There’s no denying that Lestat as a character overshadows Louis, even in the book. Lestat’s delightful evil and mystique are a common thread in Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles,” and it’s understandable why Pitt thinks his character had little to do with Cruise’s Lestat. However, “Interview with the Vampire” is exclusively Louis’ tale, as it is he who passes it on to a reporter as a way to alert humanity and seek their own salvation. Although Lestat remains electrifying and dominates the course of events in the film, it is Louis who acts as a relatable, human anchor for the audience. He’s a vampire-turned-mortal stuck with an irrevocable decision and doing his best to rid himself of a life of violence, including his lover and creator, Lestat.
There’s pathos and heartbreak in the story that’s only brought by Louis, but his failure to convey it convincingly leads to another failure at the end. The interviewer (played by Christian Slater) begs Louis to turn him after telling his story, which defeats the very purpose of the cautionary tale. Vampirism, which carries both sexual and violent connotations, remains an attractive lure for humanity, despite the existential fear that accompanies the prospect of a doomed and immortal life. Although Louis could do nothing to change this, he relayed his perspective on events and revealed his empathetic and tortured nature in the process.
Louis, as the protagonist, allows us to glimpse a life we will never know. It’s a cry for help, as Louis can’t do anything but adjust to loss and grief forever. This inevitable tragedy is the painful and emotional crux of “Interview with the Vampire”.