Phone Message Transcript: June 1, 1997
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]
"Hi, this is, I think it's after midnight so we are June 1, 1997. The machine may cut me off at any minute. We are looking for a replacement for it but if it cuts me off you can still leave a one minute message; it doesn't mean the tape is full it just means the machine has decided to cut me off; I can't figure this out. Let me just tell you very quickly that I saw a wonderful movie tonight, TOTAL ECLIPSE. About the poet Arthur Rimbaud and Verlaine, Paul Verlaine in Paris and it was because one of you called up and told me about this film. I was raving about Leonardo DiCaprio in ROMEO AND JULIET and how fantastic he was and one of you called and said you've got to see this film about a French poet who goes crazy, and of course, I knew immediately you had to mean Rimbaud. So I called down to my movie elves and said find a film about Rimbaud and Verlaine that has Leonardo DiCaprio. Well, I just watched it and I think it was just a fine, fine, fine film. But it has a great significance for me because when I was about 26-27 and I was at, totally locked in in every way, frustrated, incapable of fulfilling my dream, I worshiped the poet Rimbaud and I use to stare for hours at the photographs of Arthur Rimbaud and I would listen to the Beatles singing 'HEY JUDE' as loud as I could on the ear phones and look at the pictures of Rimbaud and try to become Rimbaud. There are actual photographs of him. He was a wild kid. He went to Paris. He behaved very badly. He wrote a lot of poetry and then he just vanished out of Paris and never wrote any poetry again and nobody ever knew why. He went to Africa and became a gunrunner; it was incredible but the trick about Rimbaud is to want to be Rimbaud but not to be Rimbaud, because he was really an obnoxious slob. But he represents something in all of us and me at that time, at 26, Rimbaud was like the kernel of what would later be my character the Vampire Lestat, this person capable of action and humor and confidence and I just wanted to say thank you to the person who directed me to this film.
I adore Leonardo DiCaprio. I adore this actor. I am totally in love with him, and I understand that THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK is presently being made and this has Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeremy Irons. I am ecstatic. I am going insane. I can't believe it. It is apparently the movie, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, is written by the same man who wrote BRAVEHEART so that won't be out until early next year but I caught a glimpse of a promo for that tonight and nearly fell over. So anyway, this Leonardo DiCaprio is now joining my little pantheon of gods, along with Val Kilmer and Gary Oldman, and Jeremy Irons and the people that I just absolutely, Antonio Banderas, the people that I just worship and someday if I don't get to work with these people on some of my films I'm probably going to self-destruct. I am going to go crazy.
But in the meantime let me just recommend this actor in TOTAL ECLIPSE and in anything he's done. He's really got a great future and he's going to be wonderful in this MAN IN THE IRON MASK movie, I can see it already, and Jeremy Irons is going to be absolutely fabulous. We are living in a time of absolutely marvelous actors. Just those that I named make all the difference; than you move on to the old crowd as I said before the great Italian crowd, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Danny Aiello, and Joe Pesce. I mean, we have so many fabulous actors at this time and actresses. Film has never had such flexibility and such power and such ability to deliver and it frustrates me all the more that I can't get the vampire films made and I can't get the Witching Hour films made. But I did get a very nice call from Billy Gerber, the President of Warner Brothers, and he assured me that they were trying. That they were very interested in going ahead with both families, you know, the Mayfair Family and the vampire family and that they would do their best. The rights come back to me in two years. If they don't succeed in getting principal photography started, I'll get all that property back. And in a way I don't know if I want it back I mean, I want it back because they haven't made anything but I fear going through the same thing with another studio.
Anyway, let me just say again this discovery of Leonardo DiCaprio has added another young god to those I worship. I mean, he is a fine, fine actor and the emotions in his face are just marvelous and he was perfectly cast as this Arthur Rimbaud, this little 16 year old poet terror of 1871 Paris. I mean, he was just flawlessly the Rimbaud that I had worshipped in my youth as the wild person that I could never be. and the film is beautifully done. I mean, there are a lot of reasons to watch it. The person who plays Verlaine is wonderful. Everything about it is special. It came out of Europe and it's just quite remarkable.
I am going to go back and watch THE QUICK AND THE DEAD. I don't think I gave it a good enough chance and Leonardo DiCaprio was in that film too so is my favorite, my real, one of my favorites of all time Lance Hendrickson, and of course Sharon Stone, one of the most underrated actress of our time. The beautiful, talented Sharon Stone. OK, that's my movie rap for tonight. I recommend those films. I haven't caught up with anything else recently. I told you already about EXTREME MEASURES which I thought was an extraordinary film with Hugh Grant and I recommend that again. I think it's great. I am just dreaming tonight of triumph. I'm inspired, I'm inspired by people like Leonardo DiCaprio exist and Antonio Banderas and Val Kilmer and Jeremy Irons and Gary Oldman and Tim Hulk and they have this wonderful flexibility and they can make all kinds of fabulous films.
