Although the title of the movie implies that it is based on the third novel of the series – “The Queen of the damned”by Anne Rice, published in 1988, the script also in globes parts from its predecessor – “The vampire Lestat” – published in 1985.
In the very year that the novel was published Warner Bros. acquired the screening rights when they took over Lorimar Productions.
After 1994, when confronted with the huge success „Interview with a vampire” had, Neil Jordan tried to start a project for the sequels, but he failed to mobilize all the actors he wanted and decided to abandon it.
Pressed by the fact that they were going to lose the rights in 2000 to Anne Rice, in 1998 Warner started to work on the script for a new vampire movie. Because ”The vampire Lestat” was labeled as too “episodic” to be screened so it was decided that the movie was to be based on the third masterpiece of the vampire chronicles.
This was a disappointment both to the author and to the fans that had to wait almost 10 years for another movie based on Anne Rices novels. As a result the author didn`t take as much of a part in this project and the script bares the print of Scott Abbott and Michael Petroni.
None of the actors from ”Interview with a vampire” rejoined the cast, although Tom Cruise considered it. The Australian Michael Rymer took on the directing chair.
The first to confirm her appearance was singer Aaliyah who played queen Akasha.
The casting for the role of Lestat took longer, among those proposed including Wes Bentley, Josh Hartnett and Heath Ledger. In 2000 Stuart Townsend accepted the part and got the blessing of Anne Rice.
[a fun fact: Stuart Townsend is the name of a character from Rices other series “The Mayfait Witches”]
When the movie was launched in 2002 the critics weren`t too impressed… and neither were the fans of Rice`s vampires! It received only 3 nominations and didn`t manage to win any awards.
Most complained that the script had holes and failed to fusion the two novels; although the awakening of Lestat and his choosing to make a career in Rock music were used – and his life was presented as short episodes read by Jesse in his journal, many considered it a mistake to focus on Lestat in a movie that bares the name of Akasha.
Even more so, the tale of the queen and of the two witch-twins was omitted. Only Maharet was portrayed in the movie despite the fact that in the novel Akasha is killed by Mekare!
1. When Marius notices that Akasha awoke and killed her king, he is attacked by her but speared because she is attached to him for all the centuries he looked after her. In the movie, this battle isn`t shown, nor is the fact that he was imprisoned in ice to keep him from letting the Ancient know she had wondered off. [Marius is saved by Pandora and Santino]
2. Lestat is confused as to Akasha`s vision of “the new world” when he sees how his queen manipulates the women to rebel against their men, but in the movie he is convinced to help kill Akasha when he drinks Jesse`s blood and sees the arguments of the Ancient.
3. Jesse is turned by Lestat – but in the book she is already a vampire at the time of the confrontation [she was the first vampire sired by Maharet].
4. In the novel, Akasha is beheaded and her heart and brain are consumed by Mekare [that is where the twins knew the soul and consciousness reside] thus becoming Amel`s new partner and the new queen of the damned. In the movie, Maharet drinks the last drop of blood from Akasha`s body and turns into a statue [Marius states that she is “sleeping” – that she is in the same state that Akasha and Enkil were when he watched over them].
Actors in the final version:
* Aaliyah – Queen Akasha
* Stuart Townsend – Lestat
* Marguerite Moreau – Jesse
* Vincent Perez – Marius
* Paul McGann – David Talbot
* Lena Olin – Maharet
* Christian Manon – Mael
* Claudia Black – Pandora
* Bruce Spence – Khayman
* Matthew Newton – Armand
At the moment of its release, on 22 Feb. 2002 [in the US] almost 6 months had passed since the death of the young Aaliyah [she was returning from a video shoot]. Her brother Rashad Haughton was asked to help with dubbing her voice in certain scenes.
The concert scenes are set in Death Valley, California, but were actually filmed in Werribee, Australia and over 3000 “Goths” were recruited via internet for the shooting.
The singing voice of Lestat was supplied by Jonathan Davis of Korn. However due to contractual difficulties, Davis could not sing on the soundtrack album release although he was allowed to play a couple of instruments for the pieces. The five songs written by he and Richard Gibbs for the movie were then performed on the album by Marilyn Manson, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, David Draiman of Disturbed,Wayne Static of Static-X and Jay Gordon of Orgy. He also had a cameo as a ticket scalper trying to peddle tickets outside the concert.
The architecture of Aunt Maharet’s house is based upon Angkor Wat, the stone temple located in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Note: As the movie rights have recently been returned to the author, Anne Rice has announced that she will be producing a TV series based on her series of novels.
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