‘Flowers in the Attic’ Producer Talks Sequel: ‘Petals on the Wind’ Is a ‘Revenge Story’

'Flowers in the Attic' Producer Talks Sequel: 'Petals on the Wind' Is a 'Revenge Story'

James Dittiger/Lifetime

Michele Weiss tells TheWrap about adapting the V.C. Andrews novels for Lifetime

Without knowing how well it would do, Lifetime recently announced that it's already developing the sequel to its movie based on the V.C. Andrews novel, “Flowers in the Attic,” premiering Saturday at 8/7c.

Executive producer Michele Weiss says that the sequel, based on Andrews’ novel “Petals on the Wind,” presented a whole set of challenges that they didn't have on the first installment.

“What's great about adapting ‘Flowers’ is that it's so contained,” Weiss told TheWrap. “It really lends itself to an adaptation that way.”

“With ‘Petals,’ it's kind of more out in the world,” she continued. “There's a lot of storylines, it takes place over a longer period of time. So, one of the challenges for us is to contain that story in a contained timeframe and I think we've figured out how to do it. It's going to be a revenge story. It's going to be Cathy and Christopher 10 years older, trying to get along with their lives, also caught up in feelings of resentment and revenge on Corinne.”

Also read: ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Sequel ‘Petals on the Wind’ Planned at Lifetime

“Petals on the Wind” will be set in the 1970s in the South. Weiss hopes that the older actors in “Flowers” can return, but says Kiernan Shipka and Mason Dye are too young to for the roles of Cathy and Christopher, respectively.

“Flowers in the Attic” stars Heather Graham as Corrine, who returns to her parents’ home with her four children after her husband dies tragically. The children are then forced to answer to their mother's sins at the hands of their grandmother (Ellen Burstyn). Locked in the attic of the huge manor home, the children reenact their mother's sins as they try to cope with the cruelty of their imprisonment.

TheWrap: What was it like revisiting “Flowers in the Attic” to make the movie?
Michele Weiss: It's one of the few books that I remember from being a teenager. It was one of the few books that everyone passed around. And I hadn't had the experience before this of looking back on a book like that. I have kids now, so I'm looking at it from a totally different point of view and it holds up in almost a more poignant way.

See video: Lifetime's ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Extended Trailer Redefines Bromance

As a teenager, I experienced the book like Cathy. But as a parent, you can see the really dark underside of it. There's a lot of abuse going on here. There's a lot of fun in the book, as well, but you can sort of see the reality of it.

So, for me, it was fun to revisit and kind of chilling. The way we wanted to approach the movie was the same way you read the book; you're both compelled, but you also know this is a horrible train wreck.

When it comes to the incest, when you read the book you realize these people are in a desperate situation and they're helping each other. You're glad they're there for each other. You kind of have that feeling in the movie. You're conflicted – as twisted and weird as that is.

How did you approach casting the older children knowing what they would have to portray?
We really lucked out with Kiernan and Mason. With Kiernan, we had the confidence of knowing the difficult subject matter she dealt with on ‘Mad Men’ starting when she was six years old. She could handle that, embrace it and give it depth. And Mason was a total find and they have great chemistry together. Their relationship feels real. It feels real at the beginning when they're regular ol’ brother and sister, fighting with each other, and as they go through this crazy ordeal together.

Also read: Lifetime Developing TV Movie From Brian Stelter's ‘Top of the Morning’

For us, it was important to cast people who were age-appropriate. In the first film, those actors felt like adults. We felt for this to work you have to understand that these are kids relying on their parents and they're being betrayed. So, I feel like Kiernan and Mason feel like kids.

How true to the book did you stay and what changes were made for television?
I would say that we stay incredibly true to the book. There are some things that are added to dramatize, because this is a visual medium and not a book. There are trims that we had to make for time. It has to be condensed into 91 minutes. But, in terms of the spirit of the book and the main plot points of the story, we remained very true to the book.

  • Jennifer Thompson

    I would love to see a movie for every book in that series including the last book which is the prequel to Flowers in the Attic. It focuses on Corrine growing up. This series is by far one of my favorites ever so you should continue with the movie's if the first two do good.

    • Phyllis Tietz

      I agree! :) I remember the books when I was in HS (I'm 51) & still have the VHSs. I LOVED the Lifetime movie last night & can't wait for the sequel! :) I'm still waiting for the 3rd in the Amish girl series!

      • Jersey

        Which one was that? I think I am too. Is that the one where the girl finds out her parents are not her parents and her mom is rich and dying?

  • Orion

    Totally looking forward to petals

  • Jessica

    Have to say, this version was thousands times better than the original movie. And after seeing that years ago, I was a little skeptical, but then you blew me away with this! I really can't wait for the sequel, and an hoping that there will be more of these made, Ms. Andrews willing!

    • Amanda

      She's passed away now though, she has a ghost writer

    • Galadriel Thoman

      She's passed away 28 years ago. Very few of the books with her name on it were either written by her or even imagined by her.

