Monday, September 25, 2006
All of this recent hoo-fer-oo about Brad Pitt taking over the Mission: Impossible franchise got me thinking about the last time the Pitt and the Cruise collided: Interview With a Vampire.
Here was a movie that had everything going for it. Two stars in full bloom (and a third, Kirsten Dunst, just waiting to be done with puberty). A devoted fanbase that was both incited to bloodlust by the author (Anne Rice famously decried Tom Cruise's casting) and then mollified by same (she later recanted after seeing the film). And a major studio bankrolling it to the tune of $50 million, with Neil Jordan at the helm.
It worked. When Interview came out in 1994, it was both a critical and financial hit. It made more than $100 million stateside (and this was back when $100 million meant something), and grossed another $120 million overseas.
Now, this is a book that's a first in a series. What's more, the second book, The Vampire Lestat, is even better than the first. So, where was the sequel? Didn't they want to make some more money? When a movie does that well, and the major characters aren't dead, and you've actually subtitled the film with the phrase "The Vampire Chronicles," you all but have to do another, right?
Hell, even Amy Pascal, who greenlit the horrific Godzilla remake knows the name of this tune: "If a movie makes $400 million, you make a sequel," Pascal said to EW a while back, in reference to a rumored Godzilla 2. "It's that simple."
So, why no Lestat? Did neither Cruise not Pitt want to take part? Fine. Recast, especially today, in this world chock full of pretty white boys. I'm sure Rice had to part with the rights to the series as part of her initial deal—why leave that property lying fallow, out back with the unused gardening equipment and rusty lawn furniture?
Money, left on the table. I'm just saying...
at 4:53 PM