Interview With The Vampire's Director Defends Controversial Tom Cruise Casting 30 Years Later

Interview With The Vampire's Director Defends Controversial Tom Cruise Casting 30 Years Later
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Tom Cruise starred in a wide range of roles during his illustrious career.

Yes, he's best known for playing action heroes, with Ethan Hunt of the Mission: Impossible being probably his most iconic role.

But he had plenty of roles going against the type in different directions, from comedic to dramatic. Or even to outright villainous.

Case in point, he played Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire. For those who's not familiar with the movie, its title refers to the protagonist, Louis (Bradd Pitt), morally struggling with his predatory existence.

Lestat is the vampire who turned Louis into one of their kind, and behind his glamourous appearance, he's a sadistic monster, who revels in hunting humans, and seeks to corrupt Louis so that he can have a companion to share an eternity of depraved unlife with.

While Cruise was great at that role, before the movie's release there were objections to casting him, because back then he was typecast even more strongly.

For example, Anne Rice, the author of the source novel, felt that he's a wrong choice for the role. As did many others. But the film's director, Neil Jordan, picked him anyway.

Much later, Jordan explained the reasoning behind that choice in his interview with As he said:

"Well, it's an icy kind of beauty, an icy control and beauty. I also saw, I suppose, that Tom's life — because he was the biggest star in the world at the time — he has to retreat to the shadows because he can't expose himself too much.

Do you understand what I mean? I saw kind of a parallel between the life of a vampire and the life of a very, very big star, let's put it that way."

And as it happened, Cruise indeed was a great choice for the role, delivering a frighteningly charismatic performance as Lestat, both when Lestat appeared charming (as he did when things were going his way) and when he let his monstrous nature loose (as he did whenever they weren't).

Jordan concluded: "…everybody said he was miscast, but he proved them wrong, didn't he? He did."