Phone Message Transcript: June 8, 1997
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Hi, this is Sunday afternoon June 8th and this message will be brief. If I get cut off by the machine you can still leave me a message after the beep. We haven't gotten the 800 number yet but we are working on it. We haven't got the large capacity machine but we are working on it.

I am working on PANDORA and I want to tell you, I have fallen in love with the power and the depth and the integrity of Leonardo DiCaprio. I mean, what, what talent, and what a pure talent. I mean, he and Johnny Depp, they just walk their own paths, man. They don't appear in anything that's not great. I thank all of you who told me about GILBERT GRAPE; it's an incredible movie. I watched it twice. I watched THE BASKETBALL DIARIES twice. I've seen DEAD MAN twice with Johnny Depp. I, these are fabulous talents, these are really shining, shining talents. My dream right now, my daydream, is that the vampire Lestat will be played by DiCaprio in a the whole series of movies directed by Mel Gibson, but so much for my dreams.

I can't answer your question on THE TITANIC. That movie is about to be finished in six weeks and then right after that James Cameron, my hero, the director of THE TITANIC, will roll right into THE MUMMY, and Cameron is a genius and he is a very considerate genius. He is very, apparently, interested in how I feel about what he does, which is so remarkable but I am a little swept off my feet. I was astonished to discover after all this raving about Leonardo DiCaprio, who I discovered in ROMEO AND JULIET, that he was in fact the star of THE TITANIC, and he's with Kate Winslet, I'm not saying her name right, Winslet, Winslip, but anyway, she has been in two dazzling movies, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, and HEAVENLY CREATURES, a very bizarre movie, and I think this is fabulous news. This TITANIC is going to be some movie. But anyway, I am not saying this because James Cameron is going to direct THE MUMMY. I have nothing that would lead me to tout a movie for that reason but I am just overjoyed. I am overjoyed that somebody I see shining so brightly like DiCaprio has passed near to someone else whom I so much admire like James Cameron and I dream of a fusion.

Regarding THE VAMPIRE LESTAT and THE WITCHING HOUR, it's been a really grim bad week with bad news from Warner brothers. The project is really in the midst of conflict. I don't have any more to say about it. I don't want to get into another battle with the press. I do think Bill Gerber, the president of Warner Brothers, really wants to make THE VAMPIRE LESTAT but they have two years left on their contract. I don't see how they can do it. It will inevitably probably revert, probably inevitably, ha ha, revert back.

What else can I tell you? I appreciate all your suggestions on movies. Many of them I have seen but keep them coming. I wouldn't of discovered GILBERT GRAPE without you and that was a masterpiece. Just a masterpiece. You know I recommend ROMEO AND JULIET. I don't think Claire Danes and DiCaprio were quite up to the Shakespearean lines but man what they did emotionally with the role was magnificent and the film's experimentation, that incredible direction; it was really marvelous. I love that kind of experimentation in film. I loved it when Oliver Stone did it in NATURAL BORN KILLERS and I really love it in ROMEO AND JULIET.

That's it, I'm going back to writing. I'm going to try to finish proofreading PANDORA tonight, the short vampire novel so that it can go to Knopf. VIOLIN, the big novel that I did for the fall is scheduled for October 22nd, I think, released October 31, that is one heavy chunk of pain, but I loved it. And let me recommend two violinists if you want to listen to violin music, Leila Josefiwitz, is the name of one, Leila Josefiwitz, and the other one is Vanessa Mae. They couldn't be more different but they both kept me company as I writhed in the writing of VIOLIN, as did the great Isaac Stern, of course, the elder master of the violin.

Keep the faith, I know I am forgetting to answer something important that somebody asked me. My memory is shot. I am all wrapped up in PANDORA in ancient Rome and as soon as I finish that, which will be published in March, I'll go right into ARMAND which will be in the fall of 98 and ARMAND is going to be agony. A beautiful, beautiful agony as I said before. You know when I first saw DiCaprio I thought Armand and then I thought no, no, no, no he's growing up, he's 22, Lestat, and I went nuts, but my going nuts doesn't amount to much in this world when it comes to who gets cast in what, it really doesn't, but you never know. I am throwing it out on the air waves so to speak. I am throwing it out to whoever wants to download it on the Internet. I'm just putting the word out there because DiCAprio is extraordinary, and he really is a genus. He really is fabulous from the very first movie to his very last. When you see somebody that great you should spread the word. You should shout. You should celebrate and I do, just as I have often on this line for Gary Oldman and Harvey Keitel and some of the many other people that I admire. Well, he's a bright star, and Johnny Depp is, too. They both have been so careful in their careers. Their names really, Johnny Depp and DiCaprio, really do mean quality. It's interesting how some other actresses and actors have really ruined their careers by perusing one bad movie after another even though they might have been pretty good in the movie. Not these guys. These guys really walk to the beat of their own drum and are really marvelous.

I'm going to leave you now. I'm gonna go eat a whopper, and I'm going to keep writing on PANDORA. I'll be in the hospital for about three days for nothing of any consequence and then I'll change the message sometime when I come back, and please do leave me your thoughts and your feelings and keep telling me what your favorite book is and tell me how you like DiCaprio. What do you think about DiCaprio as Lestat, as if we had any power? By the way, I don't think, I'm not blowing off Tom Cruise don't think for a moment, I love Tom Cruise. I loved what he did in INTERVIEW. I just don't have any evidence that Tom Cruise wants to go back to playing Lestat. He has done so well with MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and the other movie, JERRY MAGUIRE. I can't imagine and I haven't heard anything from him in three years, so I'm assuming that he's gone, that he's gone on now. And when I look at DiCaprio I see Lestat and my heart just busts.

Oh, by the way, wait until you see the drawing of Louis on our new t-shirt. The drawing of Lestat is marvelous too. The drawing of Louis that's being done by our artist, Patricia Hardin, really got Louis' melancholy and Louis' beauty. I'm very proud of all these t-shirts that we are doing with this crazy merchandising as Mel Brooks would call it. It's so much fun for us. It is very much a creative expression of everything. God love you and bless you and keep you and leave me a message."