Anne Rice’s seminal Gothic horror novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976. Almost immediately, Hollywood optioned the rights, hoping to turn it into a film. However, no studio made it for 18 years for various complicated reasons. But an interesting factoid that few ever knew has recently resurfaced. In a 1977 New York Times profile on Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy, he revealed he was lobbying hard to snag the role of Lestat, the undead French aristocrat who becomes a vampire. The man who played Spock nearly traded in pointed ears for pointed fangs. Here’s what Nimoy told the Times, via The Trekker Scrapbook:
Paramount owns the movie rights, and I want that role. I had my agent call, I had my publisher call, telephone calls and memos have been going back and forth, and you would think someone at the studio would put two and two together and hire me. I could create interest. I am right for that vampire.
It’s hard to imagine Nimoy in the part of the androgynous, French vampire. But it’s entirely possible that he viewed the part as the chance to play an outright villain. When Interview with the Vampire was first published, Lestat was undoubtedly the bad guy in the story. He wouldn’t become the “sexy antihero” until book two, The Vampire Lestat, where he took center stage. But that came out nine years later. Maybe he could have pulled it off? After all, no one thought Tom Cruise could play Lestat, including Anne Rice herself. When she saw his performance, she issued a public apology. Sometimes casting against type works. Especially with the right hair and makeup people. (Or in Michael Keaton’s case as Batman, the right rubber muscle suit).
We will say that Nimoy would have played a terrific Louis, the novel’s protagonist vampire. And we know this because for several years, Leonard Nimoy played Spock on Star Trek as a character who struggled with integrating both halves of his personality, the Vulcan and the human. Louis similarly struggled with his human and vampire duality. Honestly, Nimoy would have nailed that particular role. All we know is we want a little peek into the alternate universe where Nimoy got to play Lestat—if only to see him in a blonde wig and wearing billowy pirate shirts.