Best-selling author Anne Rice made waves in November when, in a Facebook post, she announced that had regained theatrical rights to her seminal series of novels The Vampire Chronicles that single-handledly redefined the vampire genre in the 1970s and ’80s and is beginning work on a television series adaptation with her son, novelist and columnist Christopher Rice. In the post, she unveiled their plan to reach out to potential producers once they have completed the pilot script and series bible.
The hot property hit the marketplace in the past month or so, pitched to various studios and production companies. The big-ticket package, which includes 11 books from Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, has been optioned by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Christopher Rice will pen the series and serve as executive producer alongside Anne Rice and Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Steve Golin. The project is expected to be taken out to networks soon.
“It is undeniable that Anne Rice has created the paradigm against which all vampire stories are measured. The rich and vast world she has created with The Vampire Chronicles is unmatched and sophisticated with 90’s gothic undertones that will be perfectly suited to captivate audiences,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount TV. “The series is full of compelling characters led by Lestat, arguably one of the greatest original characters, literary or otherwise.”
The Vampire Chronicles began with 1976’s Interview with the Vampire, which introduced readers to Louis, a French colonial aristocrat in 18th century New Orleans who is turned into an undead bloodsucker by the charismatic and dangerous Lestat. The book’s sequel, 1985’s The Vampire Lestat, made the titular character the main protagonist, and subsequent books largely have centered on his further adventures, which include exploring the origins of vampires, an encounter with Satan and in the most recent installment, published on November 29, a trip to Atlantis.
“Together with our partners at Paramount Television, we are embarking on a fantastic journey with Anne and Christopher Rice to bring Anne’s unparalleled imagination to television at the moment when the medium is experiencing a global apex in the demand for the most outstanding, exciting and heightened premium dramatic programming,” said Anonymous Content’s David Kanter.
Said Anne Rice: “In this unique golden age of television, I couldn’t ask for a finer or more passionate team to help bring my beloved vampire hero, Lestat, alive in a series of the highest quality. This is a dream come true, both for me and for Christopher and for the fans who have been asking to see the Brat Prince in this medium for years.”
Added Christopher Rice: “The first great day for me on this project was when my mother asked me to partner with her on it. The second, is the announcement of this thrilling partnership with Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. For decades now, fans of The Vampire Chronicles have been clamoring for a long-form television adaptation of this galaxy of content.”
Theatrical rights were held for years by Warner Bros, which tried twice to launch the novels as a film franchise. The first, 1994’s Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, was a hit starring Brad Pitt as Louis and Tom Cruise as Lestat, alongside Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Kirsten Dunst. A second film, Queen of the Damned, based on the third novel in the series, was released in 2002 with a different cast and less success.
Attempts to revisit the series on film have since then been stillborn. In 2012, Imagine Entertainment began early development of a film based on the fourth novel in the series, Tale of the Body Thief, but the project was canned less than a year later due to creative differences. Universal acquired rights to the series in 2014 with an interest in bringing Body Thief to theaters but ultimately didn’t move forward.
The experience of trying to adapt her novels for film seems to have convinced Rice to stay away from the big screen. “As many of you know, Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment had optioned the series to develop motion pictures from it, and though we had the pleasure of working with many fine people in connection with this plan, it did not work out. It is, more than ever, abundantly clear that television is where the vampires belong,” she said on Facebook in announcing The Vampire Chronicles TV series..
The Vampire Chronicles marks the latest collaboration between Paramount TV and Anonymous Content, which have a first-look production deal, which has yielded four series to date, Berlin Station at Epix, 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac at Netflix, and the upcoming The Alienist at TNT, with a slew of other projects in development.
The deal was negotiated by David Goldman and Erika Kirkwood for Paramount TV, and CAA and Christine Cuddy of Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo on behalf of Anne and Christopher Rice.