Flowers In The Attic – VC Andrews’ classic coming-of-age horror story – has sold some 100 million copies worldwide and it will get a second film version today on Lifetime.
The 1987 movie was a silly soft-focus mess that did its best to play down the incestuous subject matter that made Andrews’ book so controversial. Lifetime’s new version has tried to stick closer to the book’s darker tones.
The novel, published in 1979, is set in the 1950s and is about four children who are locked up and mistreated in their rich grandparents’ mansion (Ellen Burstyn plays the wicked grandmother) while their conniving mother, Corrine (Heather Graham), tries to win an inheritance. As eldest siblings Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and Christopher (Mason Dye) grow up, they turn to each other for comfort. (You get the drift.)
“I was a huge fan of the book as a teenager, a tweenager,” says screenwriter Kayla Alpert. “We made a conscious decision with Lifetime and the producers to really stick as closely as we could to the original book, and we did not shy away from some of the taboo subjects, as people will see.”
Graham says she never read the book, but notes she did screen the earlier movie after getting the role of Corrine. “There’s cheesiness to it,” says Graham, who has been in films such as Swingers, Boogie Nights and the Hangover movies. “But I think it’s just a powerfully disturbing story even in that version. There’s just something about it, you’re just watching it, and it’s really disturbing.”
Lifetime had enough confidence in the prospects for Flowers In The Attic prior to its release thanks to social media buzz that it announced it was working on a sequel based on Andrews’ novel Petals On The Wind, which takes place 10 years after Flowers In The Attic. “I’ll just say its a very juicy and compelling revenge drama,” says Alpert.
Alpert also praised the actors for being willing to dig into the material. “I feel like we really went for it. We didn’t pull any punches.”
In ads for the show, Burstyn, in particular, looks terrifying. Graham says all the young actors enjoyed being scared by the veteran Oscar-winning actress. “She is really powerful, says Graham, “but when it was over, I think she was really glad to not be that character anymore.” – Daily News/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
> Flowers In The Attic premières tomorrow at 10pm on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709). The sequel, Petals On The Wind premieres Aug 19 at 10pm on the same channel.