Why Daniel Molloy is the best character on Interview With The Vampire

I knew going into Interview With The Vampire that I would enjoy the stories about brooding vampires Louis and Lestat. I didn't expect to love Eric Bogosian's sarcastic interviewer so much.
Eric Bogosian as Daniel Molloy - Interview with the Vampire _ Season 2, Episode 5 - Image Courtesy of AMC Network Entertainment LLC
Eric Bogosian as Daniel Molloy - Interview with the Vampire _ Season 2, Episode 5 - Image Courtesy of AMC Network Entertainment LLC /

Interview With The Vampire, based on Anne Rice's 1976 book of the same name, is back for its second season on AMC, and it's every bit as deliciously fun as it was the first time around. The show is pulp done right. Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat (Sam Reid) are tortured vampires stuck in an abusive relationship. Their daughter Claudia (Delainey Hayles) is doomed to spend eternity in the body of a child even though she has the brain of an immortal predator. In the season 2 premiere, she and Louis stalk the ruins of Europe towards the end of World War II in search of other vampires, finally meeting an old world bloodsucker who throws herself on a fire rather than face another night dining on despair.

It's operatic, it's melodramatic, it's over-the-top in a way that would make Dracula jealous, and all of it is dressed to the nines in period costumes. And yet it never goes so far that it becomes camp. Interview With The Vampire strikes just the right tone: serious enough for us to take it seriously, but not so serious that we start to laugh.

But at least someone is laughing at it. Louis is telling his life story to a journalist named Daniel Molloy, played by Eric Bogosian. And while it's easy to get sucked into the romance and the misery during the lengthy flashback sequences, Daniel is not impressed. He regularly points out inconsistencies in Louis' story, making us doubt the sincerity of our long-suffering protagonists. And he's right to! In the first season, he caught Louis out in several major lies, most notably that Louis' current vampire lover Armand had been with them the whole time, posing as a servant. In the first episode, Daniel borderline berates other members of Louis' staff, ever on edge about being misled. He refuses to acknowledge Armand's contributions to the story until he agrees to go on the record, frustrating this hundreds-years-old immortal being who could snap Daniel like a twig if he had a mind to. But because this interview is important to Louis, he has to sit there looking frustrated, schooled by a sarcastic journalist less than a quarter of his age.

That's one of the most important things Daniel brings to the show: he's hysterical. Or rather, he's justly dubious about what he's being told, which is hysterical when set against the miserable bloodbath that is Louis' life as he remembers it. The flashback sequences are, by and large, very serious. They contain serious stuff: love, obsession, murder, war...To cut back to the present so Daniel can call it all out as bullshit adds a layer I did not think we would be getting on this show.

But it's an important layer, because it keeps Louis honest, to us and to himself. Louis isn't always lying; sometimes he tells the story wrong because he's misremembering something, which is easy to do when you're over a century old. Or maybe he's trying to guard an embarrassing secret, like that he was so codependently attached to his abusive lover Lestat that he pulled his punch when it finally came time for he and Claudia to kill Lestat and escape. We've invested in Louis' story, but we want the real story, so Daniel is an ally to the audience, sniffing out the truth when Louis and Armand are trying to conceal it, for whatever reason.

None of this is present in the 1994 movie adaptation of Interview With The Vampire, where Daniel — there played by Christian Slater — rarely interjects during Louis' story. He comes off as a much simpler, less important part of the narrative, someone we might even forget as we sink into the flashback scenes.

But on the show, we're as interested to see how Daniel's journey ends in the present as we are to see what happens to Louis and Claudia in the past. It gives us another reason to watch, another reason to be interested. And it gives the TV show a reason to exist. Before it aired, I wondered whether we needed an Interview With The Vampire show given that the 1994 movie holds up well. Daniel Molloy is a big part of the reason why this story was worth revisiting.

New episodes of Interview With The Vampire air Sundays on AMC. It's my favorite show on right now, thanks to the brooding vampires and the aging troll of a journalist both.

Review: Interview With The Vampire delivers more sublime misery in season 2 premiere. Review: Interview With The Vampire delivers more sublime misery in season 2 premiere. dark. Next

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