  • TDILL

    I saw this movie last night and Loved it!!I hope that she continues with all the remainin books because I believe there are 4 parts..and Petals in the Wind in really in dept and 91 minutes is not gonna cover everything.I read all the series in high school and was hooked…its dark,and twisted and now that im 29 and seeing this remake of this movie it was pretty good.Now i do have the dvd of Flowers in the attic with Kristy Swanson and I love that movie as well..good job

    • UnbowedUnbentUnbroken

      5.

  • Jersey

    Recast Mason and Kiernan are they kidding with that? Whomever made that decision they are dead wrong. Those two actors made the movie how can they not keep them for the sequel? Aging and actor is easy it's making an older actor look younger that is hard. Go talk to the studio that made Back to the Future, that movie is proof that it can be done convincingly. I loved the remake and I loved that it was more true to the book than the 1987 watered down version, but I honestly believe they need to keep Christopher and Cathy the same or it isn't going to work.

    • Tiffany

      If you ever read the books they start off as young teenagers and in the 5th book Cathy is a old woman in her 60's you would have to recast somewhere. But if there going to age them 10 years then that already is not the book petals in the wind. but the next book. because that book picks right up at when they leave foxworth hall and head south. Why does Hollywood always screw things up. Don't rewrite it just make it from the book, word for word the writing is don just make it a movie.

      • Jersey

        I read them forever ago and I do remember they end up much older but I think they should at least keep these two actors for the second movie and then recast when absolutely necessary. And yes Hollywood always managed to screw things up!

  • Kate

    I just didn't like that she romanticized the incest. It wasn't pillow talk and kissing in the bathroom. Chris practically raped Cathy and it was only once in the attic. It was horrible for both of them and she made it like a love story. Which made it all the weirder. Cause you could understand in the book. But this movie and the “romance” is not cool

    • Heather

      I understand completely and i get your concerns with it but … the incest is a big part of the story and a continuing part of Chris and Cathy's journey throughout the entire series. Cathy and Chris end up together as ‘husband’ and wife, raising Cathy's two sons and their adopted.daughter as their own. It is all very tragic and bittersweet and reading all the horrific details inside the books made it easier with a reader's mixed emotions to be able to relate to them both, understand, and sympathize with their morally controversial relationship, even with the rape of Cathy by Chris as the initial foundation that broke their forbidden sibling romance wide open. If they plan to continue with all the sequels, I am not sure if presenting the viewer with an act of forcible rape in order to introduce the idea of Chris and Cathy would have worked. Given the lack of time, only 90 minutes to condense what they could, and not enough vivid detail into all the real horror they experienced during their nightmare in the attic, I do not think the viewer would really get the entire subtext to Chris and Cathy like the reader does. In otherwords, it is likely viewers would not be able to see anything more past Chris than the tragic rape, while readers can. That just wouldn't work well for the sucess of the series, unfortunately, even if it does not accurately portray what was because Chris, Cathy, and their relationshio are a big crux to the story. Therefore, I suspect they went a bit lighter in the approach by making it out to be confusing and consentual from the start between them. We shall see. I am weary about this time jump talk for the sequel, though.

  • Suzanne Settle

    Loved it better than the first one……give us more by v.c. andrews shes a legend

  • D

    The lifetime movie was great, very absorbing! The cast was superb as well. The fact that they made the grandmother a little more human was great… In the 1987 movie she was a one dimensional caricature that got unintentional laughs from the audience! Looking forward to the sequel and hopefully more later…

  • Shawna

    They say the next movie is going to take place ten years later? Does anyone else feel that this is a strong injustice to the second book, which actually continues from the end of the first? If they do make it later on in the children's lives, why wouldn't they just title it after the third book “If There Be Thorns”?! Also, if they skip all that time how are they going to incorporate all the information that fits in there? You know, just wondering.

    • ren

      I think its because the actors who play chris and cathy are too young to do the whole book. they can pass for when the two just get out of the attic but then cathy goes on to marry Julian, has Jory then has her reveanger affair with bart winslow and doesnt she also marry Paul the docter who takes them in? as awsome as Kierenan was on flowers she is way to young to do all that. therefor they have to do a time skip to justift cathy as a different actress

  • Tiffany

    I have always been a fan of the books. I have read all 5 many times. I was so excited about this this remake because I heard it was going to follow the books compared to the movie in the 80's.
    Very disappointed. When is Hollywood going to do the books Justice. Even the house was disappointing & the Swan Bed. Come on Hollywood. Did you even read the books. this is suppose to be the most Glamorous House you ever imagined. East, west, south wings. Entrance way to die for & huge ballroom that Cathy & Chris Watch the Party that was suppose to be a Engagement Party. The Swan Bed was suppose to be a bed hand carved into he shape of a beautiful Swan. That bed was a joke. I like Heather Graham but she is not the one for this Part. Corrine is suppose to be divinely beautiful & stunning, self centered & selfish. Heather is beautiful but not the beauty VC Andrews describe in the books. I didn't see any passion from her in this role. Ellen I love her & I know she can play the role of Olivia to the tee but the writers fell short on her role. Olivia was vindictive monster, she was cruel, abusive & sickly religious. Ellen didn't get even a chance to show all that. In the books she beat them and tortured them & life was pure hell in that attic. Please do better next time!

