The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart is not an easy viewing – the cinematography is beautiful and there is a powerful performance by Sigourney Weaver, but the themes are difficult, with the series dealing with violence against women and children, often at the hands of men they love.
The drama, which is based on a book of the same name, tells the story of nine-year-old Alice, who is orphaned when her parents are killed in a mysterious fire.
Showrunner Sarah Lambert explained to Sky News’ Backstage podcast how she made the distinction between portraying what is a real problem for many and not doing it in a way that would seem unnecessary or excessive.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about it, especially in episode one, it was a big thing when we were writing it, I was obsessed with [asking] how to bring this to life so that it is in no way free?
“And I realized the only way to really do that justice was that I wanted people to be in Alice’s shoes, I wanted to write it from her point of view so that you’re from the perspective of a child of everything, that you’d really be in Alice’s shoes from the moment we get into that story, that’s that little girl’s version of what it felt like, and so I think that was our guide , always be in Alice’s shoes and show what it feels like.
“The other thing I didn’t want to do is – what I find really special about the book is that Clem, his father, isn’t that bad, you know what I mean? She loves him and he can be so much fun and there’s that kind of joy there and he can do amazing things with his hands, and he’s incredibly romantic with his mom and there’s love in this house, but there’s also this horrible setback that can come out of nowhere, and we really wanted to explore that tension, because that’s actually what’s killing her, I think, what’s really, really hurting Alice , it’s just being on her toes 24/7, this hypervigilance that she has as a character and that sort of thing continues throughout this story, we really wanted to do her justice .”
Lambert says finding the right balance between what to leave and what to get out continued throughout the show’s production.
“We were always talking, even on set, about how much violence we show,” she said.
“In the edit, we put it on, took it off, put it on, took it off, but I think in the end there’s actually very little violence in that first episode, most of it happens off-screen, but that tension who’s in the house is what we wanted people to feel, what it’s like to live with this tension and the consequences.
“I hate that on shows when people get hit and nothing happens, you kind of find the next moment, it’s not even the punch, it’s that tension you carry in your body from then on, this trauma that then you have to live with and somehow resolve later in life.”
Alice Hart’s The Lost Flowers is a big new series launch for Prime Video, but with American actors on strike, the usual interviews with its stars aren’t on offer.
Lambert admits it’s not easy to promote the show without its cast, including A-list actress Weaver.
“It’s tricky, it’s all tricky, but [the strikes] has happened and it’s a battle for writers and for actors that has to be fought.
“And yes, you want everyone here to kind of promote your show and let the world know about it.
“We’re very lucky that they’ve done so many great interviews brilliantly to promote the show, you know, months and months and months ago, so they’ve been such an amazing cast to come together to promote this show and I love it so much, so we weren’t too affected… So, yeah, it’s tricky timing, but I completely understand and I’m completely late [the strikes].”
Weaver plays Alice June’s grandmother, a woman who has her own secrets and runs both a farm and a women’s shelter.
Lambert says the iconic actress has always been her first choice for the role.
“[Weaver] I kept coming to mind because there’s a strength in June and a down to earth side, like she’s incredibly capable, she’s a woman who works the land, she also leads this women’s shelter,” she explained.
“There were very few actors that I could think of that you would actually buy that they could do what she has to do on the show and hold that truth – because she’s incredibly complex and in the wrong hands, it could go terribly, terribly wrong.
“And so, she started playing in my mind as we were writing it, and then we all put lists together and it was funny, for all the producers, she was there, in every list for everyone. “
Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts
After that, it was about getting the alien star the scripts.
“There’s this terrible waiting game that you think about – ‘Oh my God, will she like it, will she come on board? — and she read it and we had this meeting and she responded to the material with so much passion.
“I think she could tell we almost wrote it for her and she responded and came on board in such an amazing way and she really had something to say.
“She wanted to be involved, but she really wanted to be involved, and that was wonderful for us.”
The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart has been released on Prime Video – listen to our review on the latest episode of Backstage, Sky News’ film and TV podcast.