The Lifetime series Flowers in the Attic: The Origin shows how Olivia Foxworth (Jemima Rooper) became the villain of the first two books and TV movies. It has a lot to do with her marriage to Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons). When The Origin begins, Olivia is a more innocent character about to be corrupted.
Irons was on a Television Critics Association panel on Feb. 2. He wanted his co-stars and the world at large to know he’s only acting when he plays Malcolm. Irons is really a nice guy in real life. Flowers in the Attic: The Origin airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’ is based on a prequel book
After V.C. Andrews died, her ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman wrote Garden of Shadows. The prequel followed Andrews’ first four books in the Dollanganger series. Lifetime adapted those four books as TV movies, so it followed that they produce the prequel. Irons can at least rest assured that all his Flowers in the Attic: The Origin misdeeds have precedent in the book.
Both Garden of Shadows and Flowers in the Attic: The Origin depict Malcolm and Olivia’s courtship. When Olivia moves into Foxworth Hall with Malcolm, she discovers his family’s dark secrets. The book covered years 1918 – 1957, and in success the series could take Olivia that far too.
Malcolm Foxworth actor Max Irons apologized to ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’ co-stars
Flowers in the Attic: The Origin also stars Alana Boden, Hannah Dodd and T’Shan Williams. They, along with Rooper’s characters, Alicia (Boden), Corinne (Dodd), Nella (Williams) bear the brunt of Malcolm’s hostility.
“Evil is fun to play sometimes, although I did — with Alana, Hannah, T’Shan, and Jemima — all four of you — I felt the need to kind of, when we finish a scene go, ‘By the way, I don’t think any of those things I just said,’” Irons said. “Or ‘I’m not a horrible, psychopathic pervert.’ But it is quite fun to play.”
Malcolm Foxworth isn’t all evil
The Foxworth family eventually commits great evils against their extended family. As a grandmother, Olivia locks her grandchildren in the attic where she poisons them. Irons went so far as to call Malcolm a monster, but Flowers in the Attic: The Origin shows the complexity that made him one.
“I mean, not necessarily insight, but I think to label a person ‘evil’ is a bit of a blunt term,” Irons said. “There’s always circumstances and reasons why a person has turned out the way they have and they’re very interesting. And certainly it was vital for me to make sense of Malcolm to find what those things were and find the sort of logical emotional progression of those formative years in him and what led him to be the way he is.”