‘Flowers in the Attic’ to be remade with Heather Graham: will they finally get it right?

Heather Graham

These days, post-apocalyptic scenarios dominate the young adult book genre, but back in the day (and what seems like centuries ago), I was a huge fan of V.C. Andrews (before the ghostwriting nonsense hit). My favorite book by Andrews was My Sweet Audrina, but I also very much loved the Dollanganger series and read those books so many times they fell apart. Of course, the 1987 Flowers In The Attic movie was my very first experience with a wholly disappointing adaptation. God, that movie was terrible. I get that the subject matter is incredibly controversial in these books, but the film whitewashed the entire Cathy & Chris relationship and almost completely ignored the plight of little Carrie. If I hadn’t read the book ahead of watching the movie, I’d have never understood why the grandmother was acting so freaking weird and then bursting into the children’s chambers to scream, “Sinners!” Plus, they changed the ending, and the movie completely failed to capture any of the spirit of the book. So disappointing.

Twenty-five years later and for whatever reason, the Hollywood powers that be have decided that a new remake is in order. Perhaps because the first film wasn’t financially successful, producers are going the small-screen route and making this a Lifetime movie, which just might target the same women who watched the original movie so long ago. Here’s one promising detail — the mother, Corrine, will be played by Heather Graham! I’m a little bit excited by this news even though I fear this remake won’t be much better than the original:

Heather Graham

V.C. Andrews’ controversial bestselling book, Flowers in the Attic, is getting a TV movie adaptation at Lifetime. The cable network has greenlighted the film, which will star Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn. Flowers In The Attic weaves the gothic tale of four young siblings, two boys and two girls, who, after the tragic death of their father, are torn from an idyllic life and subjected to cruel emotional and physical abuse resulting from a dark, long-hidden family secret. Abandoned by their mother, Corrine (Graham), and forced to endure unimaginable treatment living in the attic of their grandparents’ mansion, the children form a family unit of their own. But as the oldest boy and girl come of age both emotionally and physically while caring for their younger brother and sister, their family’s sordid past entraps them further as they try to survive and escape from the harsh conditions in which they live. Burstyn (Political Animals) will portray the children’s grandmother, Olivia. In the 1987 feature adaptation of Flowers In The Attic, which was not well received, Corrine was played by Victoria Tennant, Olivia by Louise Fletcher. Andrews’ Flowers In The Attic became the first book in the Dollanganger Series, and was followed by Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows.

[From Deadline}

In a physical sense, Heather Graham seems like the perfect embodiment (both age and beauty-wise) of Corrine. I don't quite know how Lifetime will choose to deal with the unavoidable incest themes of the book, but I guess we'll see what happens. Ellen Burstyn seems like a good choice for the grandmother, Olivia, and hopefully, that character will be less nebulous than she was in the original movie.

Speaking of dubious remakes, Rosemarie DeWitt has just been announced as the lead in the new Poltergeist reboot. They're .... baaack.

Ellen Burstyn

Heather Graham

Heather Graham

Ellen Burstyn

Photos courtesy of WENN

 

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101 Responses to “‘Flowers in the Attic’ to be remade with Heather Graham: will they finally get it right?”

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  1. Anna says:

    Omg please do ruined this film, i read the book and saw the original film and it a beloved story in my family, i just remember bawling my eyes out when i saw the film. I don’t think heather graham is a good choice at all.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Strangely enough, I’ve never seen the original film.

      I absolutely LOVED VC Andrews when I was growing up though, Flowers In The Attic was always particularly haunting.

      • velourauzre says:

        This is a tangent, but Heather used to date Adam Ant and Adam is currently touring the US: http://www.laweekly.com/slideshow/adam-ant-at-club-nokia-40025281/21/

      • I Choose Me says:

        Oh man, VC Andrews. I used to live for those books back in the day after getting bored with the Hardy Boys and Sweet Valley High. Read all the Dollanganger series but I can recall several of her books leaving me a sobbing, emotional wreck. There was one particular story where the beleaguered young heroine had recently begun living at a Southern Style Plantation House with her effed up relations after her mother died and she was going to run away with this really sweet boy who was her first love. He used to climb the roof to come see her then lo and behold on the night before they were going to runaway together he falls off the roof and breaks his neck. Only she doesn’t know till much later and is broken hearted wondering why he doesn’t come. I swear I sobbed so hard at that point in the book my mom thought I was losing it.

        Does anyone remember the name of that story? Anyone at all?

