Many people are judging Townsend without looking at all into anything that means something when it comes to a character adaptation. Let me write a review of Townsend as Lestat and then of Tom Cruise for the same version of the character.

Like everyoen else who have read the books, I see the Queen of the Damned film's version of Lestat is almost totally out-of-character but I personally hold only the script writers' and possibly the director and whoever really had any say on it, responssible.

Not the actor; not Stuart Townsend, at all - because he could not possibly have changed the character into more true version, in any case. Because the script writers created the version; they wrote the scenes and the lines given to the character - Townsend could only do his best and bring the written text to life and add to it, improvising himself.

And even if Townsend had known who Lestat truly is, the script was already too radical - it was impossible to portray a totally true Lestat in that film's story that is nothing like the books'. Marius' character was more like Magnus in personality and since Marius is an extremely important person to Lestat, Lestat of this film could not have been the Lestat from the books because neither was Marius. I have read two different earlier script versions of the film, including the very original. You can not expect an actor to capture the books' Lestat's personality when the script writers who wrote the film version of Lestat, didn't write the character to have that true personality. You can not capture something that isn't there. So, it is not as if the actor lacks talent or that it was in any way his fault.

BUT - there in fact is in-character personality characteristic even in this version of Lestat! And Townsend portrayed those heartfelt and in natural tone - as the facial expressions, tones of voice and the whole being is naturally all Townsend's acting - the way he brought them to life because NOT every single detail was in words in the script but Stuart had to decide himself how to have Lestat look like and so on.

Lestat in the film is:

- A BRAT and a REBEL:
He plays the violin with the gypsies even though Marius had just told him not to meddle with mortals. And he goes to the secret tunnel and chamber though he must have realized secret chambers are secret and thus not allowed to be entered. And he fights Marius in every possible way while chained to the bed for his own protection - I think in that scene at some point Lestat goes a little out of character, but do take note he isn't ENTIRELY himself in these moments but high on Akasha's blood. And thirdly, he breaks the number one vampire rule by becoming a rockstar.

He loves humanity; almost crying after having to kill the gyspsy girl. Even though in the books he's not exactly like that, about killing - this was still a way to show he's sensitive side - as is also the moment much later, when he speaks beautifully about humanity, to Jesse. And as for the Marius matter - he cries out desperately after Marius, when finding him and the statues and everything else gone. And the look on his face when he steps into the room where Marius is waiting, in the reunion scene - he looks as if he can't believe he's actually looking at Marius and when he's convinced he really is, he looks as if Heaven just opened up in front of his eyes. And my personal favorite Lestat moment in the whole film: the look in his eyes indescribably deeply touched almost as if he was nearly in tears of happiness, when Marius had leapt on the stage to protect him - and he's not even taking his eyes off Marius for a long moment.

Just look at his expression when he asks Akasha's satatue "Shall I play for you?" and the mischievous expression on his face, when he glances after Marius the second before he starts to approach the gypsies on the beach to play the violin. How about the perfectly enthustiastic and happy cheer-jump and facial expression he does, when Marius has appeared on the stage and he finally takes his eyes off Marius to find his fans adoring the show. Not to mention the happy smile while he watches Marius kicking the vampire's ass who had just tried to hurt him [Lestat.]
While the film version is generally out of characterly depressed and not joyful enough, the fact all that changed around Marius is very, very in-character.

+++ Lestat in the book describes he can look very mean, when he smiles. Well, Townsend does, for one in the moment he plays the violin on the beach and we also see in that moment, his eyes glowing, which was the moment the girl's father realized he's not human. That evil smile and the eyes - and Lestat clearly isn't trying to look like that but just enjoying the violin playing. And also I like in the end the smile he gives David Talbot just before he walks out of the Talamasca door.

I probbaly forgot to mention some moments and scenes but I'd think those ought to make you consider Townsend actually is potential to play a true version of Lestat and that he can act. Because, as said, not all the details, expressions and such were described in the pages of the script, and the director doesn't decide everything, but Townsend brought them to the screen. And even if every single little thing was described in text form (which it never ever is in film scripts) or told by the director (which it likely never is), Townsend would've still needed and had the talent to make it come alive. But as it is, he did it all out of himself.

You may disagree but then, please just tell me, how did you see those moments and experssions and all that, if not as potential true Lestat and as good acting?

Because of all that and the fact he looked around 20 years old, had the exact right hair style (except in the modern days it was lifeless and floppy which isn't Lestat but in the journal entry clips it was beautiful, natural looking, curly and not-quite shoulder-length hair) my opinion Stuart Townsend's THE Lestat.

Tom Cruise then?
I've read that they actually did offer the role to Tom but the man refused. I've heard he declined the offer because he felt he was too old (to play a rockstar.)

And QOTD movie Lestat is clearly portrayed as a bratty, childlike teenager, in persona as well as in the scenes. Cruise's being / acting ways could not fit into that role. This meaning, I think Cruise rocks as the IWTV version of Lestat but I just can't see Tom Cruise portraying the final version of Lestat, the sensitive, childlike Brat Prince. My main problem with Tom Cruise in that QOTD film would've probably been how ridiculous he would've looked like. I mean, I can't imagine him portraying that kind of childlike, bratty, emotional teenager that Lestat's pictured in behavour/being in the film. Somehow, already in 1994 (not to mention 2001), Cruise was too mature not only in looks but the whole being. I just can't see it turn into so drastically different version of Lestat - no matter how good actor Cruise may be.

Plus, Towmsend looked good rocking on the stage. One of the, though not the most highlighting, scenes in the movie where Tom Cruise would've probably looked stupid and which, according to what I've heard has to do with how he himself feels he's too old to play a rockstar. Of course there are many even middle-aged rockstars that have all the stage presence and cool-factor intact but it's because theey are rockstars, that kind of thing is in their blood so to say, and they've toured possibly for decades. A random actor may not be the same thing. Especially if the actor himself doesn't feel like it.
As for what age Lestat should look like, just read on. I'll dig into it.

Cruise just, in my opinion doesn't have what it takes to be "The Brat Prince". He never played him either, in my opinion. That title was given to Lestat by Marius, who hadn't even popped up to Anne's mind while she wrote IWTV. Plus, Marius gave that title to Lestat for how he saw Lestat through his own eyes, which most certainly is closer to Lestat's own description of himself, than Louis' description. (Hence, Louis hated Lestat at the time, whereas Lestat loves himself and Marius totally loves Lestat. And yes, I don't think Marius titled him that only for the rule breaking - the name hold so much affectionare emotion in it when he uses it. And anyway, the IWTV Lestat wasn't even that big of a rule breaker.) In my opinion, Cruise was born to play the Interview with the Vampire Lestat but Stuart Townsend was for the final Lestat.

Tom Cruise just simply never would've fit the Lestat version of any other part but the Interview with the Vampire. Not in any way. It's too different versions. But of course I must admit that no one can really know for sure unless he got the chance and the same goes for Townsend. They should be both given the chance to portray the Lestat from The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned books. They'd both deserve it for showing that they can pull off well, some characteristics of Lestat. But as said, in my opinion, Townsend would probably make a better Lestat after IWTV and he will always be my Lestat with the books' Lestat's personality.

As for what Lestat should look like in age matter, I have dug into everything Anne Rice has said throughout the years and analysed them link.

Feel free to also read my article link.