Bloody-Disgusting is reporting that the ever-charming Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., is in “close talks” to play the vampire Lestat in a “restart” of The Vampire Chronicles, a series of novels by author Anne Rice first written in the ’70s. It (mostly) tells the tale of a French nobleman, Lestat de Lioncourt, who gets turned into a vampire in the 18th century.
[UPDATE: Author Anne Rice has given her thoughts on the possibility of Robert Downey Jr. playing Lestat. Also, it’s been revealed which novel the first film will be based on. Bottom of the post for details]
Universal Pictures is reportedly behind the new reboot style film franchise of Rice’s novels. The character of Lestat has appeared twice in adaptations of the popular novels: in 1994 with Interview with the Vampire (also the first novel in the series), portrayed by Tom Cruise, and again in 2002 with Queen of the Damned, this time played by Stuart Townsend. There’s no news on which book from the series this new “franchise” would be based on – will it start with Interview and, if successful, work its way in series order? Here’s the list of the books (from Wikipedia):
- Interview with the Vampire (1976)
- The Vampire Lestat (1985)
- The Queen of the Damned (1988)
- The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
- Memnoch the Devil (1995)
- The Vampire Armand (1998)
- Merrick (2000)
- Blood and Gold (2001)
- Blackwood Farm (2002)
- Blood Canticle (2003)
There’s little surprise that a studio would turn their interest towards another popular vampire series of books with the recent and ongoing success of Twilight. As with Twilight, The Vampire Chronicles has a fanbase to fall back on, albeit not of rabid teenage girls who’ll buy everything with the franchise name on it. And it also has the current popularity of “hot vampires” to play off of. The potential casting of Downey Jr. doesn’t exactly hurt the studio either – in case you hadn’t noticed he’s both a talented and a very popular actor at the moment (the latter, I don’t think, could have been said 10 years ago).
I wouldn’t have thought of it without having heard this possible casting (very reminiscent of when he was announced as playing Iron Man), but I think Downey Jr. would play a great vampire. Especially one like the character of Lestat, who requires someone charismatic and a particular and precise manner of speaking – Downey Jr. fits that perfectly, I think you’ll agree.
UPDATE: Bloody-Disgusting has found out that the first film in the “reboot” will be based on the second film in the Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat (looks like I was spot on with my header :D ).
Also, The Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice has given her thoughts on Downey Jr. portraying her vampire character, Lestat. And it appears she agrees with me that he would be a great fit for the role. Here’s what she had to say:
“I’m delighted to comment. First off, I cannot confirm or deny the rumor. I have not received official word as to the truth of it yet.”
“But I can say without hesitation that I love Robert Downey Jr. and I think he would make a fabulous Vampire Lestat. He is a major actor, a powerhouse of talent and personality, and he evinces an irrepressible and seductive charm. He would bring great energy and skill to the role. I would love to see this happen. I’ve loved Robert Downey Jr. ever since I saw him in Restoration years ago, and I thought he was magical and powerful in Iron Man. — So I hope the rumors are true. – I’ve posted on my Facebook “fan” page saying pretty much the same thing.”
The author also commented on people’s (including commenters on Screen Rant) dislike for someone as old as Downey Jr. playing Lestat. She talks much sense:
“Some are saying he is too old to play the part… This is absolutely not true. He is quite youthful. Besides, Lestat is a man when he is made into a vampire. A twenty year old man in the 18th century is the equivalent of an older man today. Age just shouldn’t be an issue here, not with an actor of this scope and charisma. – I’m thrilled at the prospect that this rumor might be true.”
Screen Rant will keep you up-to-date on whether or not Downey Jr. is cast in the role of Lestat. For now, what do you think of this news? Are you up for another adaptation of The Vampire Chronicles?