Phone Message Transcript: September 12, 2000
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]

"Message to Internet and to the Phone Line September 11, 2000

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

This is Anne Rice. It is Monday, September 11, 2000 and I haven't written any notes for this message so I know I am going to ramble.

I have a lot to say. If I get cut off, leave me a message at the beep. It has been a long time since I have been cut off, but you never know what thunder and lightning can do, though it looks pretty calm right now.

First of all, I want to thank you all who have been calling in and saying that you are reading Christopher's book and how much it means to you. I really appreciate that and I am passing all the messages on to Christopher. He had a great launch party the other night at St. Elizabeth's and he gave me a lot of ideas for our signing that is going to be there on October 17th. The one that we are planning along with Britton Trice from Garden District Books in New Orleans. That will be our big New Orleans signing and I hope that we can really make it sort of exciting.

My sister-in-law, Nancy Rice Diamond, runs St. Elizabeth so she is kind of a genius at giving these extravagant and wonderful parties, so we are thinking of ways to decorate St. Elizabeth's that will echo the themes in Merrick.

Okay, now that I have said that, I wanted to mention three movies that I have seen, which I think are really wonderful. They are all on DVD, which means they are on VHS. They aren't in the theaters any longer. You guys know how slow I am to come to movies sometimes. It is not just that I don't get out to see them, it is just that some movies don't even open in New Orleans and they don't run very long if they do.

Anyway, these are the three. I would like to recommend, first of all, Angela's Ashes. I thought this movie was a jewel. It is about a kid growing up in Catholic Ireland and being educated a Catholic and I thought it was just brilliant. I am, of course, Irish-Catholic myself. I have never been to Ireland and I grew up here in New Orleans, but I think this movie is so beautifully done and so skillfully edited and taped, that it would mean something to almost anybody. You don't have to be Irish-Catholic to love the brilliance of it. It's beautiful. It is just a beautiful film. That is Angela's Ashes. I recommend it.

The second one I want to recommend is Magnolia, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. It was a compendium of magnificent scenes and magnificent performances. It was all about pain and people getting pushed to the limit of what they can endure. And I thought it was absolutely magnificently acted, magnificently directed. The art direction was beautiful, the cinematography was wonderful. I totally recommend Magnolia. I thought Tom Cruise was great in it. Everybody was great in it. Tom's performance was fabulous. This movie, in many ways, is painful to watch. It is not a pleasure to watch Magnolia, but you take pleasure in the magnificence of what you have seen. And when you finish it, you know there is a lot to ponder there and you feel like you are in safe hands with your pondering. You know you are pondering with something that was created by people who put an enormous amount of thought into it. I highly recommend Magnolia. Magnolia and Angela's Ashes are both about pain really, they really are.

The third movie that I have to recommend is lighter, but no less brilliant. It was Being John Malkovich. It is the most Kafkaesque movie I have ever seen that was not based on the work of Franz Kafka. I mean, it is just, those of you who know Kafka will know what I mean. It is just filled with absurd, crazy things and genius. It is fabulously humourous. I mean, scene after scene is quietly, insanely humourous. And of course, there are more magnificent scenes that I won't describe, because you just have to see this with your own eyes. It is just, it's breath taking. But the whole movie is hilariously funny and very, very clever. John Malkovich was wonderful in it, of course, and so was everybody else. Cameron Diaz is in it and she is terrific. The whole thing was just fabulous.

I think you will very much enjoy any of these three movies. But as I said, Angela's Ashes and Magnolia are about pain, Being John Malkovich is really comic in a profound sense. It was very, very good. Um, those are the movies that I have seen lately which I think are really wonderful. They have lifted my spirits to see such good, good things done in cinema.

Now, let me tell you briefly about Feast of All Saints. This is the second book that I published and that was 1979. That was many, many, many years ago. And Feast of All Saints was right after Interview with the Vampire. And they are making a mini-series based upon Feast of All Saints now, and it is being shot in Toronto. Well, I got to go up there and I got to visit the set and I got to meet all the young actors and talk to everybody involved with the production. It is going to be fabulous. I mean, this is going to be the most wonderful mini-series. They have really found locations in Toronto that really look like New Orleans houses. And of course, Feast of All Saints was set in the 1840's in New Orleans and it was about the free people of color. This unique class of people lived here before the Civil War. They were Octoroons, Quadroons, Mulattos, black people, who were not slaves. They were free and many of them came from families that had been free for generations. And it is not about the supernatural.

Feast of All Saints is really about two families and how they struggle with the problems of the times. There are many, many characters in Feast of All Saints and I got to meet the young actors and actresses who are playing the young leads. I wasn't there long enough, unfortunately, to meet the older actors and actresses who are also important, but the young people whom I saw were wonderfully cast. I mean, they are perfect for the roles of Marcel and Richard and Marie and Anna Bella. They're just simply wonderful. I also met the beautiful Jennifer Beals, who is playing Dolly Rose. She is fantastic. I am an executive producer in this production, but I think even if I weren't, they would be as generous as ever. They have been wonderful to me, consulting me about things, talking to me about things. The script is by John Wilder, actively being an executive producer. John Wilder did a fabulous adaptation. The original material that he has written is right in tune with the book. It is just a wonderful, heart-warming, God, incredible experience to go up there and to meet everybody and be with everybody. Peter Medak is the director, Peter Macintosh is the line director. There is just, the sets were swarming with people. I had forgotten how many people it takes to make a simple scene, a camera angle and I was reminded of what it takes to do that kind of art.

By the way, when Feast of All Saints shows, it will be on SHOWTIME. SHOWTIME is the big boss behind it all. Jerry Offsay, the brilliant president of SHOWTIME, is the one who bought this book from me and really has made all of this possible and I love Jerry Offsay. I think he is a real brilliant maverick in the field. But, it won't just be on SHOWTIME. It will run on SHOWTIME for a while, but for those of you who don't get the cable, or premium channels, Feast of All Saints will eventually run on ABC as well. ABC is in partnership with SHOWTIME on this and they are funding the production together, I believe. Anyway, I couldn't be more pleased or more thrilled with this whole thing. It renews my faith and it makes me feel like I am going to be in for a wonderful, wonderful treat. Seeing people acting out and speaking things that I wrote 25 years ago in this book, gave me chills.

Okay, now what else do I have to tell you? I think that's all except that Merrick will be published on October 17th, as most of you all know. We will have our big signing in New Orleans. We will probably begin signing at 3 P.M. on that day and will go quite long to try to get everybody's book signed. We will hold it at St. Elizabeth's, though Britton will have the books, you can even order books from Britton Trice at Garden District Books now I think. And we will try to give out tickets to allot times. Like, you can get a ticket to be from 3 to 4 or a ticket to be from 4 to 5 and that way you don't have to stand in an exhausting line. You can roam around St. Elizabeth's, you can look at the doll collection. You can look at whatever tableau that my brilliant sister-in-law, Nancy Rice Diamond creates. It can be an enjoyable experience. I am inviting Michael Koerber, brilliant pianist, to come and play the music that is mentioned in Merrick. It is actually music that is haunting Louis and Lestat's apartment in the Rue Royale, and it is the music of Claudia playing. And I am going to ask Michael to play whatever that music is. I have to go back to my own book and check. I think I named the composition that Claudia loved to play.

Anyway, what can I tell you? Merrick is a Vampire Chronicle, Merrick herself is the mystery of the book in many ways. Who is Merrick? That is what Merrick is about.

I love you guys and thanks again for all of your fabulous messages and wonderful things that you tell me, your movie recommendations. Everything - I appreciate it.

I love you very much. Take care.

Anne Rice"