The points I'm going to argue / comment on:
X How his performance as Lestat / any character supposedly sucks.
X He didin't even read the books when he took the role of Lestat.
X How he in the first place took such a crappy role in a crappy script.
X Being drunk on the set / made up accent and bragging about them.
X He supposedly acted surprised twice for the same reason in the film.

Now, when you put all that in that way and even leave it at that - sure as hell it sounds downright ridiculous and awful. But why don't we take a deeper look at all that? I know I will, you're always free to ignore and if you do choose to give the following a thought - you're always of course free to have and keep your own opinion. AND please do take notice that I am not trying to make him look like the best actor ever or justify his obviously stupid attitudes with the whole drinking thing... I'm simply trying to open people's eyes that there's more to everything than those arguments imply and that thus none of the above has to make Townsend into the worst actor in the world either.

Everyone need to remember - what the caharcters are in movies are not completely the actor's work - they can not decide everything. The script writes have written the characters and the directors have a heavy word in what's happening on the screen - that's the whole point of a director's job. Of course the actor has a lot to say o the performance too but the point is no one should focus on the actor in neither praising or trashing their performance. Nothing's black and white in acting and movie business and the more colourful the character the harder it is for the actor to perform well - especially with a crappy, illogic script writing and possibly a bad director. So I think people really should remember Tom Cruise did better job in everything mostly because he got a better script (written by Anne Rice herself) and a better director.

And even if Stuart Townsend had read the books and wanted to portray more true version of Lestat - he'd have found it impossible with the entire script in his hands as the script strayed so very far from the source material in every possible matter. Chances are they were told it extremely drastically differs from the books. Townsend would've only found himself reading about a completely different character in a completely different story. And a leading actor certainly doesn't have the authority to request that many and huge changes.
Researching and questioning would've been utterly useless. And anyone who's read the original script, knows what utter bs it is. I wouldn't blame anyone for not making efforts to get to know a character in a novel when the film script is like that. So the whole script matters more than anything you, me, Anne, Stuart or anyone else might wish. Reading the books would have hardly made any difference to the film. It's naturally ok to think every actor taking a role based on a book, should read the source material, but for heaven's sake - please stop making it a huge problem in this case!

Now I've also heard people trash Townsend in the name that he even accepted a role in such a film and version of the character. And I feel that is plain petty attitude. As far as I've heard, Townsend didn't like the Lestat&Jesse "romance" but liked the idea of a rockstar vampire enough to take the part. As for the crappy version of Lestat... He couldn't have known it since he hadn't read the books. And as said, reading them would've been pointless for the reason I analysed above. If someone should be trashed for not caring to read the books or respect them before starting to work on them, it's the script writers. Without them this movie wouldn't even exsist for anyone to take the roles. And basically, if he liked the idea of a rockstar vampire and believed he'd be good as one, then he should be allowed to take the part without being trashed by fanatic fans of the source material. Because that reason has nothing to do with the books but just a person's likings for a role all in all.

I also wish to comment on the Townsend being drunk in the set / on camera and bragging about it and about the made-up accent. I agree that bragging about being drunk in any case is downright wrong and not respectable. But I am not going to hold that against him forever and ever and in everything he ever did before or after that point, unlike some. 'Cause holding one mistake against someone like that is just as stupid as the attitude that is held against him. His stupid attitude about the matter, doesn't change the fact that him being drunk didn't show in the scene in question on camera. It didn't show! So this means, either he wasn't that drunk at all in the end OR was able to hide it, which would actually be quite something in a positive way. But more likely he just wasn't that drunk. And a director surely wouldn't even let on camera an actor if he was too drunk to pull something off convincingly. Plus, it's not as if he was (as far as anyone knows) drunk in every scene. But just in one. It doesn't make him the devil of the actor kind. Gees. I mean, of course he shouldn't have got drunk at all, not to mention to brag about it but it could've been so much worse. I don't think he deserves to be downright hated and despised for one stupid mistake.

And the accent... Seriously, how petty is it to get all worked up and trash somone as an actor for that? At least to me, personally, in an actor's talent and choices, the how convincingly they say their lines matter a whole lot more than the accent, be it right or wrong accent and it's not even neseccarely wrong in this case. And I also rather listen to what the characters say than pay attention to the accents used.

But in the end it isn't even wrong to make up an accent. It probably was Townsend's artistic view; in the film it was said he's a french nobleman but never mentioned for how long the character had lived in France. Apparently there was no french noble men living outside France until the French Revolution so he could not have picked it up before Marius. But easily any time after. The French Revolution was 1789–1799. According to the film, he was made into a vampire in winter 1788, which was very close to the revolution - the film Lestat was alive and awake during and after the revolution, long after it, and could've been one of those french noble men, who lived outside France during or after it. He could've picked the other accent up anywhere between 1789 and 1885, in which year according to his "100 years of rest" he would've gone to sleep. Or even later, seeing to that it seemed to be 21st century in the film when he woke up.

