever forget Tom ‘s version of it. ” A true Hollywood ending .

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Category : interview

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