Creating a Vampire
The other major component of the look of the film centered around Stan Winston's design for the effects and make-up for the vampires. Winston and Neil Jordan were immediately in sync regarding their conception of the characters' appearances.
Winston recalls, "Our studio creates new characters for film, and I wanted this to be the first time that audiences ever saw what a real vampire looks like. We are using new technology for certain effects, but the essence of the look is not based on technology. It's based on an aesthetic, artistic and hopefully elegant look and a look of reality."
Collaborating with make-up artist Michele Burke, Winston and his artists, inspired by the emotional heart of the story, created a design for the vampires that captured their regal otherworldliness. "The feeling of the story is unsettling yet elegant, and the look of the vampires is never intended to be off-putting, but always to maintain a grace and a beauty in their uniqueness," Winston explains.
Some of the finer accouterments of vampire regalia were challenging for the actors to cope with, however. The elongated, stylized fingernails that the characters wear required so much preparation and care that the actors would often keep them on for an entire week at a time. Cruise in particular underwent some demanding and extensive make-up applications for his scenes following Lestat's "demise." Four-and-a-half hours of make-up were needed to affix the special prosthetic pieces and wigs that transform Lestat into a vengeful demon covered with the mire of the Louisiana swampland.
Costume designer Sandy Powell also faced the challenge of re-creating several different time periods, which she accomplished after intensive research. Her selections were influenced by the fact that cinematographer Philippe Rousselot lit the entire film with Chinese paper lanterns, providing a soft, almost candlelit ambiance. For much of her work, Powell chose "shot silk," mostly from India, which shimmers and changes color depending on its orientation to the light.
Color schemes chosen also closely reflect each character: Lestat is dressed in "cold" blues and silvers; Louis, in warmer, more earthy browns; and Claudia, in pastels, lilacs, pinks and purples. In addition, the character of Claudia remains a young girl physically, but must appear to age emotionally, and much of that maturation found expression through her wardrobe.
Says Powell, "The 1820s weren't too difficult, because the line of the clothing was very similar for children and adults, but when we got to the 1880s, Claudia definitely needed to be a miniature adult." The 1880s proved to be Powell's favorite period, due to the elegance of fashion at the time.
All the principals' clothing and undergarments were produced by Powell's team of dressmakers at her Pinewood Studios workshop. Much additional embellishment was provided by painter MATHILDE SANDBERG, who worked on all the major wardrobe pieces, adding depth and shading to existing patterns and hand-dyeing some fabrics. Shoes were also hand-fabricated.
Geffen Pictures Presents A Film By Neil Jordan: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea and Christian Slater in "Interview With The Vampire," starring Kirsten Dunst. The vampire makeup and effects are by Stan Winston; the editor is Mick Audsley; and the production designer is Dante Ferretti. The director of photography is Philippe Rousselot, A.F.C., and the music is composed by Elliot Goldenthal. The co-producer is Redmond Morris. "Interview With The Vampire" has a screenplay by Anne Rice based on her novel. It is produced by David Geffen and Stephen Woolley and directed by Neil Jordan. Distributed by Warner Bros., A Time Warner Entertainment Company.