      • Lauraq says:

        I Choose Me-I think I remember the one you’re talking about! Where she was taken in by a different family where the mom was obsessed with her not giving away her ‘treasure’…why can’t I remember? I almost thought it was Heaven, but no…

  2. Carolyn says:

    Whaaat? Flowers in the Attic & Poltergeist remakes? All sorts of wrong.

    Why oh why can’t they just leave things alone?

  3. Lindy says:

    Wow, Ellen Burstyn looks great. I want to age like that!

  4. tracking says:

    The story is too delicate and would require the utmost finesse to translate to film. Bad idea. I like HG well enough, but she does not have the range or internal brittleness/fragility/vanity Corinne requires.

  5. Lucybelle says:

    Ohhhhh this should be interesting. You can’t get much worse than the first movie, and I think Ellen Burstyn will be great. She was perfection in Requium For A Dream.
    I loved My Sweet Audrina too! I used to love all the VC Andrews until they all started being the same story with slightly different minor details.

  6. Esmom says:

    I was a huge fan of the books — I wore my copies out too — and didn’t even realize they’d made a movie. They must have fallen off my radar by then.

    Agree that the casting for the remake seems spot on. I can just picture grandmother restrained with her thinning hair while Corrine contemplates torture. Eek.

  7. NerdMomma says:

    That first adaptation was a disaster. This needs to be an R-rated film, and I’m sad to hear it’ll be a Lifetime flick because I don’t think they’ll be able to do it right. HBO would do it well! Anyway, Heather Graham is a great choice for Corrine. Depends on who Cathy and Chris will be as to whether I shall bother watching the movie.

  8. matia says:

    Game of thrones kind of made incest ok for primetime so maybe they won’t avoid it

  9. Heather says:

    Yay! I hope they get it right because the first movie was horrid! Oh, and like you… My Sweet Audrina was my absolute favorite V.C. Andrews book. I still have my original copy of that and all of my Flowers in the Attic series. Of course most are in tatters.

  10. Turtle Dove says:

    A couple weeks ago I was think about all the books I used to read in early high-school, and the VC Andrews were at the top of the list. I used to love John Saul too in ninth grade.

    Wow. Nostalgia. I want to be 14 again and curled up in my bedroom with a good book.

    • Aussie girl says:

      I know!!!! This brings back memory’s of been a teenager too

    • littlestar says:

      Loved VC Andrews growing up too. It used to be a war in the high school I went to to take her books out of the library. The librarian had to set up an actual waiting list to take her books out, they were so popular at the time! Lol! I also used to love Christopher Pike to death as a kid. I’ve actually been rereading some of his stuff as an adult, and enjoy his books just as much now. His books/themes were pretty adult too. It’s crazy to think mindless nonsense like Twilight became so popular.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        littlestar, you should’ve seen how my school library EXPLODED after the first Twilight came out. I mean, it was bad. We have an interlibrary loaning thing going on-EVERY SINGLE TWILIGHT SERIES BOOK WAS ON A WAITING LIST-on over twenty libraries across our own little corner of the state.

        I remember a few girls were so MAD when it first got popular. Because we’d had Stephanie Meyer’s books in the library ever since they came out, but only a few people actually read them and liked them. Those girls were so mad that it became such a fad. I actually went to a Twilight party-all we did was watch the movie and eat a bunch of chocolate and other crap, but still.

        Twilight is actually the only one I actually think is entertaining-by the time New Moon came out, I was so OVER the entire series.

    • Happy21 says:

      I have read John Saul since ninth grade and still have read everything he’s written. I don’t enjoy it as much but I read them for something different than my usual. That being said, it’s been four years or so since he’s published anything…

    • Danskins says:

      +1…those were the halcyon high school days…there was nothing better than being curled up in my room on a slow afternoon with the latest Sweet Valley High installment, Flowers in the Attic, Go Ask Alice, anything by Judy Blume or Jackie Collins lol, etc.

      Such fun times. ;)

    • Kath says:

      In retrospect those books seem all kinds of messed up. Being raped by your brother only to fall ‘in love’ with him later on. WTF?

      I probably read the series when I was 12-13. Were they intended as ‘young adult’ fiction, I wonder?

      Why are books aimed at young teenagers so bleak/disturbingly themed? Don’t we have the rest of our lives to realise that the world can be a horrible place?

  11. Nashville Girl says:

    I loved those books. Now I just want to read them again.

  12. Buckwild says:

    I loved this book back in the day! Truly disturbing. My Sweet Audrina was a true piece of mindf*ck dysfunction

  13. mzizkrizten says:

    I LOVED ‘My Sweet Audrina’… although I doubt it was appropriate 10 year old reading material! Someone should make THAT into a movie. A remake of Flowers in the Attic could be cool. I hope they do it justice. On a side note, my grandpa always tried to convince me there was a sequel to the book, called Weeds in the Basement.

