"I assume I need no introduction" utters Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) in the closing moments of 1994's "Interview with the Vampire." This statement goes double for both the ruthless vampire and the movie star playing him.

However, Lestat is not the titular interview subject. That would be Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt), Lestat's sired Creole companion. Lestat is a cunning, sadistic predator who grows frustrated as he fails to corrupt Louis. He's far removed from the heroes Cruise usually played before and since. The only Cruise role that compares is Vincent in "Collateral," but even then, Lestat is far more sardonic and ostentatious than that ice-cold hitman.

Even Anne Rice, the author of the source material, initially felt director Neil Jordan made the wrong choice picking Cruise to be Lestat. So why did he? /Film's Jack Giroux spoke with Jordan, who shed some light on why he chose Cruise to bring Lestat to the silver screen.

Why Tom Cruise?

When talking about Cruise and Lestat, Jordan noted "an icy control and beauty." That's vampires in a nutshell, all the way back to Count Dracula himself. They're alluring, but no matter how perfectly human they look, they see us the same way we mortals see cattle. Cruise as Lestat embodies that — he charms Louis, but when he can't keep him or their daughter Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) under his thumb, he lets loose the monster inside.

Celebrity can be a hurdle for actors. If audiences can't move past their faces, it can be harder for them to sink into the role. However, Jordan felt that Cruise's fame would inform Lestat's character:

"I also saw, I suppose, that Tom's life — because he was the biggest star in the world at the time — he has to retreat to the shadows because he can't expose himself too much. […] I saw kind of a parallel between the life of a vampire and the life of a very, very big star, let's put it that way."

Jordan felt especially satisfied with Cruise's casting since he and his star won out over their naysayers: "Everybody said [Cruise] was miscast, he proved them wrong, didn't he?" Yes, he did, for Cruise lights up the screen and stands out all the more opposite the more reserved Pitt.

Cruise's Lestat even got Rice to issue a mea culpa; the author said he, "did a wonderful job" and "got the essence of Lestat, he got Lestat's power and his charisma and his charm." Sometimes, an author can be so close to their creations that they wind up blind to the genius of new interpretations. Thankfully, Jordan was there to offer a different vision.

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