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RICE SEES RED OVER `VAMPIRE’

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A writer apparently had the unmitigated gall to suggest that "Interview With the Vampire" author Anne Rice did her famous about-face on the merit of the movie version, and specifically on Tom Cruise's suitability for the lead role, for mercenary reasons. Rice herself responds in the following manner:

"It's an outrageous bid for attention," she told USA Today. "Nothing could be further from the truth and the idea that this jerk would say that . . . I detest the man and I suggest that he take off his dark glasses."In a far less hostile vein (if you will), Rice went on she would like to see Tom Cruise reprise his role as Lestat in a sequel. "He portrayed Lestat with charm and strength and power and gave the character the kind of range he had to have," she said.