  14. neelyo says:

    These books were trash and the film adaptation was pure camp. If this film is nothing short of hilarious I’ll be very disappointed.

  15. Louisa says:

    There’s a blast from the past! Flowers in the Attic was the Forty Shades of Grey of it’s time in that EVERYONE was reading it!!
    Agree with what’s been said – the film version was a total disaster so I believe this remake can only be better.
    Pity it’s not HBO or Showtime making it though – they wouldn’t be afraid to ‘go there’ with the subject matter.

  16. Quinn says:

    Whenever a discussion comes up regarding how kids are more sheltered today vs in the 70s and 80s, I always think of my 11year old self reading VC Andrews. True gothic horror at its twisted best!! I’ll watch that movie even if it sucks, purely for nostalgia.

    • TG says:

      @Quinn – you are so right. God that was sick stuff back then but I loved those books. I too was a young tween/teen. Not sure I could handle reading them now, but this talk is making me nostalgic and I will watch the movie for sure. I agree with others though about too bad it isn’t on HBO because you know it would be awesome then.

  17. dcypher1 says:

    I love vc Andrews books. My mom had a bunch from when she was younger and I pick it up and started reading flowers in the attic and I couldn’t put it down. So I read her entire vc Andrews book collection I was hooked on those book really bad I couldn’t put them down. Her books are like a really messed up soap opera with a touch of horror. I think I read all her books.

  18. hadleyb says:

    This would be better as a HBO movie or 3 /4 part series on HBO or Showtime. Not Lifetime!

    Even FX or AMC would of been better than Lifetime.

    Sad.

  19. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I think it’s awesome how many people here have read the books. Whenever I mention VC Andrews to my friends, they never have any idea what I’m talking about.

    I would love to see an edgy director take on this film..Refn or even Fincher or Cronenberg, but I have a feeling these guys are all “above” this film. As far as casting, I wouldn’t chose a group of unknowns before Heather Graham.

  20. mkyarwood says:

    This COULD be awesome, but I’ll even if the adaptation was crap, the casting was spot on with Louise Fletcher. Ellen is not much younger than her… maybe they could just bring her back so she can revisit the role?

  21. Vanessa says:

    I loved the books and the movie was begging to be remade. The first one was horrible. I agree with all the comments about HBO or Showtime doing a mini-series. That would be so perfect, if they got the casting right. I think Ellen is an excellent choice for Olivia.

  22. AB says:

    I know that I’m in the minority here, but I loved that movie! I watched it all the time growing up. I didn’t know it was a book, but now I think I’m going to look into reading the book. Also, I hate remakes, these movie producing people just need to leave old movies alone! The original vision is always the best.

  23. Mr. Stinky FishFace says:

    I’ve always wanted them to do a version of the Casteel series. It was by far my favorite (followed closely by FITA)!

  24. RobN says:

    Doesn’t Heather Graham seem way too young to be the mother? Aren’t the older two kids in the 10 and 12 range when it starts? It’s been a long time and I can’t quite remember.

    And what is with her eyes in that first picture? That is positively frightening.

  25. ALG says:

    Heather and Ellen are perfect casting tbh. I’m interested in who they choose for Cathy.

  26. BeesKnees says:

    I loved the books, I even read the ghostwritten ones. I have very little faith that Lifetime will make a better adaptation though. HBO would have been a better fit (all I can think about when I hear Lifetime is Liz and Dick and the Drew Peterson movie starring Rob Lowe, basic cable TV movies are not what they used to be!)

  27. Hannah says:

    Loved Virgina Andrews. My mum didn’t warn me though about her books so there was much sobbing. I can’t remember what the series was called that I loved but it was 4 separate stories about girls who got really f’ed over by adoptive parents and then the final book they all band together…or something. I remember crying…a lot!

  28. skuddles says:

    I read many of the VC Andrews books too and the Flowers in the Attic series was my favorite, followed by the Heaven series. Hopefully they can pull this movie off – so far the casting sounds decent. But the incest thing is a doozey…. how do you put that on film and not have it appear completely skeevy? It will be interesting to see how they deal with the more delicate aspects of the story.

  29. Pixelww says:

    OMG, I just had a head rush of memories. I remember reading and reading the whole “Flowers” series and My Sweet Adrina. Talk about freaky blast from the past.

    And no, I don’t think the TV movie will be all that. It would have to be over several nights, like the rest of those 1980s tv movies. Hello: Thorn Birds.

