Attention V.C. Andrews purists! The new adaptation of cult favorite Flowers in the Attic — starring Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka, Heather Graham, and Ellen Burstyn — will be airing on Lifetime on January 18, 2014.
For at least one generation of readers, Andrews’ 1979 book Flowers in the Attic was the Twilight or Hunger Games of its day, passed around at slumber parties and summer camp (this classic cover is imprinted on some of our brains for all eternity) and selling more than 40 million copies worldwide.
A 1987 film that starred Kristy Swanson, Victoria Tennant, and Louise Fletcher disappointed fans (but delighted lovers of camp) by deviating from some of the deviant behavior in the original text (decades-old-spoiler alert!): In order to inherit a fortune, a mother locks away her four children in an attic for over two years, leaving them to endure horrific abuse at the hands of their sadistic grandmother. But that’s not all! During their imprisonment, elder siblings Cathy and Chris develop romantic feelings for each other — and eventually have a sexual relationship. The new Lifetime film promises to go there. Yes, there. “The script is faithful to the book,” says director Deborah Chow. Or, to put it more bluntly: “Will there be incest? Yes,” says Mason Dye, who plays elder brother Chris. “We stay very true to the book.”
We’ll have to wait till January to see just how dark this thing gets, but Ellen Burstyn, for one, says she was surprised at how exhausting it is to play a woman as evil as her character. “I’ve been completely drained by the end of the day,” the Oscar winner says. “I’ve been sleeping 11 hours a day. My psyche must be trying to clear it.”
Luckily for Kiernan Shipka, playing Cathy — the main protagonist — has been less taxing. “When it comes down to it, everything is just acting,” she says. “It’s not my real life, it’s not happening to me. I can separate the two so it doesn’t leak in.”
Watch the teaser trailer below:
For more on Flowers in the Attic, including more exclusive photos and interviews from the set, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.