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January 10, 2014

'Flowers in the Attic' Sequel Already a Go at Lifetime

Lifetime's remake of Flowers in the Attic doesn't even premiere until Jan. 18, but the network is so certain this telepic will hit that a sequel, Petals in the Wind, is already in the works.

Juliana J. Bolden
  • Stars Mason Dye, Kiernan Shipka and Heather Graham

  • Ellen Burstyn, Heather Graham

  • Heather Graham

  • Kiernan Shipka

Pasadena, CAAnticipating a huge internet "meltdown" over its made-for-TV remake of Flowers in the Attic—based on the first of V.C. Andrews 5-novel, 1980s cult favorite book series—Lifetime has bullishly greenlit sequel Petals in the Wind, net execs said Thursday at the Television Critics Association's winter press conference.

"I don't want to give away too much," said screenwriter Kayla Alpert, who wrote the Flowers screenplay for Lifetime and is working on the sequel. "It basically takes place about 10 years after the first movie ends and I will just say that it's a very juicy, compelling revenge drama."

Flowers in the Attic revolves around the Dollangangers, a seemingly perfect family torn apart by the unexpected death of the father. The mother, played in this adaption by film/TV star Heather Graham, takes her 4 children to live with her very wealthy parents.

“It’s just a powerfully disturbing story," Graham said of this tale, which deals with such disconcerting subjects and taboos as abuse, incest and abandonment.

Also on hand in Pasadena were Kiernan Shipka, who portrays eldest daughter Cathy (and is also known as the rather complex Sally Draper on Mad Men) and Mason Dye, who portrays elder son Chris. Celebrated actress Ellen Burstyn, who oozes evil as cruel grandmother Olivia Foxworth, was stuck in the blistering cold New York.

Unsurprisingly, Alpert felt a great deal of pressure to get the Flowers script right and get it done for Lifetime. But that pressure largely came from inside her own mind as she sat alone writing, she said, not from outside.

“Lifetime was really great about just kind of leaving me alone and calling me every few weeks and saying, “When are we getting the script?”

She largely stuck to the book in crafting this screenplay – a notion which should delight V.C. Andrews' fervent fanbase – then added a few key plot points to rachet up the tension, provide fans with more back-story.

“The thing that I added that I really loved, especially when Ellen and came on,” she shared, “is that I really tried to add more to that relationship. The grandmother-mother stuff really wasn’t in the book very much."

Alpert aimed to show why Burstyn’s character is so wicked and delve deeper into her interactions with Graham’s.

Largely recognized for her film work, Graham has appeared such television series as Twin PeaksScrubsCalifornication. While she likes working in both the film and TV arenas, television seems to be taking more risks at the moment, she said.

“What used to be the independent films,”  Graham observed, “it seems a lot of those kinds of really creative projects are coming to TV.”

Flowers in the Attic debuts on Lifetime on January 18. Check your local listings. 

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