Jacob Anderson Always Wants More Chaos

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GROWING UP, ACTOR Jacob Anderson’s only cultural touchstone for bloodsucking monsters was Blade—and The Count from Sesame Street.

Both were prominent in the culture while he was growing up; the first is a film based on a Marvel Comic about a half-vampire monster hunter, the second a beloved children’s character. Little did he know years later he’d land one of the titular roles in a new adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire—and his Blade reference wouldn’t come much in handy at all.

Prior to landing the role on the show, Anderson was best known for playing Grey Worm, loyal warrior to Daenarys, on Game of Thrones, but has since made a name for himself as a leading man. His Interview character, Louis de Pointe du Lac, is a fully-turned vampire, and one who largely embraces his transformation, a stark difference from the half-human, half-vampire monster hunter Blade. So when Anderson arrived on set to start filming the new adaptation of the famed Anne Rice book, he panicked.

He turned to his co-star Sam Reid, and asked for any ideas. Did he know how vampires moved? How they spoke? Reid said he did, but that didn’t matter. “You’re a different vampire,” Anderson remembers Reid telling him.

jacob anderson

Eli Schmidt

While it wasn’t concrete advice, going in blind arguably aided Anderson. Rather than zeroing in on the horrors of Louis’s new life as a vampire, the 33-year-old actor imbues emotion into the character; he spends much of his time on screen punching up the vestiges of humanity he’s struggling to hold onto. He’s constantly searching for renewed meaning and purpose amidst the curse of immortality.

The success of his performance speaks for itself; AMC renewed the series for a second season before the first even aired, and critics universally praised Anderson for reinventing a character previously played by Brad Pitt in a 1994 Oscar-nominated film.

The second season continues to follow Louis in both the past and present, as he recounts his life after breaking up with his lover Lestat (Reid), and discovers a new group of vampires (including Armand, played by Assad Zaman) alongside his adopted daughter Claudia, now played by Delainey Hayles.

Ahead of Season 2’s premiere, Anderson sat down with Men’s Health to discuss the show, his fitness routine, that Game of Thrones ending five years later, and why ‘chaos’ motivates the way he chooses roles.

MEN’S HEALTH: When you first got the script for Interview with the Vampire, was there ever a moment where you were like, ‘There’s something here—this is going to be big’?

JACOB ANDERSON: No. I never thought about how the show was going to be received, which for me, is always my MO. The way that I figure out, is ‘How do I feel about this thing?’ If I don’t care if one person watches it, but I love it, then it’s probably the thing. I never really think about the finished product.

MH: The show can get quite steamy. How do you foster chemistry with your co-stars?

JA: I think the chemistry between Sam and I is based on a similarity in approach,and the way we think about these characters. Also, we just get on—I think that that translates in a way.

Me and Assad [Zaman] have a different kind of working method, and that brings its own chemistry. But I don’t know if we ever tried for chemistry. I think we both made a conscious decision to not try to replicate Louis and Lestat’s relationship. Before we started shooting, we had a Zoom and we were just like, ‘Let’s not compare and contrast. Their thing is their thing. Let’s see how this pans out.’

Because [Louis and Armand’s] relationship is very different. It’s based on a very different kind of dynamic. And it’s probably a harder dynamic to plan too far ahead, because they’ve been together for 70 years. How do you map that out? You just have to do it as it comes.

jacob anderson as louis in amcs interview with the vampire


Jacob Anderson as Louis in AMC’s Interview with the Vampire.

MH: That’s part of the skill of being an actor, right? It’s being able to meet someone and generate it really quickly into a performance. That’s super powerful.

JA: I felt like that with Delainey [Hayles]. When Delainey did her audition, we read together. I’ve got sisters. There’s a scene where they’re talking about pickpocketing, and Louis is talking about the joys of Paris, really trying to make Paris work, trying to make it a thing. We did the whole scene not looking at each other. And I glanced over to her a few times. She wasn’t looking at me. She wasn’t trying to build chemistry. It just felt really comfortable.

I felt like I was with one of my sisters, and we were just having a conversation where it doesn’t have to be this intense eye contact all the time. It’s unconscious.

MH: Have you read any of the The Vampire Chronicles book series?

JA: Yeah. I think I’ve read seven books. Six or seven books.

MH: That’s impressive.

JA: The later ones are pretty wild. I skipped a few in the middle. Our show is about the essence of an Anne Rice story, rather than always being [exact]. It was a good exercise for me to read as much as I could or wanted to. And not even for Louis’ sake, because Louis disappears after the first book. But just to get a sense of them. ‘What’s the vibe?’

MH: ‘What am I getting into?’

JA: Exactly. Before we shot Season 1, I did that. I’d only read the first two when we started shooting. They’re wild. There’s a lot of problematic faves in those stories.

“It feels kind of PUNK to just THROW THE RULE BOOK OUT.”

MH: Since you’ve read so much, do you have a favorite part of the book series you wish you could see on screen? Louis aside.

JA: Queen of the Damned is just a really fun adventurer story. There are so many set pieces in that book. Have you read it?

