Jacob Anderson talks playing Louis on Interview With The Vampire


AMC recently wrapped on the first season of Interview With The Vampire, and it was a doozy. The show has taken Anne Rice’s classic story and pumped new life into it, keeping the beats everyone recognizes while introducing its own compelling twists.

At the head of the show is Game of Thrones veteran Jacob Anderson as Louis, a melancholy New Orleans native turned into a creature of the night by Lestat (Sam Reid), who is at once his maker, the love of his life, and his worst nightmare. The passionate, abusive relationship between Lestat and Louis was a highlight of the first season. The show refuses to categorize it neatly, which Anderson is fully on board with.

“It’s very difficult to really pinpoint what love is in a human context, let alone in a vampire context. But I would say that it is a seemingly unbreakable bond that is difficult to live with, very difficult to live without,” Anderson told Inside Hook. “It’s kind of a question that the show asks. The way that Lestat treats Louis through the season, and also the way that Louis sometimes treats Lestat, and the way they both treat Claudia and she treats them.”

You could say that it is love and that what their relationship is, is a love story. But then you could say, “Is it acceptable to behave in this way towards people that you love? Is that love or is it a narcissistic exercise? What is that?” I don’t think the show comes up with clean answers. I think that Louis is in love with Lestat, but he just doesn’t express it in exactly the way that Lestat does, or exactly the way Lestat wants him to. But it’s a very difficult thing to define in a sort of clean or satisfying way. I’d say it’s definitely a romance.

Exploring “Loustat”

Whatever label people wanna put on it, the internet has definitely embraced Louis and Lestat’s messy affair. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles inspired one of the first big waves of fan art and fan-fiction decades ago, and the new AMC show is keeping up the tradition.

“I have seen things,” Anderson said. “I’ve seen some really beautiful art, incredible work that people are making inspired by the show. Coming into this in the beginning, I definitely had a fear that I wasn’t going to be accepted because of how Louis is presented in the original novel. It feels really significant to me that I’m included in the way that people think of this story now. From that point of view, it’s lovely.

Loustat is something that…I mean, [Lestat actor Sam Reid] was way more kind of ingratiated into the Anne Rice fandom than I was early on, I’d only read the first two books, which I was very much in love with, but I hadn’t read beyond at that point. But, we were saying, “Loustat.” We were calling them “Loustat” throughout the shoot.

I’ll try to remember that “Loustat” is the portmanteau of choice for these two.

How Louis’ race affects his life (and afterlife)

One of the new layers that AMC’s show adds to Rice’s story is a greater focus on the interview part of Interview With the Vampire. We spend a lot of time in the present as Louis narrates his story to journalist Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian), and it becomes clear that Louis may not always be telling the full truth. According to Anderson, putting on a front is something Louis is used to.

“I think Louis is performing in every era of his life,” Anderson said. “There are moments where he allows himself to be vulnerable enough to be himself. In episode six what he’s experiencing is clinical depression. He’s unable to be anything else. He’s unable to access anything other than that. He kind of dissociates, he can’t access his joie de vivre or whatever his essence is in that moment, so his essence becomes that. But that was part of the fun of doing the interview was that sometimes Louis is —how do I say this without giving too much away, and I mean giving things away beyond the first season — I think that Louis really believes that a lot of this is the truth. There are other things that he knows deep down are not true, but he has to tell himself a version of it in order to cope.”

Daniel is somebody who he’s picked for a reason. I think Louis really needs a therapist, but he can’t get a therapist because he’s a vampire. It would be very difficult for him to get a therapist and to unpack his life in that way. He finds the one person that can help him unpack it. It’s not really what you asked me. But I love even the stuff in 1910. He’s performing this bravado, and he’s performing this kind of affable family man. He’s constantly in a state of trying to be something in other people’s eyes. Sometimes as well that’s about performing for Lestat. It’s performing as the submissive one in their relationship. Or it’s about him being into vampirism when he’s not. I love playing those degrees and saying one thing and then doing another thing with your face. I love that stuff. That’s how I observe people.

What will happen to Louis and Claudia in Interview With The Vampire season 2?

As for what comes next, season 1 ends with Louis and his vampire “daughter” Claudia leaving Lestat behind and heading to Europe. Another great twist the show added was casting Black actors to play both Louis and Claudia, which allowed the writers to explore the racial dynamic of early 20th Century America. That will continue as the two travel onward.

“[I]t follows you wherever you go, because we don’t live in a world that is post-racial,” Anderson said. “Wherever we find Louis, it’s going to be a part of his story. It’s going to be a part of his existence and his daily life. I mean, it is in Dubai, you don’t really see it, but I think there’s something very interesting about this Black man living up in a tower in Dubai.”

Honestly, I’m not being secretive, I don’t know yet exactly what is going to be explored in season two, but I always find this thing really interesting about European sensibilities at a certain time. Like James Baldwin going over to Paris to escape racism in America. This idea that Paris was this really welcoming place for Black people, particularly African-Americans. It would be interesting to see what we do with that. I think in a lot of cases it wasn’t necessarily true. It just wasn’t as awful as it was in America at that time.

And then there’s what happens after the interview is done and Daniel Malloy publishes a book about Louis’ life. Other vampires will not be happy about it; by sharing so much information about them, it’s possible that Louis is signing his own death warrant.

“I don’t think that Louis is being nihilistic or that he’s feeling suicidal,” Anderson said. “He’s in a period of trying to figure out who he was, what his imprint on his life and everybody within it was. But in doing that, he’s going to bring a lot of heat because the other vampires are not going to be very happy about it. I think that specific line is less about Louis feeling suicidal, and more about the vampires will come for him if this book is published. He’s taking a massive risk in sharing this stuff and confiding his life to somebody.”

The second season of Interview With The Vampire will wrap up the story from Rice’s book. But AMC has big plans for its “Immortal Universe,” so I don’t think it will be the end.

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