After the success of the Flowers of the Attic Saga, Lifetime has been adapting Virginia Andrews' solo novel My Sweet Audrina into another movie and even Andrew Neiderman (VC Andrews Ghost Writer) has stated that this film is the best out of the five previous Dollanganger movies.
Just to give you guys a little background of this book:
V.C. Andrews, author of the phenomenally successful Dollanganger series, has created a fascinating new cast of characters in this haunting story of love and deceit, innocence and betrayal, and the suffocating power of parental love.
Audrina Adare wanted so to be as good as her sister. She knew her father could not love her as he loved her sister. Her sister was so special, so perfect -- and dead. Now she will come face to face with the dangerous, terrifying secret that everyone knows. Everyone except... My Sweet Audrina.
Now I read this book after reading Seeds of Yesterday and I have to say, it messes with your head on so many levels - the narrator has no concept of time (days and months seem to pass by and she has trouble remembering her childhood), there are so many flashbacks, lies and deceit within the family that no one seems to know the meaning of "truth" and the author tackles diverse issues such as brittle bone disease, rape, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes and autism in the haunting setting of a Victorian era mansion near the fictitious River Lyle. Overall, I was hooked on this book similar to when I read Flowers in the Attic and I grew to care about the protagonist and was desperate to find out the tragic secret of Audrina's family - so I was very intrigued to see how they would adapt a far more complex and mature story for the small screen.
Now Lifetime has not released an official premiere date for the film as it is still in post-production, but it seems like it'll be somewhere between Fall 2015 or Early 2016. There has been quite a high anticipation among V.C. Andrews fans in regards to this adaptation, but some have had their misgivings with certain casting choices - Here's a recap of the main cast and crew:
Director - Mike Rohl
Mike Rohl has showed a great passion and respect for the fans of Andrews and has even asked their opinions on Twitter on prop choices and has taken into account their views on locations and settings. Having such a positive relationship between himself and the fans has built up the excitement for this film even more and it is said he plans to portray the dark Gothic elements of the story, which is essentially what the story is draws on with this one family trapped in a Victorian mansion. Rohl is best known for directing TV Dramas such as Supernatural, Smallville, Beauty and the Beast, Defying Gravity and Reign - I personally have only seen the two episodes he directed on Watch's science-fiction police drama Beauty and the Beast (Playing with Fire and On Thin Ice) which were both strong character driven episodes and beautifully filmed. He is very dedicated to this project and I believe he will deliver at producing a great film.
Screenwriter - Stacey Lacey
I have researched Stacey Lacey's IMDb page and she is a pretty well known executive and associate producer (for films such as Save the Last Dance, Against the Ropes and A Year Ago in Winter) and her writing credits include being a staff writer for the TV series The Royals (she wrote the script for the seventh episode of the first season "Your Sovereignty of Reason") and My Sweet Audrina is her debut as a screenwriter for a feature film. She certainly has much experience within the film and TV industry and I am certainly excited to see how she brings Audrina's story to life, which should bring a fresh voice to the writing industry.
India Eisley as Audrina
India is an up and coming British-American actress and is well-known for playing Eve, the hybrid daughter of Selene in Underworld: Awakening. Her recent acting credits include the Gothic retelling of Sleeping Beauty "The Curse of Sleeping Beauty" where she plays the lead role and the modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet "Social Suicide" set in London where she plays Julia the modern counterpart for Juliet. Many people are excited for Eisley to play Audrina as she was praised for her acting in Awakening as Eve, the emotionally damaged girl who is held in captivity for years and suffers from memory loss due to traumatic events in her past - both Eve and Audrina share very similar character traits and fans of the books believe that she was perfectly cast for lead role in the latest V.C. Andrews' adaptation. However, some are disappointed by the fact that Eisley has kept her brunette hair in this production whereas her character had dirty blonde hair with highlights of different darker shades.
