‘Flowers In The Attic’ Gets A Shot At Television

Flowers In The Attic will go down in the annals of film as one of the most successful novels to get a crappy movie treatment, but now Lifetime hopes to change that with a TV movie update to the classic V.C. Andrews shocker.

Deadline reported on Tuesday that Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham have signed on in the roles of the grandmother and Corrine, respectively.

Additional casting has not been announced at this time, but with two of the grown-up roles now locked in place, it’s pretty much a given that Lifetime is on the hunt for younger actors to fill the four lead child and teenager slots.

Flowers In The Attic was not an easy project for the big screen in 1987, and it won’t be now. Themes of child abuse and incest permeate the mystery, which centers on four children, who end up in the care of their grandparents, only to be locked in an attic and subjected to what amounts to mental and physical torture.

The original version starred one-time Mrs. Steve Martin Victoria Tennant as Corrine and Louise Fletcher as the grandmother. Kristy Swanson (Psych, the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Jeb Stuart Adams were the unlucky brother and sister “coming of age” while locked away from the world.

The book was the first in V.C. Andrews’ so-called Dollanganger series, which also included Petals On The Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds Of Yesterday, and Garden Of Shadows.

Of course, none of those books ever received the film treatment because of the drubbing the 1987 version took from critics and the indifference from many moviegoers.

The film played to American audiences only and managed to eke out a little more than $15 million at the box office, according to IMDb. Here’s a trailer for the original:

While it’s hard to imagine the movie lost money — or lost much money — in 1987, its performance was hardly indicative of book sales. And to give the movie a break, it was rather difficult bringing some of the book’s scenes to theaters without giving half the audience heart attacks.

Still, the relatively “tame” medium of Lifetime may result in yet another watered-down version. And given the network’s recent history with Liz & Dick, you V.C. Andrews fans have good reason to be worried.

Do you think the Lifetime network has what it takes to make Flowers In The Attic a TV success?