    • Chaplinssmile

      Don't count on it….these movies are “loosely” based on the books. They would have to do a mini series to really “get” the books on film.. and what was the point of changing the ending…again?

  • Tiffany

    My biggest disappointment was I thought this was going to be a new series an they could follow all 5 books. that way it would really tell the story. the fact it was a movie was a huge disappointment. I love these books, and I would love to see it true to form on screen. I didn't care much for the movie in the 80's but Kristy Swanson played Cathy brilliant. She was dramatic and passionate and you felt her pain. They need more of that. Don't sugar coat the Grandmother show her for the evil vindictive monster Malcolm Foxworth turned her into. They show bits and glimpse of Olivia showing remorse and pity. and almost feeling sorry for them. that was not Olivia Foxworth at all. I wanted to see a Oscar winning role from Ellen even if it is lifetime. I know she can do it. But the writers failed.

    • Heather

      I noticed too, that this tv version softened the grandmother, but actually, it pleasantly surprised me and I did not mind as much as i thought i would have. It humanized her a bit, brought out some forshadowing to come for the casual viewer on who Olivia Foxworth used to be: a complex woman with feelings. I think it is possible it was done intentionally for the sake of the last book, the prequel to Flowers, Garden of Shadows. That is more of Olivia's story, who she once was, and how she became hardened into the current version of herself at Foxworth Hall. Although Malcolm plays a big role in that, i think it to be important not to forget John Amos and his role … the overly religious, fanantical influence he bestowed on his cousin Olivia all this when it came down to how she ultimately decided how she would handle the situation with Corrine's children. Even up until the time Corrine showed up with the children, Olivia was conflicted on showing love and affection to the kids.

  • Stepha25

    I love the remake and can't wait to see “Petals in the Winds” !!!!!

  • Jennifer

    I think it would be great if they made a sequel. The books were amazing.

  • Jennifer Rodriguez

    I loved the movie can wait to see the sequel already watched the whole movie 3 times and you should keep Cathy and Christopher the same

  • Margaret

    Heather Graham is beautiful but her character didn't seem passionate & she came across as flighty to me rather than a victim of abuse. I heard the prior movie was scarier but I don't know because I haven't watched it yet. I found Chris & Cathy's incest confusing.

  • Maria Martinez

    I agree, i wish they had made this into a series vs a movie. they could've had at least 5 to 6 seasons with the entire series of the books. i loved this movie more than the original. it stayed truer to the book

    • 3angel5

      I agree with you…They left out a lot and if its hard to fit one of her books in a two hour movie than either do a 2 part movie or a series…It did stay somewhat truer I was happy with over half the scenes but some were not..Cathy did not cut off her hair only the front to fool the grandmother and the swan bed was a joke .. In the original I thought that was a joke but this version made the older version of the bed look glorious..Etc…but if they skip 10 years for the next book it will kill it for me…they should of just made a series and done it right! They would of had alot of faithful viewers

  • Rachel

    As much as I would love to see a film adaptation of this whole series, I strongly feel that it can't be done under these conditions. This version of Flowers in the Attic was good. It had the major plot points and they were strung together smoothly. I give credit and props to that. But i feel that the movie really needed many of the smaller moments that make the story mean something.

    I fear that Petals on the Wind is going to be extremely lacking if they just skip ten years. There is too much important plot to just glaze over. I really feel that if lifetime wants to stay true to the story and give us something to praise, then they should shift this piece into a miniseries. If they take their time and try to give us more of the story then I think they will have a better outcome for the money they are spending to make it.

    So lifetime what do you think? Do you want to spend your budget on a movie that will be ripped to pieces by others critiques because for time you jumped too far in the plot and cut too much, or would you rather spend more and give viewers a beautifully crafted masterpiece that will be watched and loved for a very long time?

    • Lil

      AGREED!

  • 3angel5

    Im glad they are going to make petals in the wind but why jump 10 years the book starts where it left off in flowers….If they jump 10 years it wont be the same…

  • Leah

    Please don't get rid of mason!!!!

  • Mandy

    Lifetime, please try to hire Kim Matula, Hope of The Bold And The Beautiful for adult Cathy. She can look the part (just make her blonde hair a lighter shade) and she's a great actress and is great as the daughter of a beautiful but troubled woman on the show she's on. She'd be perfect for the part, try to hire her!

  • Sugar Plum

    It was a heart-breaking story, especially when Cory died. I wanted to strangle the mother and grandmother. I wish the kids had locked them in the attic instead.