‘Uniquely Australian’: Hollywood royalty Sigourney Weaver stars in Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

Sigourney Weaver joins a stellar Aussie cast including young Alyla Browne for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, and international audiences are loving it.

Sigourney Weaver joins a stellar Aussie cast including young Alyla Browne for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, and international audiences are loving it. Photo: Prime Video

Three-time Academy Award-nominated actor Sigourney Weaver is best known around the world for her roles in blockbuster film franchises playing Ellen Ripley in Alien and later in Avatar.

At 73, the Hollywood veteran has often played the strong matriarch in a career that has spanned five decades, including playing wildlife warrior Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist, a Ghostbuster as well as success with numerous small screen roles.

Now, Weaver is back playing a flower-farm grower who takes on the role of looking after her granddaughter after the girl’s parents’ traumatic death in the adaptation of Holly Ringland’s international award-winning debut Australian novel, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

From the Made Up Stories producers who brought us Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, and Anatomy of a Scandal to the screen, they say this Prime Video seven-part series tells a “courageous tale of female resilience”.

“[And it’s] … perfectly embodied by the legendary Sigourney Weaver”.

Filmed across New South Wales and the Northern Territory in 2021, Weaver stars as June Hart alongside a host of Australian talent that includes Asher Keddie as Sally Morgan, Leah Purcell as Twig North, Frankie Adams as Candy Blue, Alyla Browne (young Alice Hart) and Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alice Hart as an adult.

Bringing a ‘distinctive novel to life’

It will be the streaming giant’s second local scripted series – the first full-length teaser trailer dropped on Thursday – and the first three episodes will launch on August 4 in 240 countries around the world.

Prime’s official synopsis says Ringland’s Lost Flowers tells an “emotionally compelling story of Alice Hart”.

“When Alice, aged nine, tragically loses her parents in a mysterious fire, she is taken to live with her grandmother June at Thornfield flower farm, where she learns that there are secrets within secrets about her and her family’s past.

“Set against Australia’s breath-taking, natural landscape, and with native wildflowers and plants providing a way to express the inexpressible, this enthralling family drama spans decades.

“Alice’s journey as she grows from her complicated past builds to an emotional climax when she finds herself fighting for her life against a man she loves,” it reads.

Sigourney Weaver, Alycia Debnam-Carey. Photo: Prime Video

Ringland’s novel was first published in 2018, and has since become an international best seller, with publication rights sold in 31 territories.

In May 2019, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was named The Australian Book Industry Award’s General Fiction Book of the Year.

In a Sydney Morning Herald profile at the time, Ringland revealed she grew up on the Gold Coast before moving in her 20s to the desert, where she spent four years working as a media officer at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.

She also spent time in the UK, completed a Masters degree in creative writing and wrote the first draft for Lost Flowers while living in Manchester.

Meaning of flowers

Each of the flowers that adorn Ringland has a specific meaning in the language of flowers she develops throughout her novel,” writes the SMH.

“The Sturt’s desert peas mean ‘have courage, take heart’; the desert heath-myrtle is ‘flame, I burn’; the Cootamundra wattle means ‘wound I heal’; honey grevillea is ‘foresight’, and bat’s wing coral tree is ‘a cure for heartache'”.

“It is a language that not only forms the heart of her debut, but one that has enabled Ringland to metamorphose her own traumatic experiences at the hands of violent men into something new,” the newspaper wrote.

“Before I wrote the book, I was thinking about healing,” she said at the time.

“Can I reform the experience of the traumatic memory? Can I do something else with these ashes, because that’s all that they are? It is unbearable dead life because it is trauma. Can I make meaning out of something that is too hard to remember but that I can’t forget?

“What I feel like now is, more than healing, a sense of transformation, a sense of remaking something.”

Alycia Debnam-Carey as an adult Alice Hart. Photo: Prime Video

After Prime Video snapped up the rights and filming began in Australia, she said she “mostly wrote The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart thinking that no one other than me would ever read it. I wanted my novel to find its people – I was driven by a deep, aching desire for connection,” she wrote in a statement to Deadline.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart premieres on Prime Video globally on August 4

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