6. As it turned out, Cruise knew exactly what he was getting into and, though reportedly “deeply hurt” by Rice’s initial criticism, he grabbed the role by the jugular, reading all of her books, learning piano, losing weight and soaking up the atmosphere in Paris with then-wife Nicole Kidman to get a jump on Lestat’s hedonistic lifestyle ahead of the start of production.  

Cruise stated in 1994 that the source material is told through Louis’s point of view. Cruise added, “You have to carefully read it to discover the clues as to who Lestat really is.”

And in the end, he turned Rice—and, according to the author, he turned all the readers who were initially outraged just as she was.

In a 1994 interview, she said that Tom had done a great job. Although I too was initially shocked and was against the idea, Tom Cruise did actually read the books and got Lestat’s essence. Lestat was his power, his charisma, and his charm. He got him. All of this was evident in the movie. It was a great performance by him, I believe, with great talent and power.”

Rice pointed out that Cruise’s only issue was his charm. Louis is so envious of Lestat because he’s not all that evil. “How can he?” In 1994, she also muted. “Well, that’s a problem I would take over any other. Tom struck the right note. Louis was Louis. Louis could not be comforted by anything. It was the film that got it.”