Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles' Rights Acquired by Universal

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With the Vampire

The Twilight saga might be over and done with, but vampires are still very much in style. From TV series like The Vampire Diaries and The Strain to upcoming movies like New Zealand horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows, these creatures of the night continue to demonstrate their undying (pun!) appeal with audiences.

Easily one of the most prominent vampire franchises of the past few decades is novelist Anne Rices book series The Vampire Chronicles. Two of the books in the series - "Interview With the Vampire" and "Queen of the Damned" - have already been adapted, and several years ago Universal Pictures was planning an adaptation of "The Vampire Lestat", with Robert Downey Jr. rumored to be in talks for the titular role. Now it looks like Universal is getting these plans (some of them, at least) back on track.

The Wrap is reporting that Universal has acquired the rights to Rice's Vampire Chronicles for Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment - with Roberto Orci and Robert Kurtzman also set to produce. There are no details yet as to which novel Kurtzman and Orci intend to adapt first, but since Universal's deal includes the adaptation rights to all eleven of the Vampire Chronicles books (as well as the screenplay for "Tale of the Body Thief" penned by Christopher Rice), it sounds like the studio is interested in trying to build a franchise.

Queen of the Damned

Regular collaborators Kurtzman and Orci have been extremely busy as of late, with Orci recently tapped to make his feature directorial debut with Star Trek 3 after co-writing the screenplay for the previous two big screen Star Trek movies with Kurtzman. The pair are also working on a big screen adaptation of Joe Hill's graphic novel series Locke & Key, and Kurtzman is set to direct Venom for Sony - after he directs Universal's The Mummy reboot for release in 2016, that is.

Universal's revitalized interest in The Vampire Chronicles raises the question of which actor would be best to play Lestat. When Downey Jr. was rumored for the role some fans of the books complained that he was too old to play Lestat de Lioncourt, though Rice herself said that it wouldn't matter since "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." All the same, Downey Jr. is now 49 years old and fully embedded in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it might be better for the producers to find a slightly younger (and more affordable) star.

It probably won't be long before Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch find fans rooting for them to take the role, since their pale skin and pronounced cheekbones make them ideal candidates for vampire roles. Hiddleston succumbed to this inevitability recently by starring in Jim Jarmusch's vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive, so perhaps it will be Cumberbatch's turn next.

We'll keep you updated on The Vampire Chronicles as development continues.

Source: The Wrap

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