So notice that he doesn't use the made-up accent in the journal entry scenes but only in the modern day scenes, so he obviously saw the character wouldn't have it in those days. Though he doesn't use french one either - but you know the characters were more likely really speaking french language anyway even though the film had them speak englsh (possibly for one because Townsend may not be able to speak fluent french like Perez could), so any accent wasn't needed. See, Lestat had written his journal in french. So chances are they also spoke french duting those days.

The voice-over while Jesse's reading the journal is spoken in english with the made-up accent, yes, that is a flaw. The language explainable by the reason I just gave for the language in the actual scenes - and the accent really shouldn't be essential when the language already is wrong. And to cast an actor who could speak french fluently, only because of those couple of scenes, would be quite unnecessary. The important thing is that acting is good and viewer gets to know what the journal says.

So, I really don't think making up an accent is an artistic offense here, no matter why he may have wanted to do so, which reason isn't brought up in the interview. So there are very valid bases for an actor to make up and accent without it being anything away from him as an actor. And Cruise's accent wasn't french either even though in that film too Lestat was implied to be french. Something about being from Paris as was his maker.

To argue the also often complained about "He acted surprised twice for teh same reason!" As in Lestat is told twice in the film that Enkil's dead and that he supposedly acts surprised for that matter, both times.

I never saw it that way, and still don't. Yes, he was told the same thing twice but he didn't react to the same thing twice; The first time, he was surprised for Akasha having risen, that's all - I see it so because even though he supposedly saw the dead Enkil first and only then the empty seat of Akasha's, the first thing he said was "Akasha!" in an excited/surprised tone. Only Marius spoke of Enkil and his death, while Lestat kept on speaking of only Akasha. Hence, Lestat didn't seem to give a shit about Enkil or Enkil's fate; Not at any point of that scene was Lestat surprised for, react to, or in any way interested in Enkil.

And so, it lead him into not remembering Enkil's fate, which is why he was surprised when it was implied again later - especially when he was at the particular moment, most likely in somewhat muddled state of mind, for having just been snatched from a battle field in which he had enjoyed being, by the one he had so been excited about earlier, (especially 200 years earlier.) Plus, that moment was happening some 3 days since the first time he was told about it. A combination potential to make one forgetful, especially when hadn't been at all interested in the matter earlier.

I repeat; he was told about the same thing twice but he did not react to the same thing twice. That is probably why Stuart Townsend suppposedly has said that he hadn't noticed reacting to the same thing twice. Because HE DIDN'T while he was inside "Lestat"'s head in those scenes!!

Just because Enkil and his death was thrown at our face and we paid attention to it and we hung on to Marius's every word, doesn't mean that Lestat did. We were watching a movie, taking in anything that's said and shown - but Lestat who was living the moment, was all about his precious Akasha, dismissing anything else, from the very second he noticed she'd risen.

So go ahead, mock Townsend for "acting surprised for the same thing twice". It's rather ignorant claim because he didn't and even if he had, there was all the chances in the story for the character to have forgotten about the first time.

The hair colour... They supposedly tried a blonde wig on and Townsend supposedly refusing to wear it... Or that it wasn't used in the first place. I have no doubt they would've and that he would have agreed to use it if it had been necessary and essential in the film's story but it wasn't. It most likely was seen and agreed by everyone that the hair colour doesn't matter, 'cause they had changed the maker from Magnus to Marius. For whatever reason Townsend chose not to use a wig, in this case really shouldn't be away from him as an actor nor an offense. The fact the script writers altered the maker, is the offense and away from them as adapting script writers.

As for his performance as Lestat, I want to make clear I don't support it as it is but I'm just trying to point out it isn't entirely his fault and that I think he showed potential in the very few in-character moments of the sctipt that he had. And thus I like his performance partly, as in I liked his performance at those moments. And so I'd wish he'd get a chance to show with a truer version to perform, just how far that potential he got to show, could carry him.

So... I think that whereas people do have valid reasons to trash Townsend to begin with - they fall apart when looked more into what Townsend had in his hands to work with, into what happened on camera (or didn't), and into everything that actually matters in acting business and a character performance. Stuart Townsend obviosuly isn't the best and most respectable actors there could be, he obviously isn't too professional in attitudes, but he's got talent, and the circumstances and bases to work with, are essential. So certainly he isn't the worst and doesn't deserve to be treated like scum in any way.

So people... I'm not asking you to like Townsend or forget completely what he has done and bragged about but won't you show a little appreciation for his efforts and obvious acting talent (that have been pointed out for one in my article link) And a little respect for his right to like any role character he feels like liking. I just don't think extreme attitudes ever do any good to anyone or anything. Extreme attitude is blinding. And it surely isn't giving vibes of an intelligent thinking, nor of passion - but rather of obsession. Critisism is another thing. It's point is to look for flaws but a good critic isn't dismissing valid points that are making something less bad or is unwilling to look deeper into the thing because it might make the thing less bad.

*****

I also published this to the Lestat Spot. Part of the accent argument was improved by Myf_1992 at the Lestat Spot post.

This and so much more, on my Lestat & Marius Fan Site:
link