There must be something supernatural about British actor and musician Jacob Anderson. The multihyphenate (who uses the musical moniker Raleigh Ritchie) is incredibly well-suited for acting roles that take place in another realm. Anderson joined Game Of Thrones in its third season through the end of the series as Gray Worm, the somber and loyal military commander and trusted advisor to the mother of dragons. Now, he’s playing an otherworldly being of another kind: in AMC’s new reboot of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire, Anderson is the leading man. His character, Louis de Pointe du Lac, recounts his life in Louisiana and the circumstances leading up to his entry point to bloodthirst. The series covers Neil Jordan’s 1994 movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, this time making clear an explicit exploration of Louis’s queerness. “You could be a lot of things in New Orleans,” Louis says in the series, “but an openly gay Negro man was not one of them.”
Anderson sat down with W to talk about the podcast he listens to weekly, his thoughts on Don’t Worry Darling, and not wanting to sing too well at karaoke.
How’s it been promoting and leading up to the release?
It’s really weird, it’s hard to talk about a show that crosses genres. It sounds like a cop-out to say, but I feel like the show is just… a vibe. [Laughs] You can’t really say that, but the reason people should watch it is because it feels like a vibe!
Was that your initial reaction when you saw the script? Did you have to audition?
I did about eight auditions: a lot of rounds, a screen test, and two chemistry reads with Sam [Reid]. When we got the script, I was like, “This is the best thing I’ve ever read.” I wasn’t as familiar with Anne Rice’s books, so I didn’t really have a reference point at the time. “What is this? Where has it been my whole life?” There are things about Louis I feel very connected to. There’s something about endurance and the path to acceptance. This is an amazing way to explore those things, the idea of if you had forever and finding yourself.
Onto the Culture Diet questions. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I wake up at any time between 6 and 7, and it’s normally my daughter calling. The first thing I do is watch cartoons. We sit and watch either Mira, Royal Detectivewe watch Spidey and His Amazing Friendsor the first act of any Disney film—whatever she’s into. Beauty and the Beastrecently, or Turning Red.
That’s sweet. So many people open Twitter and scroll for hours.
I try not to do that! That’s not good for my diet.
Is there anything specific that you read first thing in the morning?
Realistically, text messages. In the last few months, it’s been texts from Sam Reid, who plays Lestat in the show, because he’s in Australia and I’m in the UK So there’s always some kind of really nice conversation waiting in the morning.
What’s your bedside table book stack looking like right now?
It’s mostly Anne Rice books, to be honest. I’ve been trying not to read Anne Rice just before bed, but I’ve been making my way through The Vampire Chronicles. I’m on merrick at the moment. I read a novel recently between Vampire Chronicles books called Assembly by Natasha Brown. I really enjoyed that. It was heavy, but it was brilliant. Do you know a writer called Matt Haig? I’m rereading Notes on a Nervous Planet right now, which is a really helpful book—particularly because the news can be a little bit much sometimes. And that book’s just about, What can you boil it down to? So that’s quite a comfort. I’ve read it already, but I just go back to reference it.
What are you getting from it on round two?
My context has changed. I feel differently now. When I first read it, I was in some sort of crisis point, where I was like, I need this book—whereas now, I’m looking at it as a plus.
Apart from Interview With the Vampireare there any TV shows that keep you up at night?
I’ve been watching The Rehearsal, finished that. I loved it. I’m a Nathan Fielder fan. It’s really interesting to see his comedy, how it impacts people, and the way it impacts him. I’m still trying to figure out what the lines of reality and fiction were; I’m not quite sure where it begins and ends.
Do you remember the last movie you saw in theaters?
I went to see Don’t Worry Darling. I thought it was really interesting. Florence Pugh? I think she’s the best working actor. She’s incredible. I liked the film, I think it got a bit of an unfair ride. Though… it’s kind of arrogant maybe, but sometimes I watch films and go, “Ugh, if just this thing was tweaked, if it was a little bit more of this and a little bit less of that…” I try to edit films in my head as I see them, and I had a few moments like that with it.
It’s such a shame we have to watch something with that kind of unavoidable meta commentary. In our screening, the scene that was put on the Internet which became a meme, there were people in the theater that were cheering and laughing about it. But in the context of the film, it was a completely different thing. And it was strange to watch this serious moment in a film and have people even-ifying it in real time.
As a musician, how do you go about making playlists?
My playlists are pretty all over the place, so it’s quite difficult to pinpoint what’s on them. I have mood things. I have playlists for characters that I’ve played. I have playlists for things I’m writing. It’s more about—it’s gonna sound so pretentious—but it’s almost like creating a little world inside the playlist. And I instantly know if a song feels out of place, it’s gotta go.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I actually don’t like karaoke!
I’ve never heard a single person say that before.
It’s because I’m a singer, and if I sing, I’m going to want to try to sing it well. It’s kind of awkward, then. But karaoke is almost treated like a sport, so it can get really competitive and spirited, and people do try to take it seriously.
Are you listening to anything else? Are you a podcast person?
I am a podcast person, but I don’t like those murder-y, true-crime types of podcasts. They feel very intense and sinister. But I do love “Keep It!” I check for new episodes on Wednesdays, and I’ll listen to it in sections throughout the week. Ira and Louis are so brilliant and hilarious. I kind of feel like we’re friends, and I don’t know how to feel about that.