Again, let me give you the news about FEAST OF ALL SAINTS. This is a book I wrote years ago. It's about the free people of color of New Orleans. Now, it is going to be a mini series on Showtime. I am very excited about it; it won't have any commercial breaks. I think Jerry Offsay, the President of Showtime, is one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in Hollywood, and I think he's going to do a wonderful job. They have already chosen a writer. They were also going to do a mini series with SERVANT OF THE BONES, and this is my recent novel and they have chosen a writer for that as well. So those two projects are moving along and I'm really looking forward to these mini series. I think there's no reason why the mini series can't be as high a quality as anything we do in film, and I just can't wait to see what Jerry Offsay is going to produce for us with those two properties. Meantime, we're expanding our little company Kith and Kin, and we will have more news about that later. That's an entertainment and diversion, a creative expansion.
What I really want to celebrate tonight is what I told you the other night, I finished the novel PANDORA, the life of the vampire that was Marius' consort in ancient Rome and I'm proofreading it this week and the publishers will publish it in March of '98. Now, I've gone right into ARMAND. I have plunged right into the darkness and I have discovered, as I usually do, I go back into history and I find gold. I find magic to bring my stories together. I find patterns and interlacing associations that are just magnificent and that's what's happening with ARMAND. I am going back before Armand was ever a vampire. I am going back into Russia during the Mongol invasion of the Ukraine and I am discovering what kind of environment produced Armand, this little boy running through the grass who got kidnapped and taken to Constantinople and sold into slavery, and I'm absolutely loving it. I am surrounded by pictures of Russian icons and stories of Kiev at it's most powerful, and all of this will wind its way into Armand's tale which by the way takes place in New York in the present time and it is in fact a sequel to MEMNOCH.
The new book, VIOLIN, is still scheduled for October, I think about the 21st or 22nd. We will have our signing down here on the 31st. I mentioned the Readers Edition a while ago. I shouldn't have mentioned that but what a Reader's Edition is a very handsome paperback edition that the publisher's does in limited quantity before a book comes out and it really goes to bookstores and book critics and I don't have enough available even to give to my dearest of kin but I just wanted to tell you that because they are giving the book a big push and if you know anybody that works at a bookstore well maybe they have the Readers Edition and you can go over there and finagle them out of it or something. But it's very handsome and I am very proud of VIOLIN, and PANDORA was great fun to write but it gave me everything I wanted and now with Lestat I am ready for the agony. I am ready for the agony that VIOLIN cost me and that THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF cost me and that CRY TO HEAVEN cost me, that same kind of dark, dark, dark thing and it will all be there in the fall of '98. I know Armand now like I never knew him before and I know how to see through his eyes and I know why he did everything he had to do and I want to put in down on paper.
Thank you for your loyal support. Thank you for your phone calls. Thank you for your recommendations, and Thank you for the wonderful things that you say. The truly fabulous things that you say, the truly fabulous things that you say. I listen to everything as I've told you and since the machine has not cut me off I have a chance now to say a very graceful goodnight. We haven't got the 800 number hooked up yet but we will. We are having some phone problems. We haven't gotten machines replaced yet with bigger and better machines but we will. Be sure to leave a one minute message and just tell me, this time why don't you tell me, tell me anything that you want, number one, but if you want to tell me something special, tell me which of my books moved you the most or which character moved you the most. I love hearing that kind of feedback.
When I was dealing with Pandora I really got into the voice of a very sophisticated woman. It was quite interesting because Pandora is not young like Mona Mayfair; she's thirty-five when she's made a vampire which was, at that time quite mature for a Roman woman and she had a very sophisticated, strong voice that revealed all kinds of things to me and I just like to hear how you respond to different characters. By the way, thanks for the suggestion on writing a book from Madeleine's point of view. I don't think I'll do it. Madeleine appeared very briefly in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and there are others that I long to get to, others that I long to get to that are out there just sort of calling to me. Pandora was just the first and there are more to come and the idea of Claudia's diary is still floating around.
Anyway, as you can see I am all wrapped up in the Vampire Chronicles tonight and that redoubles my frustration with Warner Brothers that nothing has happened but the things are in general going well, and it looks like we may soon be able to reissues all our graphic novel versions with a new comic book company. That's in the work and we want it to be really fine art this time; we want it to be a work of art in itself.
Our little Kith and Kin boutique in The Rink in New Orleans is not opened yet and we will have a catalog by the way and we will be on the Internet. We are on the Internet now as www.annerice.com and this message will probably appear on the Internet and we get your questions from the Internet and we answer them. I don't tune on the Internet myself because I don't want to be connected. I would get to talking and that would be the end so I deal with the Internet at a distance but I certainly do know about it and I really don't need anyone to come set it up for me. There are computers in the house which are set up with it. Well, the machine is setting a record. It has not turned me off. I can't quite understand it. This is amazing. The temptation is to aim for one more profundity which will change everything. Let me leave you with this thought: that the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan almost overran Europe. They stopped at the gates at Vienna for reasons that no one fully understands why and they controlled the Ukraine of Russia."