Hollywood

Project Vampire Chronicles: The Re-Read

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In 1994 my friend took me to see Interview with the Vampire in the theater.  I was 14 and all I knew was that I was mesmerized.  I’d never heard of Anne Rice or Lestat or the books.  For me, it was just a movie. (And it’s crazy to think that the movie is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!)

At the time, I wasn’t concerned with symbolism or imagery.  I just liked the movie.  As a history lover (later I would graduate college with a double major, with one being History), I fell in love with the idea of watching a character move through so many time periods.  I never overlooked the part about what a vampire must do to survive; I liked that Anne Rice’s characters didn’t forget that either.  I thought it was a smart way to portray their eternal predilection: some vampires relished it, some abhorred it, some tolerated it, and some managed to survive by doing the least amount of damage possible.  The same can be said of conscience: some vampires are directed by an eternal crisis of conscience, while others choose to embrace the spirit of carpe diem.

A few weeks later my family went to the mountains for Christmas, and we stopped in a little market on the way to buy snacks.  There on the book rack was a copy of Interview with the Vampire.  I bought it, and I spent the rest of the trip enveloped in the world of Anne Rice and her vampires.  We returned home five days later, I rushed to the bookstore and bought the sequels: The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, and Tale of the Body Thief.  I read those in a matter of days.  I couldn’t get enough.

Memnoch the Devil was the first book that came out while I was a fan.  That was 1995 and I was 15, and while I found the book to be entertaining, I have to admit that it didn’t resonate with me.

Years have passed and now I’m 33.  A new book in the Vampire Chronicles is being released in October and it features the Vampire Lestat.  You might recall that Anne Rice said she would never bring Lestat back after his exodus in The Blood Canticle.  Interestingly, that was released back in 2003 when Anne Rice had been embracing Christianity.  In 2010 she famously split from Christianity and returned to her supernatural roots with The Wolf Gift.  That said, it will be interesting to see if Lestat is still pursuing sainthood.

I’ve decided to embark on a journey.  I’m going to re-read The Vampire Chronicles before the new book comes out, and I’m going to post my thoughts, reflections and comments on my blog.  I’m hoping to find things that I missed before.  I’m really looking forward to this little journey.  I hope you’ll join me along the way, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you!

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

I was shocked to read that one of the greatest actors of our generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman, had passed away today from an apparent drug overdose in New York City.

I first remember seeing Hoffman in Magnolia back in 1999.  He played Phil Parma, nurse to the dying Jason Robards.  He brought compassion to the role and in many ways he upstaged Tom Cruise during the film’s pivotal moments.  When Hoffman starred in Almost Famous, he brought Lester Bangs to life.  “Iggy Pop, amen!”  I loved him in that movie.  And just recently I watched Pirate Radio again and was reminded of his great portrayal of The Count, the sole American on the pirate radio ship in the North Sea.

He brought so much emotion and life to his characters.  He was truly an actor’s actor.  It’s horrific to think that he leaves behind such young children who will grow up without their father, and without knowing why he died the way he did.

Why is it that Hollywood is full of such tragedies?  Why is it that sports stars must submit drug tests in order to play their sport, but actors don’t need to submit drug tests to perform?  Recently, NBC stipulated that Jonathan Rhys Meyers couldn’t receive his paycheck for Dracula until he completed the season, knowing of his challenges with addiction, and as soon as he finished filming he returned to rehab.  How many agents and directors and costars know that their fellow actors have a problem but do nothing about it?  They are enablers as much as the people who supply the drugs. 

Today’s news is a terrible tragedy, but it can be prevented.  Things need to change.

RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  You were an amazing actor and an incredible human being.