Witches of Mayfair cast previews haunting new Anne Rice series

The Witches of Mayfair stars Alexandra Daddario, Tonga Ichilisa and Harry Hamlin discuss how they are preparing to enter Anne Rice's New Orleans world.

AMC is adapting Anne Rice's literary classic into another Mayfair witch series, which premieres Jan. 8. Based on the prolific author's The Witches of Mayfair trilogy, the new series tells the story of a matriarchal family of witches whose power and wealth are tied to a "Flogger" related to the mysterious entity. As the books continued and Rice's fictional universe expanded, the Mayfair character was intertwined with her interviews with vampire novels and became a staple choice for AMC's Immortal universe.

The first screen adaptation of The Witches of Mayfair stars White Lotus' Alexandra Daddario as Rowan, a talented neurosurgeon who finds herself drawn into a Haunted by terrible forces. Helping guide her on this quest is an equally mysterious man named Ciprien who works for an institution called Talamasca, while Beth Grant and Harry Hamlin are members of her ancient and powerful family of witches. Mayfair Witches was developed by Esta Spalding and Michelle Ashford, formerly the heads of Masters of Sex.

Screen Rant interviews the stars of Mayfair Witches about their understanding of Anne Rice's source material, and the show's connection with Interview With the vampires, and how they struggled to bring her vision of New Orleans to life.

Alexandra Daddario, Tongayi Chirisa, and Harry Hamlin on Mayfair Witches

Screen Rant: Alexandra, I know you delved into Anne Rice in preparation for Mayfair Witches. What impresses you most about Rowan as a character and part of its legacy?

Alexandra Daddario: I think Anne Rice's material is so complex that you just go, "Oh my gosh, how did she come up with that?" But it's really a metaphor for things that are quite grounded and relatable. I found that, in this fantasy world where Rowan has all of this stuff thrown at her and is dealing with grief and finding out that she has a new family and powers she can't control, it's all really a metaphor for growing up and finding out who you are for.Learning what it is to be a woman in the world and learning about Anne Rice, I can see where she crafted this character. I would be curious to ask her a lot of questions but, from what I found in her interviews, I felt I understood the character better from understanding her.

Tongayi, Ciprien is a new character in the mythology, but he seems to have the characteristics of Michael and Aaron. How did you get into the saga of him and Taramasca?

Tongayi Chirisa: The two characters did have a similar storyline, if you read the books. The ability to bring those two together helped him embody the element of trying to discover what is actually going on with the Mayfair family. He brings in that element of being very close and intimate with Rowan, which shows what the repercussions of being intertwined with a Mayfair woman might be.With Ciprien coming in as a Talamasca agent, it was really interesting to see how that will unfold and to bring out who Lasher really is through his experiences and interactions with Rowan.

Harry, Cortland is very funny because he comes across as amiable yet unbelievable. How do you play out this duality and what does he represent to you?

Harry Hamlin: Cortland, to me, is a lush. He's the life of the party, but I think he's terrified all the time of losing whatever control he has. After all, he's the patriarch of the family, but he's the patriarch of a family of women who have power. He's surrounded by people who could do horrible things to him if they wanted to. And then there's this other guy that is a cipher, and who knows what Lasher can do in the long run? If I make the wrong move, or say one thing that he doesn't like, I could be eliminated.I think he's a guy who, because he's terrified all the time, is trying to squeeze the most out of life and have the most fun you can possibly have. That's why he's the life of the party.

Anne Rice is synonymous with New Orleans, so how did it feel to you to help her bring her vision of New Orleans to life?

Tongayi Chirisa: It was quite the experience. It was really hot and humid, but it was beautiful. I think New Orleans in and of itself is a character, and it's just so rich with history. Anne Rice lived there for her entire life, and she incorporated so much of her personal DNA into her stories, so we had to capture that. Just being a part of that world and seeing the infrastructure was mind-blowing, and it sets you in the space to be one with these rich stories that she has. It was just really beautiful to be part of.

Even though we don't get much time with Rowan and her adoptive mother Ellie, the dynamic is really beautiful. What was it like building complex dynamics with Erica Gimple?

Alexandra Daddario: She's amazing. It was actually really incredible experience. She is Buddhist, and we filmed some takes that didn't end up in the episode which really dove deep into her embrace of death. Ellie does not fear death at all, and I think that probably came from her religion. We dove into her loss, and Ellie was okay with that, while I think that Rowan is doing everything she can to fight against it; to delay the inevitable and the pain that it causes.That relationship was so important to build offscreen as well as onscreen, because the loss defines Rowan. I do think that there's something to the inevitability of this loss that she's been preparing for, but it's a very deep relationship. When she's gone, who's going to protect Rowan? What's going to happen? We built a lot of that offscreen, and I really credit Erica and her character-building and who she is as a person with helping make that feel as important as it should have felt.

The first episode of Interview with the Vampire yells at the Mayfair sisters' house. as The Mayfair Witch series continues, are you looking forward to intersecting with the Immortal Universe?

Alexandra Daddario: Season 1 is on its own. I think that connection is the intention of the network and the creators of this world, but it's one step at a time. This show really stands on its own, while also being vaguely in the same world in order to be potentially combined in the future. But I think that's also that's how the books were written; they were really standalone and then intersect later on.

About Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches

The series will focus on an intuitive young neurosurgeon who discovers that she is an unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she struggles to gain new powers, she must battle the forces of evil that have plagued her family for generations.

Next: Why Anne Rice Hates Tom Cruise's Interview With Vampire Casting

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