It takes a dedicated actor to tackle the intricate, emotionally charged characters portrayed in V.C. Andrew’s classic novel Flowers in the Attic, and a fearless actor to take on such a project as their breakout role! Mason Dye is just that – fearless, fresh-faced and up for a challenge. Starring in the Lifetime movie adaptation of Flowers in the Attic as Christopher Dollanganger, Dye gives the kind of performance that shows he has what it takes to become Hollywood’s next big thing.
The Daily Quirk: Congratulations on Lifetime deciding to move ahead with the sequel to Flowers in the Attic before the film’s premiere. Did that announcement take you be surprise?
Mason Dye: It actually did! At the TCA in Pasadena, that was actually the first time I had heard that. Before the release even, it’s very exciting.
TDQ: So let’s back up and talk about Flowers. You star as Christopher Dollanganger, whose family has some pretty questionable parenting skills. Can you tell us a bit about how you found out about the role and what attracted you to it?
MD: Before auditioning, I’d actually never heard of it. I’d never heard of Flowers in the Attic. I’d never heard of the book, which was surprising. My parent’s had heard of it and they filled me in on it. Then I watched the 1987 version and I Googled it a lot to better understand it. Once I landed the role I knew I should read the book, especially because of the huge following this book already had. I wanted to do the character of Christopher justice. I read the book and that’s when I really, really fell in love with it and it made me even more excited about being attached to this project. The story is so strong and so powerful. Christopher is a very complex character and a hard role to play, so I was very excited about it.
TDQ: You do an amazing job of capturing Christopher’s conflicted and longing nature. Aside from reading the book and researching, how did you prepare for the role?
MD: A lot of back story and a lot of script analysis. Also just building my character. I like to write a lot, so I kept a notebook and wrote about character relationships, everything about myself as well, and that’s how I really built up Christopher. I had to stay within the guidelines, stay true to Christopher, but add my own spin on it as well. That was really fun, getting to bring him to life.
TDQ: You have a fabulous cast in the film with you, Ellen Burstyn, Heather Graham, but it was the relationship between your character Christopher and Cathy, played by Kiernan Shipka that was especially gripping for me. Can you tell me a bit about what it was like working together?
MD: Oh, Kiernan [Shipka] was incredible. She is the most intelligent 14-year-old I have ever met. Whenever you’re talking to her you’d swear you were talking to a 24-year-old. And she’s so humble too. To have so much success at a young age, she’s so down to earth and so real. It was great to work with her too because she is so incredibly talented and the presence she has, it’s insane that a 14-year-old is doing that. She’s incredible.
TDQ: You guys definitely had great chemistry on-screen. Was it difficult playing such a complex relationship?
MD: It was tough, yes, but it wasn’t that hard. Kiernan and I really clicked; we’re really good friends now. Once we cut, we would just make jokes and hang out. We played Words with Friends a lot, that was like our go-to game. She would always get upset because I would beat her, but she’ll deny that! It definitely was difficult but that’s what you love about acting, challenging stuff.
TDQ: Flowers in the Attic has such dark tense overtones. What was it like on set? Is there any particular scene that stands out as having been especially memorable to shoot?
MD: Yes, I would have to say my most memorable scene was the first scene we shot with Ellen [Burstyn]. When Kiernan and I get caught in the bathroom after I walk in on her undressing, that was the first scene we ever shot with Ellen. It was just rehearsal, we weren’t even in our outfits yet, and she came in in full character – it was insane. Afterwards, Kiernan and I just looked at each other and were like “Goodness, this lady is terrifying!”
TDQ: She terrified me too! What’s Ellen like in person, off camera?
MD: She’s so nice! That’s the craziest thing to see her transition from being this evil character. Whenever you talk to her off set, she’s such as sweetheart. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
TDQ: You’re quickly becoming a household name and fans are eager to find out more about you, so can you tell us a bit about how you like to spend your time when you’re not busy acting? Any hobbies?
MD: Yes, I love food! That’s one of my hobbies, I love to eat. I love to bowl, me and my friend go bowling a lot. We love to play mini putt-putt, that’s one of our go-tos. We also love to go to movies. We probably go to a movie every other day. Other than that we just love to hang out! Going to the beach, that’s another thing we like to do.
TDQ: So you’re just like us! How do you stay so grounded? You’ve had a lot of success in such a short time, how do you stay connected with family and friends?
MD: Well, it’s important to remember where you came from. Like you said, I’m no different than anybody else. We all do our own thing, mine just happens to gather more attention. Honestly, going back home, seeing all my friends, that keeps me sane and keeps my grounded. Just having the support from my friends and family, and also just getting out and doing everyday things like going to the beach – it’s the small things in life.
TDQ: And one more for fun. There were lots of images of you with headphones on heading to set to film Flowers, so we have to ask what’s the most played song on your iPod?
MD: The most played song? That is a toughy. I’m a huge Drake fan, so his whole new album, but the song I’ve listened to the most off that album is “The Language.”
TDQ: One last question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten in your professional career so far?
MD: I would say the best advice I’ve gotten so far, nobody actually told me it, it was just the way Kiernan, Heather [Graham] and Ellen acted on set and how they treated me. Going into this, they’re all huge stars and I wasn’t, this is actually my first big role, but to see them with such incredible success and how they treated me, so welcoming and so kind, that was the biggest thing I learned because that’s going to stick with me forever. That’s always going to keep me humble, to remember how they treated me when they had so much success. That’s probably the biggest thing that has really impacted me.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Mason Dye for taking the time to chat with us! To find out more about Flowers in the Attic check out the film’s Official Site and be sure to tune in for the premiere of Flowers in the Attic on Lifetime Jan. 18 at 8/7c.