MH: I haven’t. I know there’s a movie out there that’s not very good, but I’ve heard that the story is good.

JA: Really, that film was my introduction to Anne Rice. I watched Interview with the Vampire (1994) after I’d watched Queen of the Damned (2002). Queen of the Damned was like… I watched it because Aaliyah was in it.

MH: Of course!

JA: Culturally, that’s completely disconnected from Anne Rice to me. There’s a lot in that book that I really love. And I would love to see the big action sequences. Louis, Lestat, and Gabrielle in a van, driving away from the Queen of the vampires, blowing it. That would be an amazing thing to see.

MH: After filming, how do you like to unwind?

JA: I don’t know if I do. It’s a problem. I did get a projector and a PS5, and I played quite a lot of Spider-Man . But that was later on in the shoot. I don’t really ever get a chance on this show to unwind, because Louis is just talking to me all the time. There’s always something to learn. So normally, I go home and I try and look at the scenes for the next couple days in advance. It can really make you feel like you don’t have a life.

I always have a shower after work, wash my hair, because Louis has got such slicked hair. There’s so much product in it, but actually that is very unwinding. It does ‘de-wind’ me, and I feel like I’m kind of shedding Louis a little bit.

jacob anderson

Eli Schmidt

MH: How do you balance your music career and your acting career?

JA: Unsuccessfully. [Laughs.]

I haven’t written anything since 2020. I’ve messed about in the studio occasionally. I’ve learned over the years, it’s very difficult to successfully balance two things at a time and put the necessary amount of energy into each thing. I think I work better when I compartmentalize a little bit and hyper-focus on one thing at a time.

If I had an assistant or something, maybe I could figure out how to jump between. But I think it was also a source of a lot of sleeplessness and a lot of restlessness in my 20s. I was just trying to do everything at the same time.

And when you have a kid, they are the thing. They’re always the thing. So everything else is a treat. My daughter really focuses me; she demands focus. So, the idea of having a side hustle now, it doesn’t work. I’ll write some music this year, but while I’m doing that, I won’t do any acting.

MH: I also wanted to bring up Game of Thrones because it’s been five years since the finale. Did you expect the mixed reactions?

JA: Yeah.

MH: Yeah?

JA: 100%. As soon as we got the scripts, I was like, this is going to be some real marmite. People are going to either love this or hate this. And for me, I find that really exciting. That’s my favorite kind of thing. When you’re like, ‘This shouldn’t work’ or ‘This feels risky.’ It feels kind of punk to just throw the rule book out. I understand why people were disappointed with certain things, but I thought it was a pretty fun way to end it, to be honest.

I also felt that way when the email came in to tape for a TV adaptation of Interview the Vampire, which is a very beloved film. There were loads of ‘90s movies adapted from books, but [they wanted] to do a faithful thing.

Before I read the script, I was like, ‘This sounds both generic and very risky.’ And then I read it and I was like, ‘Oh, this is nuts. This is amazing. Not only is this beautifully written, but it feels genuinely risky and doesn’t feel like anything else that’s being made.’

I love things like that. So there’s a little demon in me that when I read the Season 8 scripts for Game of Thrones, I was like, ‘Cool, let’s go. Let’s do it.’

jacob anderson as grey worm in game of thrones season 8 episode 5


Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5.

MH: How do you approach fitness in your life? Obviously you’re busy running around, acting, filming things.

JA: For Season 7 of Game of Thrones, I had to be so naked. So, I had an extreme workout I did for a few months, and it was very specifically for that one moment. That wasn’t a super healthy way for me to approach fitness.

As a kid, I had a lot of energy. I was naturally quite fast, so I didn’t ever try to be fit. My body just did it all for me. As soon as I dropped the [Game of Thrones] routine, I started feeling really bad again.

Then there was Interview With a Vampire. For Season 1—and I’m not necessarily trying to talk about losing weight as a net positive—I dropped 30 pounds, and ran three days a week, and went to the gym. I trained with my personal trainer three days a week. And the secret that came out of that was that being in my body really changed how my brain functioned. That was the biggest surprise.

I also partly wanted Louis to feel reptilian. I wanted him to be a sort of snake or gecko or chameleon. I had an image in my brain of what he looked like, and was like, ‘Okay, I just need to get there.’ Because it felt so good, now outside of shooting stuff, I like to do functional strength training and some cardio, and eat well.

I don’t have a hugely punishing regime. It’s just steady and consistent. My head can just float away like a balloon if I don’t. But also if I have to be a certain way for something, if I have to look a certain way for a job or for a character, then it’s much easier to do that.

MH: Do you have a dream role you’d love to play?

JA: I’m not very goal oriented. I don’t visualize the things I want to do. I look for things that are surprising—again, the chaotic things. I just filmed something last month, and I never would’ve thought I would play a character like that. And it was kind of exhilarating and scary, and I wouldn’t have visualized that a year ago.

I like being surprised.

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

preview for Interview With The Vampire - Trailer (AMC)

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