Director Neil Jordan on “Interview With the Vampire” Turning 25, Exploring Queer Identity in Films

Jordan's latest movie, "Greta," opens today.

From Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite to Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Green Book, this year’s Academy Awards (and the Box Office) suggests there is an appetite for films that center LGBTQ characters. While we have yet to enter the golden age of queer cinema, the industry and public interest has certainly changed since Neil Jordan struggled to find support for The Crying Game—the 1992 British thriller which showcased a complex love story between cis and trans characters—and earned Jordan an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
 

“Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t finance it,” Jordans told NewNowNext. “He didn’t.”

Over the course of his career, Jordan has been a leader in including LGBTQ characters in his films including Breakfast on Pluto and Interview with the Vampire which turns 25 this year.

NewNowNext took the director—whose latest thriller, Greta, is out now—on a trip down memory lane.

You’ve been exploring gender and sexuality in your work before it was in fashion to put it simply. Is Hollywood finally catching up to you?

[Laughs] That’s a big compliment. I just made movies about subjects and themes I was interested in. So much has changed since I made the The Crying Game. It’s amazing to witness the conversation changing and the push for more diverse storytelling and truthful storytelling. Look at Moonlight for example. What a staggering piece of work. The climate has changed.

What challenges did you face getting The Crying Game made?

I was told I shouldn’t be making films like that. Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t finance it. He didn’t. He wanted me to cast a girl. He said the audience would be repulsed, or they won’t go see the film.

Interview with the Vampire is another one of your films that’s a queer, fan favorite. It’s one of the highest grossing films to showcase queer themes…

Oh really? I didn’t know that!

What attracted you to that project?

Anne Rice’s book. It had such a steamy atmosphere with an emphasis on guilt. It fascinated me how she made the idea of evil a personal crutch and how she made the monster human.

Francois Duhamel/Sygma via Getty Images

What do you remember most about making the movie?

[Laughs] I remember feeling like the whole world was against me. The book was so popular and had a major following. We had to create a bubble for ourselves while we filmed. I remember the studio hired staff to keep people away from the set. I remember the uproar when Tom Cruise joined the cast. It turned out well in the end. [Laughs]

Speaking of monster humans, let’s talk about your latest film, Greta. Are you drawn to evil characters or something?

[Laughs] Not necessarily, but I did like that the villain was a woman. I loved the script. It’s very familiar territory, but I loved the pathological bond between the two characters [Isabelle Huppert as Greta, an eccentric French piano teacher, and Chloe Grace Moretz as Frances, a sweet, naïve young woman new to New York City]. There’s nothing sexual about it, and that throws an entirely different light on the situation.
 

Greta is now playing.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie and pop diva addict living in Manhattan. Follow him on everything @dirrtykingofpop.
@dirrtykingofpop