From the Clown Prince to the Brat Prince…
Let me start out by saying, no offense intended to Tom Cruise. I enjoyed the movie Interview With A Vampire; it’s among my favorite vampire flicks, and Tom Cruise portrayed the character brilliantly. But in regards to my fondness for this particular character, it’s the version from the novels that I’m drawn to as opposed to the theatrical representation. And honestly, for the sake of this illustration, my main issue with Tom Cruise stems from his success; he simply has too recognizable of a face. Yes, he played the character quite well, but if I used his version of the character for my illustration, I wouldn’t be drawing the character, I’d be drawing Tom Cruise. That’s a rough problem to have, Mr. Cruise; you’re more than an actor, you’re an icon. OK, enough about that. On to number two on my list…
2. Lestat de Lioncourt
The Vampire Lestat. As with Riddick, who started this list at number five, Lestat isn’t necessarily a villain, though if you now of him only from Anne Rice‘s premier vampire novel, Interview With a Vampire, you might have been led to believe otherwise. He was somewhat detestable in that novel (as was he in the movie), truly living up to his title of the “Brat Prince.” And if you only know him from that novel, you’re missing out. The Vampire Lestat was the second book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and she approached it as though he wrote the book himself. In it, he was able to give his side to the story, and we got to know Lestat in a whole new light (or lack thereof, as it were). Still among my favorite vampire novels of all time.
According to Anne Rice, her visual of her favorite creation was a young Rutger Hauer. In her own words, as posted on her Facebook page celebrating Rutger Hauer’s 71st birthday,
“…for me, Hauer was the spitting image of ‘The Vampire Lestat.’ You want to know what Lestat looks like to me? Look at this photograph. I didn’t base Lestat’s description on Hauer. I didn’t encounter him till after I’d written ‘Interview with the Vampire’ in which Lestat sprang to life pretty much on his own. But this is surely how I see my beloved Brat Prince hero.” By the time Interview With a Vampire made it to the big screen, Rutger Hauer was too old to play the bratty protagonist. Which is unfortunate, because his skill as not only an actor but with improvisation would have made him so perfect for the role. But, as the French-born Lestat would say, c’est la vie.
And since that is how Anne Rice visualizes her own character, I decided I’d better base my illustration on Hauer, as well. Placing him in a Victorian-style painting just seemed like a no-brainer. Can’t you picture this hanging in Louis de Pointe du Lac’s plantation home?
Once again, I had a great deal of fun putting this one together. Despite both Tom Cruise and Stuart Townsend putting a face to the name (Townsend portrayed Lestat in the 2002 film version of Queen of the Damned), for the most, part it’s left to the reader to create their own mental image. And while Rice did provide a template by naming Hauer as a model, it was still on me to bring him to life. I actually had the most trouble with his complexion; I almost made his flesh white, but that seemed too unnatural, and not in a good way. Ultimately I feel like the subtle ruddy tint I added was just enough to make him look only somewhat unnatural, or rather the right amount of preternatural, without looking like a statue.
One quick note before I go. In the course of putting together this digital illustration, I’ve learned that Anne Rice has been experiencing some medical issues, which she discusses briefly on her Facebook page. As a long-time fan, I just wanted to take a moment to wish her all the best for a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Anne!
And that was number two on my list. Number one was actually the first of the illustrations that I did in this series, but being my favorite baddie, I wanted to save him for last. So stay tuned, I’ll be posting him real soon. And now that I’m done with Lestat, I’ve been inspired to do another list. In the near future, I’ll be putting together a list of my top 10 favorite vampires, complete with illustrations like these. And you can be certain Lestat will still be on that list–with a new interpretation, of course. Until then…
Ha! I bet you thought I wasn’t going to mention my own upcoming vampire project. Well, I did. Just now. But there’ll be more fanfare when the time draws near. See what I did there? “Draws” near. A pun. Laters.