The queen of vampire fiction is heading back to the big screen.
In 2003, Anne Rice published Blood Canticle, which was then set to be the final novel in her acclaimed and bestselling saga The Vampire Chronicles. Rice left her blood drinkers behind, focusing instead on a series of novels about the life of Christ, followed by an angel-based series, Songs of the Seraphim, and two werewolf novels. For many years, she said she'd never go back to the vampires that made her a titan of genre fiction. Then, earlier this year, she announced Prince Lestat, a return to her vampire universe and her hero, Lestat de Lioncourt. The Vampire Chronicles are back, and now they're also heading back to the big screen.
Universal Pictures has optioned all current and future Vampire Chronicles novels from Rice for producers Imagine Entertainment and the team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal encompasses 13 novels, which would mean it also covers Rice's two New Tales of the Vampires books. The option also reportedly covers an already-written screenplay for the fourth novel in the series, The Tale of the Body Thief, which was adapted for Imagine by Rice's son and fellow novelist, Christopher Rice.
It's not clear at the moment if Body Thief will in fact be the first film to go into production after this deal, but Imagine's been developing that for a while, so it seems like a strong possibility. The first novel in the series, Interview With the Vampire, spawned a hit film in 1994, while the second and third novels -- The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned -- were adapted into a single film, Queen of the Damned, in 2002. That one didn't do so well, and that's a shame, because those two novels form much of the basis for Rice's vampire mythos, including the origin of the vampires in her world and the introduction of the most powerful of the immortals. Body Thief, though, is a relatively self-contained adventure for Lestat that could be crafted into a nice jumping-off point for more elaborate films later, so we'll see which direction Imagine, Orci and Kurtzman choose to go.
So we have emerged from the age of Twilight and are perhaps entering an age when Rice's novels could finally be made into a full-on tentpole franchise. We don't know when a new Vampire Chronicles film might actually be released yet, but in the meantime, start working on that dream cast list.