Queen of the Damned: Jim Sheldon
EW Staff
February 08, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Queen of the Damned

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
100 minutes
Wide Release Date
02/22/02
performer
Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Lena Olin, Vincent Perez
director
Michael Rymer
distributor
Warner Bros.
author
Scott Abbott
genre
Horror

We gave it an C-

Aaliyah, the 22-year-old singer who plays 6,000-year-old royal vampire Akasha in the movie version of Anne Rice’s novel, had already completed her role when her chartered plane crashed last August. ”We were all in shock,” says director Rymer (”In Too Deep” ). ”I knew how important her work was to her, so my response was to make her look as good in the film as we possibly could.”

In postproduction, the filmmakers enlisted Aaliyah’s soundalike brother Rashad to smooth out any rough patches in her dialogue. ”When we just finished [filming],” remembers Townsend, ”before hardly anyone had seen it, there was this rumor on the Internet that [the movie] was going straight to video. So things were already kind of weird, and then Aaliyah died…”

Despite its tragic pall, ”I saw a very early cut and I think it’s great fun,” says the actor, who adds rock & roll cool to the Lestat character that Tom Cruise played in ”Interview With the Vampire.” ”It’s sort of cheesy and camp, veering into ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ territory. I vamp it up and Aaliyah is in the ultimate pop video, just strutting around, having a ball.”

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