Rutger Hauer, the beloved actor who oscillated between high-minded art films and blood-curdling genre fare, died yesterday at the age of 75. While many fans reflected on his memorable turns in Blade Runner, The Hitcher, and the Oscar-nominated Turkish Delight, others envisioned the turns that never came to be. A resurfaced Facebook post from Interview With The Vampire author Anne Rice, for example, revealed that a young Hauer is “the spitting image” of Lestat, the most iconic of her The Vampire Chronicles creatures. That said, she didn’t “base Lestat’s description on Hauer,” which is a common misconception among fans.
“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,” she wrote. “But this is surely how I see my beloved Brat Prince hero.”
Tom Cruise famously played the bloodsucker in the 1994 adaptation, defying critics, including Rice, who thought he was too, pardon the pun, bloodless to capture the character’s menace. Rice called the casting “bizarre” in an interview with Movieline, but recanted after she saw the performance. As producer David Geffen told the L.A. Times, “She even phoned (Cruise) up and told him she was wrong. It’s a great thing when someone who had been critical of a movie saw it, loved it and admitted she was wrong...a very classy thing to do.”
Rice was less enthused about 2002's Queen Of The Damned, which found Irish actor Stuart Townsend take on the role. Though she criticized the film, she did praise the actor, calling him “absolutely charming” and saying he had “Lestat’s excellent speaking voice and his feline grace.”
Still, one imagines she spent those days wishing for a Fountain Of Youth she could dunk Hauer in. We, too, wish we could’ve seen how the imposing, poetic Hauer would’ve interpreted the role. Though more severe and less lithe than Cruise and Townsend, Hauer exuded grace in both language and movement, which served to give his heavies an unexpected depth.
Lestat will live again, it appears, as Hulu is reportedly in development on a TV adaptation of The Vampire Chronicles. We’re hoping Rice has a say in the casting.