Rohl's vision for this film has been stated to be dark and Gothic, so I am guessing that it was his directorial decision to keep Eisley's hair as a darker tone to fit his vision and he has made a similar decision with Tess Atkins (who plays Vera) by replacing her character's red hair and keeping the actress's lighter brown hair. In my opinion, small details like hair or eye colour should not cause a negative response for an actor in any film - as long as the actor captures the heart and soul of the character they are portraying, that should be the most important thing and India Eisley has terrific acting abilities and will certainly do well at bringing Audrina to life. The younger versions of Audrina's character will be played by Imogen Tear and Farryn VanHumbeck.
Tess Atkins as Vera
Tess Atkins is set to play antagonist and Audrina's vengeful cousin Vera, a character who has had a vendetta against the family due to a deep rooted secret and the rejection of someone who should love her unconditionally. This by far would a challenging role for any actress to take on and truthfully I have not seen Atkins in any films before, but her acting credits for film include A Killer Among Us and Girl Fight - I am keeping an open mind for this role as Vera was probably one of the best villains with heartbreaking reasons behind her horrible actions (don't get me wrong, the character in the book is pure evil she gives Vampire Diaries' Katherine Pirece a run for her money but complex villains are fantastic to watch) and I'm hoping Atkins does well with this role. The younger version of Vera will be played by Hannah Cheramy.
William Moesley as Arden
William Moesley is set to play Audrina's love interest Arden, a character who is wrecked with guilt over a betrayal years before and goes from Audrina's childhood sweetheart to husband. Everyone will know Moesley as Peter from The Chronicles of Narnia and to be honest, if I hadn't seen him play Prince Liam in The Royals I certainly wouldn't have thought he would have been even capable of playing the dark and tortured soul that is Arden. Moesley has moved on from his Disney star days and since taken on challenging and more mature adult roles that he has done incredibly well in - he certainly has the potential to pull off playing Arden, but this will be the first time I will see him playing an American character... Hopefully, he can do a convincing accent. The younger version of Arden will be played by Seth Isaac Johnson.
James Tupper as Damien
James Tupper plays the reincarnation of narcissistic, sexist, controlling and abusive character that is Damien Adare - the father of Audrina. He's handsome and successful in the stock market, but his personality is ugly and he shows a manipulative and controlling side to his family at home. Quite possibly one of the darkest characters in Virginia Andrews' work, he destroys Vera's ability to love, emotionally abuses Audrina in an attempt to control her and shield her from the truth and weaves an interact e web of lies that causes a rift between Lucietta and Ellsbeth. James Tupper is best known for starring in the TV series Revenge and Playing for Keeps as well as his writing (he co-wrote the screenplays for Invisible and Loudmouth Soup) and this will be my first time seeing him in an acting role. I am definitely looking forward to seeing Tupper in this role, which like Vera has multi-layers and complexity which should make for watching a terrific chemistry between Atkins and Tupper on screen.
Jennifer Copping as Ellsbeth
Jennifer Copping takes on the role of Vera's mother, Lucietta's sister and Audrina's aunt, a very strong character that is the definition of a feminist. Ellsbeth has learned how life truly is outside her family's wealth when she had a child out of wedlock and became a maid in the house she once grew up in, but she never lost her assertive attitude and stays true to her believes. Jennifer Copping is best known for her roles in Slither and Becoming Redwood and fans initially believed she had been cast as Lucietta, so it will be interesting to see how she tackles this role and how she portrays a woman that has many demons in her past.
From this picture, I can see Jennifer and James look perfect for these roles and it'll be exciting to see how they play their characters' twisted history.
Kirsten Robek as Lucietta
Kirsten Robek plays the tortured "Perfect Wife and Mother" whose perfection slowly crumbles throughout the story. Lucietta sacrificed her dreams of fame as a child prodigy in music to marry Damien and became the Perfect Hostess instead. Unlike her sister Ellsbeth that speaks her mind, Lucietta prefers to keep the peace and yet Damien would always fly into a jealous rage if men so much as look at his wife or hears anyone insist she should have pursued music instead of marrying so young. She wants Audrina to never make her mistakes and pursue her dreams in life and love, but her mother is keeping a dark secret from her like everyone else. Kirsten Robek is best known for appearing in Cats and Dogs and The Saddest Boy in the World, I can vaguely remember her in Cats and Dogs from my childhood - her epic diving for a pie, but sadly I have not seen her in any serious acting roles yet. Like other actors, I am keeping an open mind for her performance in this film and I am looking forward to seeing the scenes between Jennifer and Kirsten as the two sisters with deep rooted resentment of each other and their thoughts on how both of them are raising their daughters - so much family drama!
