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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

This was a Forbidden Movie growing up. Too violent, too sexy. Of course, not having seen it didn't stop my friends and I doing our best Antonio Banderas from the trailer impression with birthday candles.

Since seeing it, I've been fascinated by it. It's not good but I love it and I watch it regularly. Though, I realized on this viewing, when I say "watch it regularly" I mean it plays in the background while I barely pay attention except for some key moments ("WHICH ONE OF YOU DID IT?" "Ask the alligator." "CLAUDIIIIIAAAAAAAAA"). Again, a joy of this process has been depriving myself of these movies I "watch" regularly until I sit down and really watch them. The conversations between Louis and Armand are engrossing. And I find more than ever that this movie is uncomfortably relatable.


From Claudia's despair at always being adorable (with bouncing curls of absolute RAGE) and never beautiful, to Lestat and Armand's desperation for companionship no matter how toxic, to Louis' belief that all he has is his suffering. I love to make fun of how "emo" Louis is but I have to be honest, I have -too often in this life- been that misery chick. After really hearing Armand's plea with Louis, I get the appeal for Louis. It's the first time he's really been seen or heard and that is a powerful thing. Of course he entertains it.


I'm no Tom Cruise fan but he's a terrific choice for Lestat. The intense, predatory nature of his being makes him an excellent, unsettling predator. Brad Pitt is milquetoast which is fine for Louis. Kirsten Dunst is divine.


I never realized before that Sandy Powell did the costumes and I have wild appreciation for the work she does in this film. The color stories, particularly for Claudia, are incredible and heartbreaking. Louis' main color is green (until he entertains leaving Claudia), Lestat's is blue (a color Louis comments he misses as a vampire). Claudia is white before she dies, teal when she lives with Lestat & Louis, then in Europe she shifts to blue & red, then purple, then blue in her final look and her replacement for Louis, Madeleine, is in green. Heartbreaking.


I could honestly stand for the whole thing to be bigger, more over the top, but I love it the way it is. For as much shouting as there is (seriously, Tom, why), it's an understated, poorly written examination of the absurdity of being human. We're all vampires, and none of us are very good at it.


"Claudia, what have we told you?" Acrylic on canvas. 11x14"



Takeaways:

-Whew! I wasn't sure I'd finish this one. When I do acrylics, I start with the people (which take forever and are vexing) and then work the background but the shading on Claudia's face was particularly vexing and then the background was very detailed and included people so it took some time.

-I've come so far with my acrylics but doing a piece like this reminds me of how much I have to learn. Straight lines! How do they work? I bought fancy(er) brushes and was committed to trying them all out but I fell hard into my old habits and only used three brushes for this whole painting. Gotta experiment more.

-I tried doing a glazing technique to uniformly dampen the background to make Claudia really standout in the lamplight and overall I'm thrilled. It's not as evenly applied as I'd hoped but I chalk that up to me rushing to do coats and smudging the previous layer.

-I originally set out to imitate Renoir's many women at the piano because I love the Impressionists and I could get away with a less detailed background. I went ham on Claudia's face though so that went out the window right away. Then I picked the wrong amount of detail for the background. It should have more or less. This middle ground looks a little lazy/unfocused.

-I once again painted my feelings about the subjects. I do not like Tom Cruise and I don't understand the attraction with Brad Pitt and It Shows.


Tonight, we're watching The Shining so there'll be something about that in the next week! I hope the coming week brings you the right balance of work and play.

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