Those eager to see Lifetime’s adaptation of VC Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic should mark their calendars for January 18, as that’s when the cable channel has scheduled the TV movie. Along with this news comes the above photo, which shows us the Dresden dolls in all their glory. Well, maybe not so much glory, as the Buttercups are looking pretty wiped out, while Chris (Mason Dye) and Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) are looking concerned. Let’s just hope the Grandmother doesn’t catch them like that. She has rules about boys and girls in bed together.
Flowers in the Attic is set in the 50s and centers on four siblings whose father recently died, and whose mother Corinne then brings them back to her parents’ wealthy estate. In an effort to win her way back into her dying father’s heart (and will), Corinne and her mother (aka The Grandmother) lock the four kids in northern wing of the huge house, to keep them a secret from the wealthy and judgmental grandfather. EW shared the photo, along with the TV movie’s premiere date and some details about the adaptation.
One of the things that plays pretty heavily in the book, but was glossed over almost entirely in the 1987 feature adaptation starring Kristy Swanson, was the romantic relationship that develops between Chris and Cathy while they’re locked away in that room. It’s actually one of the sadder elements of the book, as these two characters cling to one another while they try to grow up, care for their younger twin siblings, and suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of their mother and grandmother. As taboo as it may have been, to leave it out is to miss a pretty major point of the story. And that’s just one infraction the original film committed. Changing the ending was another. But it sounds like Lifetime’s adaptation is going to stick a bit closer to the source material, as director Deborah Chow tells EW, “The script is faithful to the book.” She goes on to confirm that the incest will be there.
And as we can see in the photo, Shipka’s gone blonde for the part. I’m not usually one to obsess over hair when it comes to book characters in big or small screen adaptations, but in this case, the Dollanganger kids need to be blonde. And Shipka’s certainly pulling it off. I can’t wait to see her as the strong and occasionally willful (or vengeful) Cathy. I’m also holding onto the vague hope that Lifetime might consider spinning the story off to a series focusing on the post-Attic story. Petals on the Wind covers enough years to play for at least a season or two.
With January 18 a couple of months away, there’s still time to read (or reread) the book. And Netflix has the 1987 film available streaming, but if you’ve read the book, you know that the film barely holds a candle to Andrews’ novel. Hopefully the same won’t be the case with the TV movie.