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AMC launches its Anne Rice universe this fall with their series adaptations of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire on Oct. 20, and following "closely after" (per AMC), Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches. The later stars Alexandra Daddario (White Lotus) as Dr. Rowan Fielding, who discovers that she comes from a long line of witches and she may be the pinnacle power of their line.
At today's AMC Television Critics Association summer virtual press tour panel for the series, AMC's Anne Rice universe executive producer Mark Johnson told reporters (including SYFY WIRE) that the two series will only be tangentially connected in their first seasons. "Some are fun, some are deliberate, and some are almost Easter eggs," Johnson explained of any shared references. "But Mayfair Witches is very much its own project and its own series. Obviously, it's connected to Anne Rice's thematic and stylistic concentration, so it's very much a part of what she does. But I would say that there's very little deliberately from Interview in Mayfair Witches."
Showrunner Esta Spalding said the eight episode first season is "deeply, deeply inspired" by the first book in Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy, The Witching Hour (1990). "The first season starts where the book starts, in that mood of New Orleans and the sort of ghost story of this house," Spalding detailed. "We meet really quickly, Rowan Fielding, who's the main character of the first book and through the series."
Spalding said the first season also ends in the same place the book ends, but a large portion of the middle of the tome that centers on the long history of the covens has been held back for future storytelling. "The middle section is about 300 or 400 pages of 13 generations of witches going all the way back to Scotland. We used a piece of that, and then we feel like we're gonna save some of that great story and saga of all the different generations for later seasons, should we be so lucky."
Fellow series executive producer/writer Michelle Ashford said the writers jumped into their own research about the origins of witchcraft and its start in healing. "The series is very steeped in research of what witches were back then and what happened to them as healers when they encountered a patriarchy," Ashford explained. "It's really, really relevant for now, in terms of telling a very female centric story about what it's like for a professional woman who is a healer, who then finds out that she's attached to all these incredibly dark and positive supernatural powers."
Spalding added that the series will introduce many witch characters over the first season who will help underline Rowan's journey of discovery and self. "The questions are what happens when women begin to have power, begin to feel powerful in the workplace and socially, what do they do with that power?" she said of the show's thematic core. "And to make Rowan this doctor who has a gift of healing, and then also discovers a gift to destroy biologically, she's really the fulcrum of this question of how do you use power? Do you heal with it? Do you destroy with it?"
Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches debuts this winter on AMC.
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