Matthew Kevin Anderson as Lemar
Matthew Kevin Anderson has been signed on to play aspiring Broadway composer, Audrina's piano teacher and Vera's much older love interest Lemar. He starts out as a seemingly nice guy as Audrina's confidant, but like everyone in this poor girl's life he has some pretty dark secrets. He begins a sexual relationship with Vera which leads to an unwanted pregnancy and he attempts to flee to New York, but he cannot escape certain demons. Matthew Keven Anderson is best known for acting in Tomorrowland, Trick 'r Treat and Odd Brodsky and he would be an interesting addition to this cast. From the looks of it, the Vera/Lemar relationship will be more adult with him acting opposite Tess Atkins as it is a very mature relationship (and wouldn't be appropriate for a teenage actress) but will definitely follow the narrative of their relationship. He should hopefully be able to capture the chemistry between Audrina (India Eisley) that is intimate in an innocent way and the unhealthy and obsessive lust he shares with Vera (Tess Atkins). Next to Damien, Lemar is one of my least favourite characters, but Matthew does look right for the role.
Characters who have not been officially cast:
There are a few characters who seem to have been cut from the story (which sadly happens during adaptations) or the casting has not been announced (which would be unlikely at this stage as the film has wrapped filming and is almost edited), so after consideration here are my views of the possible reasons behind this lack of inclusion for these characters.
- Mrs. Allismore - A "psychic" hired, then fired, by Damian. This character only appears in one scene and truthfully only adds a sense of the fear of unknown with the fate of Audrina's unborn sibling as the psychic is unable to predict if the child is male or female. She is never seen again and does not have an important role in the story that her absence would be a heavily effected in a film adaptation.
Mercy Marie: Missing and presumed dead, she was Lucietta's best friend. Lucietta and Ellsbeth get drunk and "channel" her spirit during their weekly Tuesday Teatimes. Mercy never actually makes an appearance in the novel, but the character is referenced a lot and only a photograph offers the reader a physical description, for a film adaptation it can still be likely that the character will be mentioned (most actors who only make an appearance through photographs are not credited as they do not have a speaking role) and fans of the book may still get to see a Tuesday Teatime scene.
Billie Lowe: Mother of Arden. She resembles Elizabeth Taylor. She was an Olympic figure skating champion who lost both of her legs after getting gangrene as a complication from untreated diabetes. She is a friendly, positive person to be around. She becomes a mother figure to Audrina. This character plays a key role in the development of Arden and Audrina, it would be incredibly difficult to find an actress right for the role with this disability - production would need good make-up effects to show Billie's disability or make slight changes and have her be a wheelchair user instead. It seems neither of these have been done as the character was been cast and the role looks like it has been cut for the film, which is quite a shame.
Sylvia Adare: Youngest daughter of Damian and Lucietta; sister of Audrina; half-sister and cousin of Vera. She is born prematurely and autistic. Audrina is the only person who is able to successfully communicate with her and despite her disability, she is strikingly beautiful. This role plays a huge part in the story and she is a main character in the original novel, but no casting announcement has been made. In my opinion, the timeline of the story has to be condensed for a feature film as the book's narrative lasts for several years and I believe that Sylvia will be played by a baby with doctors saying she shows signs of autism - there wouldn't be enough screen time for character development for Sylvia as a baby to a teenager.
As there's no posters or trailers, I can't really discuss anymore about it - I will do another post when we FINALLY get a trailer.
I wanna hear what you guys think - have you read My Sweet Audrina? Are you looking forward to this film? What do you think of the casting?
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