Interview With The Vampire Starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, Stephen Rea, Directed By Neil Jordan When it was first published, Anne Rice's seductive and hypnotic Interview With the Vampire swept away the cobwebs that had long enshrouded vampire lore: Her creatures of the night weren't creaky old ghouls shrinking at the sight of silver crucifixes but late-18th-century romantic rebels drunk on immortality. Hollywood quickly grabbed the movie rights-then spent 18 years trying to figure out what to do with them. * Producers like Julia Phillips (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), directors like John Boorman (Deliverance), writers like Frank DeFelitta (Audrey Rose) and Michael Cristofer (The Witches of Eastwick), and stars from John Travolta to Jon Voight to Cher all bloodied themselves on the project. ''People had tried to treat it as a metaphor for one thing or another-drug addiction or AIDS,'' says writer-director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), who finally broke the curse for producer David Geffen. ''But you didn't have to make it allegorical. What's unique about the book is that it's told from the monster's point of view. Not even Bram Stoker's Dracula was told (by) Dracula.'' * Jordan felt that the roles of Louis, the heartsick plantation owner, and Lestat, the mesmerizing aesthete who converts him to vampirism, ''had to be played by the best young Hollywood actors. That's what (vampires) are, with their glamour, indestructability, and eternal youth.'' But while Rice's fans applauded the choice of Pitt to play Louis, the author howled when good-guy Cruise was cast as the Byronic six-footer Lestat. ''I wanted a great actor of appropriate voice and height,'' said Rice, who had once advocated Rutger Hauer. Counters Jordan: ''The popular image of Tom has very little to do with what he actually is. There's a savagery to Tom that's never been on the screen before.'' Shooting last fall in New Orleans, the $50 million production fought to keep a low profile (though bootleg footage made its way onto Hard Copy). ''We were in our own little bubble, as if we were fighting in Vietnam,'' laughs Jordan. ''It forced us to concentrate on the whole dark world of these vampires Anne had created.'' And his colleagues claim that nobody concentrated harder than Cruise. ''When I went to New Orleans, I didn't see that he was under any kind of pressure,'' says Banderas (Philadelphia), who plays Armand, the ancient but $ beautiful vampire who wrestles with Lestat for control of Louis. ''Maybe he had it inside his stomach, but he wasn't putting it out. Tom wants to be perfect all the time.'' (Nov. 18) *What's at stake: For Jordan, a second shot at becoming a Hollywood heavy hitter. For Cruise, a chance to drive a spike through the heart of anyone who thinks his acting lacks bite.
Star Trek: Generations Starring Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Malcolm McDowell, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Whoopi Goldberg, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Directed By David Carson