  30. Cora says:

    Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There be Thorns …
    Dear God, it’s been thirty years since I read that series and I remember those books like it was yesterday. To this day, I don’t think my mother knows what they were about. Ha! I should tell her, it’ll give her a good laugh now!

  31. Arthur says:

    Flowers in the Attic is garbage literature. I am disappointed anyone would waste time/money making this into a film.
    Ellen Burstyn looks beautiful!

  32. bettyrose says:

    Agreed that My Sweet Audrina was the best V C Andrews because it was a total mindf$&!k. My favorite series was the Heaven one, but I think Flowers has the best potential for a great movie. They could be a lot more risque with it now. HBO could really do it justice.

  33. Emily C. says:

    Get it right — like actually show it when her brother rapes her? And then show how they get “married” in later books?

    I loved the V.C. Andrews books when I was around 13, because they were about sex sex sex and they were the only books I knew of that were. But I do not think they are at all viable for mainstream films. They are all incest, all the time.

  34. Kelly says:

    Cool Heather Graham!! Love her!!

  35. CassT says:

    Heather Graham is GORGEOUS and definitely has the “look” of the Dollinger family described in the book. Big blue eyes, blond hair, porcelain skin.

    However, although Heather is over 40, she still looks too young to play the role of the mother.

  36. Isa says:

    I only read flowers in the attic. Obviously I need to read my sweet audrina!

  37. Isabelle says:

    Flowers in the Attic wasn’t such a bad film the first time. They can’t possibly make it any worse. Flowers was the first book I hid from my parents. Trashtastic and you’ll never forget them once you’ve read them. Can’t wait to see what they will do with it. Maybe they will do the whole series? A girl can only hope.

  38. JillyRo says:

    What a past flashback for me seeing V.C. Andrews article here!!! SO happy so many loved them too! I graduated from Little House on Prairie books to Nancy Drew and then FITA and I felt VERY RISQUE at 13 reading it, my first “adult” type of story LOL, I LOVED that series and went on to read ALL of V.C`s books. My Mother really had a clue what FITA was about, she was just glad I still loved reading at 13!!
    I had EVERY V.C Andrew book and I used to lovingly place them in order on my bedroom`s bookcase with pride. Thank CB, REALLY brought back my teen years reading this!!!!!!

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I may have to check the books out, if people are saying that they’re good. My grandma has them, and the covers always looked freaky-I don’t like scary stories, the only thing I read that Stephen King wrote was “Different Seasons” i.e. Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption”.

      My version of risqué is reading Kathleen E. Woodiwiss…I’ve read The Flame and the Flower, The Elusive Flame, A Season Beyond a Kiss, The Wolf and the Dove, A Rose in Winter-which is actually the first romance novel I read at thirteen-my favorite!, and So Worthy My Love.

      I love her writing….whenever I try to read other romance novels the writing is awful….there is no poetry nor intelligence in the words…I do think Kathleen tended to get a little repetitive with the use of “orbs”-to describe breasts and eyes-but overall I think she was amazing. I’m reading “Ashes in the Wind” right now…proving to be interesting.

      I love to geek out about books, especially romance ones-I can’t do that with a lot of people. No one’s interested.

  39. DaphneS says:

    Another VC Andrews fan here. “My Sweet Audrina” was my favorite, too.

    The “Flowers” movie was terrible, so I’d like to see a good version if they have to make it at all.

    Heather Graham makes me twitchy because all I can think is how awful she was in “From Hell”. Ellen Burstyn rocks, though, so I’m cautiously optimistic, but they HAVE to cast the children correctly!!

  40. CassT says:

    V.C. Andrews books were good, but when she died they continued printing books under her name, written by ghost writers. Those books were mostly awful.

  41. F5 says:

    WOW, Ellen Burstyn is gorgeous.

  42. ParisPucker says:

    homegirl has aged quite nicely…glad she’s still out there working. Roller girl rolls on!

  43. Thiajoka says:

    This is all I have to say about it: “Damn you to hell, Corinne Foxworth!!!”

  44. Jennabean says:

    @ I chose me I don’t remember the title but its the grandmothers story in the dawn series

  45. Pyed says:

    @I choose me

    The name of that book was “Darkest Hour” it was the last of the “Dawn” series. When I read your comment I had to go searching til I found it. Boy does this bring back memories! ;D

  46. Mia says:

    My friends and I used to pass around V.C. Andrews books in middle school. Way better then Twilight. Anyway, I don’t have the high hopes for a Lifetime adaption of the film. The themes still seem pretty controversial to not be whitewashed by them.

  47. Lola says:

    I’ve loved V.C. Andrews books for years! I couldn’t stop reading them as a teen. I just hope this remake will be better than the horrible first film.

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