Interview with the Vampire
Warner Bros/Everett Collection
Anne Rice adapted her 1976 book into a screenplay, sold the rights, and began her battle with Hollywood. She was furious to learn that Tom Cruise had won the role of Lestat for the 1994 film. Rice began openly bad-mouthing the movie before she’d even seen it. She refused to look at clips, even when one of the producers sent her a copy of the film on tape. When she finally got around to watching it, she exploded with joy, writing an 8,000-word open letter to her fans that described the film as “perfect,” “impeccable,” and “extraordinary.” She predicted that Cruise’s Lestat would “be remembered the way Olivier’s Hamlet is remembered.” Rice adored the adaptation so much that she personally paid to place a two-page ad singing the film’s praises in several magazines.
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20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection
The movie based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel cleaves pretty closely to the source for most of its run time but goes off the rails toward the end. In the book, the protagonist’s demolition plan fails, and the narrator shoots himself, ending up in an asylum. But in the movie? We close on the sight of the now mentally sound Tyler Durden and his love interest, Marla, holding hands. It’s the kind of cliché, upbeat Hollywood tweak you’d expect a twisted novelist like Palahniuk to despise, but he loved it! He lauded the way the movie streamlined the book’s scattered plot into something coherent and that the film had captured the book’s true message: “The story is about a man reaching the point where he can commit to a woman.” Apparently, he was trying to write a sweet romantic comedy the whole time.