With the recent announcement from Universal that it has acquired the rights for author Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, a few of us Lestat fans at PopMythology thought it’d be an opportune time to have some fun and put forth our preferred candidates to play the Brat Prince.
At first we wanted to come up with a single list for which we could all come to a consensus but with our varied opinions it quickly became apparent that just wasn’t happening, so instead we’ve divided this post up into separate sections for the three of us with our respective three choices.
We realize that the legions of Anne Rice fans out there will have different preferences. Anne herself has mentioned Chris Hemsworth, Stephen Amell and Anson Mount as her own choices. So we’re not claiming our candidates are the “best.” They’re simply our personal picks. We welcome all opinions and would love to hear other people’s thoughts in the Comments section below.
Finally, we’re not dismissing the importance of the other characters in the Chronicles, but every list needs its focus so today’s focus is on Lestat. (Oh, and it’s actually 8 actors since one of the candidates on this list was picked by two among us. But it’s 9 picks overall and 9 just seemed like a better number!)
Contributor: Aleera Evans
Having to choose the actor to portray Lestat in the upcoming Vampire Chronicles out of all the talented actors out there is by no means a small undertaking. Having said that, here are the following actors that first come to mind when I imagine Lestat in the real world, having read the books many times while growing up.
3. Tom Hardy
Some may think this is an odd choice but he has more than proven himself as a serious and even brooding actor. He has the acting chops to play the emotionally tormented Lestat, as well as the size, chiseled look and jawline Lestat is described to have. All he needs to do is drop some of his muscle bulk for the roll and he would easily fit the age look requirement as well.
2. Lee Pace
Pace has already proven his acting ability in films like The Hobbit and Guardians of the Galaxy. He looks wise and has shown that he can pull off androgyny in his performance as Thranduil the Elven King. Also, his rich and resonant voice would bring a unique and melodic quality to the character, great for the charm aspect of Lestat.
1. Ian Somerhalder
True, he has already played a vampire in The Vampire Diaries so that is a disadvantage, but his angular features combined with sensitive eyes are a definite Lestat look. He’s been in enough to show he can more than act the part, not to mention he has the physique to match. And his natural genetic predisposition of lighter hair would allow for an easy blonde transition.
Contributor: Mel Massey
I chose my three based on very specific and quite personal criteria. First and foremost, I based it on physical traits necessary for viewers to feel Lestat had truly come to life on the big screen. The fair complexion and light eyes of these choices helped me sort through the plethora of perfectly nice-looking, albeit non-Lestat-looking, actors. Another necessity (for me anyway) was his mouth. I know, it sounds ridiculous. However, many times we readers were enthralled by Rice’s descriptions of Lestat’s sensual mouth – even when he as at his most fierce. And finally, the actors must have an exceptional emotional acting range: frivolous, vain, flamboyant, brooding, and above all else, predatory.
3. Chord Overstreet
He’s young and pretty. Look at that mouth! Overstreet is charismatic and talented, not just as an actor but also a musician. This youngin’ could be made up as our Brat Prince and possibly pull it off after honing his acting chops on Glee. His role in Glee pans the emotional spectrum and, I think, with guidance, Overstreet might be able to live up to playing the role.
2. Michael Fassbender
Anyone who has watched a movie graced by the handsome face of Michael Fassbender can feel me here. Yes, I realize his age might be questionable, however his abilities as an actor far outweigh a few years and a couple of (adorable) wrinkles. As he’s already shown with other roles, he is be able to be the confident, intense, and sensual antihero. (Who didn’t feel for him in X-Men: First Class, Promethus and Inglorious Basterds?)
1. Tom Hardy
This is my number one pick. Hands down, I’d totally get behind the notion of casting this versatile, handsome man as Lestat. Look at him. Go on and take a look into those baby blues, sensual mouth, and tell me he doesn’t scream dark, brooding, sexy pants? Hardy has the acting chops to pull it off too. He’s managed to thrill moviegoers in the cerebral flick, Inception. He played the tortured soul, Bane, in The Dark Knight Rises. Both his stage acting and versatile film resume assures me that Hardy could be Lestat in a way that would do our Lady Anne proud.
Contributor: The Pop Mythologist
I wanted to have a common motif to bind my choices, so I decided to stick with actors who looked young enough to convincingly play a man in his early 20s (or trapped in his early 20s, as it were). I figured that all the other stuff like height, hair, etc., can be taken care of with things like makeup, lighting and good editing. If possible, since Lestat is a rock musician, I also wanted to stick with actors who could sing—not that it’s a requirement (nor should it be) but this just helped me narrow down the field. Lastly, I didn’t want to choose any overly big names since that might bring unnecessary baggage to a role in which the iconic status of the character alone should be the focal point.
3. Reeve Carney
I haven’t seen a whole lot of this young actor but my choice here is based on his role as Dorian Gray in the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. For those not familiar with Oscar Wilde’s character Dorian Gray, he is an immortal and very much like Lestat himself—weary and jaded in some ways while retaining a passion for the finer things in life in others. While I can’t be certain yet that Carney is as good an actor as Lestat will require, as Dorian he is beautiful, androgynous, seductive and gentle while resonating an aura of cultural refinement. To see what I mean, watch Season 1 Episode 4 of Penny Dreadful.
2. Jamie Campbell Bower
Like Ian Somerhalder and Alexander Skarsgard, Bower is somewhat disadvantaged in that he’s already played a vampire before in a popular franchise. He played Caius, one of the Volturi, in the Twilight movie series. But Caius is a minor, supporting character and Bower isn’t associated with him to the same degree that, say, Robert Pattinson is associated with Edward Cullen, so I think he can get away with playing another vampire. Also, like Reeve Carney, he is a musician and has a very nice singing voice. Not that an inability to sing has or ever should stop an actor from playing a rock musician, but it doesn’t hurt.
1. Gaspard Ulliel
I liked Tom Cruise as Lestat but one of the things about Stuart Townsend’s performance that I appreciated was his convincing French accent (since Lestat is French and in the novels he does have a French accent). Of course, any high caliber thespian could learn and fake a French accent, but with Ulliel it wouldn’t have to be faked. But the best case for Ulliel as Lestat lies in his role as another one of pop culture’s favorite anti-heroes, Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal Rising. Underlying his sleek, mischievous and intense performance was a smoldering sensuality that just screamed Lestat.
• Aleera Evans is a gamer, costume fabricator and designer and creator of the new Vanity Sown apparel label to be released next month. She also designs and models for Daisy Corsets. She is passionate about animal rescue activism and spends much of her spare time with it.
• Mel Massey is the author of the Earth’s Magick series (Solstice Publishing) for which she recently released the second book, Decker. She’s a political junky and a professional smartass. Mel can be found tweeting nonsense or having hilarious discussions with readers on Facebook. Occasionally, she leaves those particular vices and writes about magick, witches, monsters and all the lovely dark things lurking in the shadows. Visit melmassey.com for more details.
• The Pop Mythologist is a pop mythologist. He writes stuff.