Interview With the Vampire: Bailey Bass on How Episode 5 is a Turning Point for Claudia (Exclusive)

While Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire is very much the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) as he is the titular vampire giving the interview to journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian), the story of his "daughter" Claudia (Bailey Bass) looms large as well. Last week, Episode 4 of the AMC series introduced viewers to the character through entries in her own diary and this week's episode, "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart", continued to trace Claudia's journey. Unfortunately, that continued journey is one full of additional trauma as well as realization. Speaking with about this week's episode, Bass opened up about how the things that happen in Episode 5 are pivotal to Claudia's story as well as everything that comes next as the series heads towards the conclusion of its first season.

Warning: spoilers for "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart" beyond this point.

The episode picks up very much where Episode 4 left off, with the aftermath of Charlie's death and its impact on Claudia. It's soon revealed that Claudia has been going on a wild killing spree since killing her first love, with her recklessness ultimately leading a bit of suspicion to fall back on the family — which is already a little suspect in the eyes of the rest of the citizens of the neighborhood. But while there are major ramifications for Claudia's behavior, there are also some emotional breakthroughs as well, including a moment where the young woman breaks and simply wants to know who is going to love her, being stuck eternally in the body of a child as she is. According to Bass, it's an important moment in that it shows just how human Claudia, and all vampires really are.

"It's something that I've said before that you feel that Anne Rice's vampires are human, almost. Yes, they're supernatural and they have this strength and this lust for blood and all those very exciting things, but at the core of it, they are dealing with their own very serious, traumatizing issues," Bass said. "Every vampire is born out of trauma, as Louis says, and that is something you see in Lestat and you also see in Claudia and Rolin opened that Pandora's box and was like, 'Okay, what can we find? What is the core of these characters?' And that's why audiences connect with them so much, because they see themselves in these characters."

The episode also sees Claudia set out on her own, separating herself from Louis and Lestat for the first time as she goes out into the world trying to learn more about vampires. It's a journey that leads her to meet another of her kind, but it's an encounter that only results in more trauma for Claudia as it is heavily implied that her first contact with another vampire ends in her being assaulted. It's a moment that ultimately leads her back home and to a new understanding of her relationship with both Louis and Lestat.

"That's why that scene was so important," Bass said. "It is a vampire that's not Louis and Lestat and it is an experience that pushes her onto what we're going to see in the following episodes, and after that happens, she goes home. Something changes in her. She's starting to realize that the person who loves her the most and that she loves the most is not out in the world. It's Louis. And we continue to unpack that in future episodes."

"You definitely feel that 'I'm done. This is horrific,'" Bass says of the aftermath of Claudia's homecoming in Episode 5. "In that last shot of Episode 5 where Claudia's looking up at Lestat, so much so that I watched it with my aunt and my mom and my aunt was like, 'Every episode leaves you wanting more. I can't sleep at night. What's going to happen? What is she going to do to him?'" And I think we really wanted audiences to feel that way because Claudia has to figure that out. She has to figure out what she's going to do with him, what this means for her relationship with Louis and how this evolves. I also love that Claudia is over Louis, she's protecting him, because when she's stuck in this 14-year-old body and she's fragile, like Lestat just looks her in the eye and says, 'Because you're built like a bird.'"

She continued, "That is just straight to the core. She's aware that she's frail and she's aware of all of this. She's lived in this body. It's one of the most heartbreaking things to her. But despite that, she is going to protect Louis to the best of her ability. This is the person she loves the most. Through filming that episode, we would speak with Levan Akin, the director of Episode 5 and 6, and we would really say that this is domestic violence. That's what it is at the core of it. It's a child trying to protect one of her parents in this horrific moment. And that's why we also see it from Claudia's point of view."

Interview With the Vampire airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC. You can also stream new episodes on AMC+.