How ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’ Will Handle Taboo V.C. Andrews Subject Matter

Lifetime is going back into the attic. Flowers in the Attic, that is. After producing four TV movies based on V.C. Andrews’ taboo novels, Flowers in the Attic: The Origin is the prequel. Based on the book Garden of Shadows, by Andrews’ ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman, The Origin will show how young Olivia Winfield (Jemima Rooper) married into the twisted Foxworth family. 

'Flowers in the Attic: The Origin' stars Alana Boden and Kelsey Grammer sit at the dinner table, and don't avoid V.C. Andrews' taboo themes
Alans Boden and Kelsey Grammer | Lifetime

Expect more taboo themes, the likes of which the Flowers in the Attic series already explored. Flowers in the Attic: The Origin Executive Producers Paul Sciarrotta and Jennie Snyder Urman spoke on a Television Critics Association panel on Feb. 2 about how the new series would handle such themes. Flowers in the Attic: The Origin premieres July 9 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.

Taboo was not the primary focus of ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’

The original novel, Flowers in the Attic, is a doozy. Not only does Olivia ultimately lock children in the attic, but the children grow up and become intimate. While child abuse and incest have been inherent in this franchise from the beginning, Flowers in the Attic: The Origin focuses on Olivia’s marriage to Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons).

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“We didn’t go about it thinking too much about that, to be honest,” Sciarrotta said of the series’ taboo themes. “I knew we had this character.”

Lifetime audiences know what to expect from ‘Flowers in the Attic: The Origin’

Flowers in the Attic: The Origin also comes after four previous movies. Those four didn’t shy away from the source material. Most of the audience for Flowers in the Attic: The Origin have already watched the first four, so they shouldn’t be surprised by the dark and twisted themes at this point. 

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“Lifetime has such a breadth and wealth of experience telling such a large sort of swatch of women’s stories and specifically V.C. Andrews,” Urman said. “You understand when you’re coming in. And so I think part of it is really that this is the right place for it, the Lifetime audience, although a lot of, I think, are familiar with V.C. Andrews’ work, and then for the others that aren’t, they’re going to understand why this is a Lifetime limited event. And I think that helps as well.”

The V.C. Andrews series so far

The first four books and movies in the series were Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday. Olivia is in the first two, played by Ellen Burstyn in the Lifetime movies. 

In Garden of Shadows and Flowers in the Attic: The Origin, young Olivia marries Malcolm. While living at Foxworth Hall, Olivia discovers the obsession, abuse and manipulation in the Foxworth family. Malcolm remains obsessed with his own mother, and if the series goes there like the other movies did, the book presents some doozies. 

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