Lifetime Reimagines V.C. Andrews’ iconic ‘Flowers in the Attic’

Flowers in the Attic weaves the twisted story of the Dollanganger kids who, after the unexpected death of their father, are convinced by their mother to stay hidden in the attic of their wealthy grandparents’ mansion so she can reclaim the family fortune.  But as her visits begin to wane after she becomes involved with a new husband, the children endure unimaginable treatment at the hands of their ruthless grandmother.  As years go by and the eldest children come of age, both emotionally and physically, their family’s sordid past entraps them further as they look to each other for comfort.
Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham in Flowers in the Attic
Based on V.C. Andrews’ 1979 best-selling controversial book that quickly became a cult classic, the Lifetime Original Movie adaptation of Flowers in the Attic delves deeper into the original novel, including the troubling love story between the two eldest children. This gothic tale is simultaneously less explicit than the book and more explicit than the 1987 TV movie adaptation.

The film, which premieres Saturday, January 18 at 8pm ET, stars Heather Graham (Drugstore Cowboy), Academy Award®, Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winner Ellen Burstyn (Political Animals), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and Mason Dye (Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader). The sequel, Petals on the Wind is already rumored to be in the works.

19 year old Oklahoma native Mason Dye steps into the role of “Christopher,” the eldest of the the Dollanganger children, who becomes enthralled in an incestuous relationship with his sister(Shipka). chatted with Dye to discuss how he landed the role, what it took to step into such a dark role and what it was like on set. What made you want to play this character?
Mason Dye: Auditioning, I had never heard anything about the original –  as carazy as that is. My parents knew about it and filled me in. Then, I Googled it and watched the original film. Once I got the script, I realized I better sit down and read the book. And once I read the book, that’s when it really hit me that I wanted to get the role of “Christopher.” It made me really excited about it, too, because the story is so powerful. And “Christopher” was such a great role to play. He’s very complex and it was very difficult but it was so much fun. As an actor, that’s what you want – you want something to challenge you and make you a better actor.

Were you worried about stepping into such a well-known role?
I wasn’t worried at all. I was excited. These opportunities, they don’t come very often. To get to be involved with something so iconic and legendary and so well filmed, I wasn’t nervous – I was very excited.

Besides working alongside some pretty iconic actresses. What was your favorite part of this production?
My favorite part was getting to work with them. Ellen Burstyn – she is just incredible. The energy and the presence she brings to the scene and how much she just delved into the character, the ability she has to make you better was an incredible experience. It was great to get to see her work. Also, Heather and Kiernan, they’re all so good. They’re such sweethearts; they’re so nice. That was a great thing, too; how welcoming they were.

How did you prep for such a dark role? Was it difficult to perform some of those intense scenes?
Reading the book, honestly, helped me the most, in getting the feel of the story and the mood. I did a lot of prep work. I did my usual stuff; writing a whole lot, developing the character. Even though the character was already set for me in the book, I wanted to put my own twist on “Christopher” and bring my attributes to the role.

Going back a bit, how did you get your start in acting?
It was my junior year in high-school. I was playing baseball and planning on going to college for that as well. I ended up getting hurt, so I had to figure out something else. I used to plays when I was younger, so I thought I’d give acting a shot. I started taking classes and it kind of took off from there. From having an agent in Texas led to having an agent and manager in Los Angeles. I moved out here 11 months ago and things took off from there.

If you couldn’t be an actor, what would you want to do?
Growing up, I always wanted to be an major league baseball. But after going into acting, I’ve developed a real passion for it. You really fall in love with it after you start it. I found my nitch. That’s where I’m going to stay.

What’s next?
I have a couple things in the works but unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about them yet. Fingers crossed.


More Info:
Who: Mason Dye
What: Flowers in the Attic
When: Saturday, January 18, 8pm ET on LIfetime

Photos courtesy of Lifetime Television