Anne Rice is working on a pilot for a Game of Thrones-style TV adaption of her beloved fantasy book series, The Vampire Chronicles. And she wants fans to help her shape it.
The author, who brought protagonists to the villain-heavy vampire genre during the late 1970s, announced plans over the weekend for a proposed TV series that’s faithful to the fantasy novels, just as HBO’s Game of the Thrones is to its books. To ensure that the project lives up to even the most rabid fans’ expectations, Rice said she will be posting questions on her Facebook page to field input from readers on how the story should be adapted.
“Over the years you all have told me how much you want to see a Game of Thrones-style faithful rendering of this material, and how much you want for the series to remain in my control,” said Rice. “Well, I have heard you. I have always heard you. What you want is what I want.”
It’s rare for creators like Rice to turn to their fan bases for suggestions on how to adapt their works. But her effort recognizes that there’s a very sophisticated audience out there for this kind of TV programming right now. Rice is undoubtedly hoping to tap into it with the series. Smart book adaptations like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, the Harry Potter series, and The Hunger Games have become massive successes by converting readers into super-fans and expanding the audiences for their respective creative properties.
Rice’s 12-book series, chronicling the life of the vampire Lestat and his tribe, already has a large multi-generational audience. The first book in the series, Interview with a Vampire, was published in 1976. The latest installment, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, which reviews say digs far deeper into the origins of vampires than her previous 11 books, is being released tomorrow (Nov. 29).
Movie studios including Warner Bros. and Universal Studios have been attempting to turn the series of vampire novels into a film franchise for more than 20 years. In 1994, Warner Bros. adapted Interview with a Vampire into a hit film that never developed into a franchise. It tried again in 2002 with a second film based on the third book in the series, Queen of the Damned, only to see it flop.
Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment optioned the book series in 2014 with plans to develop a film franchise that also never panned out. “Though we had the pleasure of working with many fine people in connection with this plan, it did not work out,” said Rice.
Having recently regained the theatrical rights to the series, Rice is roping in her son, Christopher Rice, as her co-executive producer to take a stab at the pilot script and show outline. Once completed, the pair will meet with producers and shop the project around.
Rice has hope that the “new Golden Age of television” has made it “abundantly clear that television is where the vampires belong.”