Executive producer Mark Johnson previews how AMC's new adaptation of Anne Rice's iconic 1976 story is "much more complete" than the 1994 movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

Undead classic Interview With the Vampire is coming back to life.

Anne Rice's 1976 novel, previously adapted into a movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in 1994, is coming back to life in a new seven-episode series due later this year on AMC. The gothic tale, which follows the love/hate relationship between two vampires beginning in the late 18th century, is "going to surprise a lot of people," executive producer Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) tells EW. "We tried to stay as true to the spirit of the book as possible, but it's very much a modern interpretation. In many ways, our show is truer to the book than the movie was, which is ironic because Anne Rice herself wrote the screenplay to the movie."

Rice's book follows Louis de Pointe du Lac (Game of Thrones' Jacob Anderson) — who was turned into a vampire by Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid, The Astronaut Wives Club) — as he tells his life story to a modern-day journalist. Expect the series to dive even deeper into Louis and Lestat's tumultuous, centuries-spanning relationship, and check out EW's exclusive first look at a bloodied Lestat above).

Interview with the Vampire
Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

"Interview With the Vampire is above all else a really beautiful love story," Johnson says. "As a result, as opposed to the movie, the series is less plot-driven and more emotional, more character-driven."

While Johnson admits he's not a romance expert, producing The Notebook taught him the most important part of bringing love stories to life onscreen: "It all comes down to performance. With our lead actors, we have our Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and our Lestat and Louis are going to be so much more complete than the movie — not because the movie did anything wrong, but it's only two hours and we have a lot more time than that."

The producers took full advantage of that expanded canvas to tell the story, and as a result, the first season doesn't cover the entirety of Rice's novel. "We don't even meet Claudia until later into our season," he says of the third main character played by Bailey Bass (Avatar 2). "Hopefully we get a second and third season to finish the book."

Just stay away from garlic and wooden stakes — and early cancelations.

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