7 Things You Should Know About Lifetime’s ‘Flowers in the Attic’

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Lifetime is ready to premiere a new original movie, Flowers in the Attic, based on the 1979 novel by V.C. Andrews. Some of the cast including Heather Graham (Corrine), Mason Dye (Christopher),
Kiernan Shipka (Cathy) and screenwriter Kayla Alpert took part in a panel during the Television Critic Association (TCA) Winter press tour and talked about what we could expect form the adaptation.

Below you will find 7 things you should know about the movie that were discussed during the panel.

Reading the Book

Graham shared that she had never read the book before getting the part that one of her best friends is obsessed with it and would quote her all her lines.

Shipka hadn’t heard of the book either before being cast.

Book vs Movie

When asked how identical to the book the movie is, Dye said that “it’s identical” and that it “follows the book verbatim.” Even some of the dialogue is right out of the book.

Alpert explained that she was a huge fan of the book as a teenager and decided with Lifetime and the producers to stay as close to the original book as they could.

Previous Flowers in the Attic Movie

When asked if they had seen the 1987 movie adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, Alpert explained that she had made a “conscious decision, before I launched into writing this script, to not watch it.”

Dye on the other hand did watch the movie right after he got the role of Christopher. He explained, “I just wanted to get an idea of what the story is actually about. And I thought it helped me actually in watching it just to get an idea of the story and get a feel for the darkness of it and stuff.”

As for Shipka, she watched the movie before reading the book and Graham also watched it, but found it a “little more cheesy-funny” than their version.

Adapting The Book

When asked about how she adapted the book into a script, Alpert shared, “I was really lucky with my producers that Lifetime was really supportive of just staying true to the material. So there was a lot of condensing that we had to do. It’s a really kind of long, epic book even though it only takes place over the course of three years. So we had to pick and choose our moments. It’s actually more fun being less explicit. We had to get a little creative. And I think, just like the novel, the teasing out of some of the violence and sexuality, it’s more fun to kind of imply it than to show it. And so I tried to keep it true to that in the screenplay. But it really wasn’t a challenge. Lifetime was so supportive of us really going for it, and the actors were up for all of it, and it was handled really sensitively, I hope, on set and on the page a well. It was actually a really fun process. I mean, it’s really juicy, and it’s really compelling. It’s kind of a writer’s dream and especially because I was such a fan of the book. And it was fun going back and remembering some of those crazy-ass scenes that I had sort of repressed. It was a blast. I feel like we really went for it. We really did not pull any punches.”

Ellen Burstyn

Graham shared that when they finished shooting, Burstyn seemed to be glad to be done, she said “I can’t wait to get out of this character, it’s so disturbing.” Graham also shared that the kids on the film were really excited to be scared by Burstyn’s character. “They were so excited for the scene where she kicks them and pulls their hair. They were just like, “We’re excited for you to scare us,” and she was just laughing.”

Graham added, “I think it was a mixture of her having fun, but when it was over, I think she was really glad to not be that character anymore.”

Shipka also shared, “Working with Ellen is sort of every actor’s dream, and to be able to do such intense scenes with such an accomplished actress, too, was just such a cool experience for me.”

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Time Period

When asked what period the film is set in, Alpert explained that it is a period piece and that it was something they talked about before making the final decision. The reason why they decided to make it a period piece is because they really wanted to stay try to the book.

She shared, “we just felt like it would be too hard to actually have a credible version of this story — if people are on Facebook and Twitter, two teenagers can’t just disappear without people knowing where they are.” She added, “I think also the thing that we were hoping is that there might be sequels, and if we set it in the present, we would suddenly have to start having futuristic world for the sequels to be set in.”


They are currently developing the sequel of Flowers in the Attic, which will be based on the second book, Petals on the Wind.

When asked about it, Alpert said, “It basically takes place about ten years after the first movie ends, and I will just say that it is a very juicy, compelling, revenge drama.”

However, they don’t know if there are any plans to adapt the rest of the series.

Flowers in the Attic premieres tonight, Saturday January 18th at 8pm on Lifetime.

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