As fans of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire know, when Louis and Claudia first attempt to murder Lestat in the books, it’s a much less gory affair than the AMC series—which just released its season one finale—might lead you to believe.
Instead of show’s camping Mardi Gras ball followed by a massacre at the Rue Royale, the original story has Claudia working alone to poison and exsanguinate her maker. Then, as she and Louis make their escape to Europe, Lestat shows up and attempts to stop them. Louis then pushes him into a building and sets it on fire, abandoning Lestat to the flames. In a post-finale interview, the cast and crew talked about why the story change was made.
The series has Louis as an active player in the final act of destroying Lestat, pulling him off the sidelines and forcing a blade into his hand. Claudia poisons him, yes, but it’s Louis who slits Lestat’s throat. For Jacob Anderson, who plays Louis, the scene was more emotional than he expected. “I was a mess,” he said Variety. “I cried my eyes out… I kind of lost myself in those scenes. I got very freaked out by the idea of it all ending, and also doing this to Sam [Reid, who plays Lestat]—because it means this dynamic is going to change next year. It’s going to be different. It kind of had to be done at my hand, and that was heartbreaking.”
Although Anderson may have broken down during filming, Louis isn’t forced to go through with the final act of setting Lestat on fire. Anderson said that, “to kill.” [Lestat] would be to kill a part of himself, and a significant part of who [Louis] has become.” Instead, Lestat is put in a coffin and put out with the trash. He’s taken to a dump, and one of the last scenes we have in the series is the coffin opening and Lestat reaching out to grab a scurrying rat.
“It would be sort of a boring cliffhanger to leave the show on, because you know Lestat is coming back,” Reid said. He’s not wrong—anyone who’s read the books knows that Lestat lasts long after the events of Interview. Still, the attempted murder means something to Lestat, even if death doesn’t stick.
“I think he accepts that Louis is going to kill him, and understands, very much in that last moment, that he needs to do this,” said Reid. Interview showrunner Rolin Jones agreed, saying that in this show, which fully and whole-heartedly embraces the twisted romance at its center, love had to be the thing to bring Lestat down.
“For Lestat, his love language is murder,” Jones said. “So who else should it be than [Louis]?”
All episodes of Interview With the Vampire are available to stream on AMC+.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Warsand Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TVand everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.