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The Queen of the Damned
The Queen of the Damned
This article gives an insight into the horror film, The Queen of the Damned.
Queen of the Damned is a 2002 film adaptation of the third novel of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series, The Queen of the Damned, although the film contains many plot elements from the latter novel's predecessor, The Vampire Lestat. It stars Aaliyah in the title role and Stuart Townsend as the vampire Lestat. The film was released after Aaliyah's death and is dedicated to her memory.
Warner Bros. had acquired the
film rights to several of Anne Rice's novels — the first three Vampire
Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches trilogy — after a 1988 takeover of
Lorimar Productions. An eventual adaptation of Interview with the Vampire
(directed by Neil Jordan and produced by David Geffen) was released in 1994,
although not without controversy, particularly over fan reaction to the casting
of Tom Cruise as Lestat, an objection initially shared by Anne Rice which she
subsequently recanted after seeing the finished film.
"The key factor is that the entire vampire contract terminates in the year 2000. All the properties revert back to me at that time, unless production commences-principal photography that is-before then. I don't think it is possible for Warner Bros. to develop anything in that amount of time." "They have not been receptive to me or to my ideas at all. "Not very long ago, less than a year ago in fact, I begged the executives there to let me write a script for THE VAMPIRE LESTAT for union scale (the Writers Guild won't let you write it for free) and a deferred payment not due until release of the picture. They simply weren't interested. It was very painful for me, as I had been talking to a new director they'd hired and we were both excited about the idea. "I felt snubbed and hurt and have not bothered to approach them since. The young director is supposed to be developing THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED which I think is a bad idea, and basically a doomed project. "In spite of their showing no interest in me as the screen writer, they have not been able to find one themselves for this bizarre idea of THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. I'm not too surprised. I think any respectable script writer would be crazy to tackle that novel without having fully developed the background story of Lestat. Anyway, that is where it is."
Over the course of 1999, the script was developed by TV screenwriter Scott
Abbott and Australian writer/director Michael Petroni. Another Australian,
Michael Rymer was confirmed to direct. Rymer suggested the movie be filmed in
his home town of Melbourne, which would save considerably on production costs.
With a large cast of international and Australian actors, Queen of the Damned began principal photography on October 2, 2000 in a former biscuit factory converted into a studio in the Melbourne suburb of St. Albans. Location filming took place around the city of Melbourne, although some filming was done in Los Angeles. For the scenes of Lestat's concert in Death Valley, over 3000 goths were recruited from Melbourne nightclubs and on the internet, then driven on a fleet of buses to a quarry in Werribee to act as extras.
The songs for Lestat's band were written and performed by Jonathan Davis of the
band Korn and Richard Gibbs, although Davis's contractual commitments to Sony
BMG meant that his vocals could not appear on the soundtrack album. Instead, the
vocals were re-recorded by other musicians for the soundtrack release: Wayne
Static of Static-X ("Not Meant for Me"), David Draiman of Disturbed
("Forsaken"), Chester Bennington of Linkin Park ("System"), Marilyn Manson
("Redeemer"), and Jay Gordon of Orgy ("Slept So Long"). During the end credits
"Not Meant For Me" is played. It is Jonathan Davis' version although the credits
credit it as the Wayne Static version from the album.
By July 2001, author Anne Rice had mellowed her previous stance on the film, much as she had with Interview. When asked about the film's progress, she answered:
"Everything I hear about the movie is good. Warner Bros. is extremely enthusiastic. They are working very hard to make it perfect. I have no real news. Let me repeat what I mentioned in a recent message. I met Stuart Townsend, the young man who is playing Lestat and he was absolutely charming. He had Lestat's excellent speaking voice and his feline grace. I cannot wait to see him in the film."
By late 2001, Rice had seen the completed film and was sufficiently satisfied
to allow her name to be used on promotional materials, although she later
dismissed the film in 2003, stating that a television series format would be
more suited to her work.
Queen of the Damned was released on 22 February 2002 in the United States and Canada. Critical reaction was lukewarm to poor, with several reviewers such as Roger Ebert describing it as "goofy" or "damned". The film has a rank of 14%, certified "Rotten" at Rottentomatoes.com. Queen of the Damned nonetheless topped the box office in the weeks following its release. The sudden untimely death of the film's leading star Aaliyah six months before the film's release cast a shadow over the production, but some reviewers speculated the tragedy may have contributed to the film's greater-than-expected success.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "The Queen of the Damned" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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