Mommy Dearest: Heather Graham in Flowers in the Attic

Heather Graham takes on the role of Corrine Foxworth in the Lifetime movie, Flowers in the Attic

Flowers In The Attic (1)
Heather Graham is Corrine Foxworth-Dollanganger

Blonde bombshell Heather Graham known for her comedic roles in The Hangover trilogy and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is taking on a sex symbol role of a different kind in the Lifetime movie, Flowers in the Attic and its sequel, Petals on the Wind.

Based on a V.C. Andrews book series, the disturbing Flowers in the Attic tells a story about incest and madness. It starts with Corrine Foxworth’s descent into poverty after the death of her husband -whom unbeknownst to her at the time, was her half brother – leading her to return to her estranged wealthy family.

They welcomed her return on one condition from her mother. Her four children have to be locked in the attic to prevent knowledge of her previous  marriage and existing offspring. Everything comes to a head when the children start falling ill mysteriously and they make a bold escape. We speak to Heather on her role as Corrine.

I guess the obvious first question to ask would be did you read the book series?

I had never read the book, but one of my best friends is obsessed with it, and she was quoting all my lines. There is a really rabid fan base out there for this book. After I got the job, I did read it.

There was a previous film adaptation of Flowers in the Attic with Victoria Tennant that was not particularly well received. Did you ever see that movie? And, if so, did you learn anything about how to do this one differently?

I screened it. I think it’s a little more cheesy-funny. I think it’s a powerfully disturbing story – even in the first film version. There’s just something about it.

And I’ve been a long-time fan. Are you doing more television now? Or do you still prefer movies?

Well, you know, early in my career, I was on “Twin Peaks”. And I did “Scrubs,” and I did this. And I also did “Californication.” And, I just did a film. I like doing both. I think there’s a lot of interesting things going on in TV right now. TV seems to be taking more risks. What independent films used to be – it seems that a lot of those really creative project are coming to TV.

Getting back to your discussion about how it was a blast to make the movie, sometimes the most fun in watching acting is when you can see that the actors themselves are having fun. So the acting itself may not be quite as nuanced and subtle as it is at other times, but it seemed like that was what Ellen Burstyn (who plays Olivia Foxworth, Corrine’s twisted mother) was doing in this movie. She just seemed to be enjoying herself almost beyond measure.

And can you talk a little bit about working with somebody who’s so august in this kind of this “Wicked Witch of the West” role?

I know she was really glad when the movie ended. She said, “I can’t wait to get out of this character, it’s so disturbing.” But all the little kids were really excited to be scared by her. They were so excited for the scene where she kicks them and pulls their hair. They kept saying, “We’re excited for you to scare us,” and she just laughed. She is really powerful. I think she was having fun, but when it was over, I think she was really glad to not be that character any more.

I’ve read the entire series of Flowers in the Attic as a teenager and I loved it despite the taboo topics. Do you feel like there have been subsequent books that have been as, I guess, taboo as and sort of central to everybody’s surreptitious lives and growth?

I read the Judy Blume books. I think that was kind of a similar thing. You know, Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret. I was pretty excited to have that. That was around the same time as Flowers in the Attic.

Flowers In The Attic airs Aug 12,  Tuesday at 10pm and Petals On The Wind airs Aug 19, Tuesday at 10pm on Lifetime StarHub TV Ch. 514