The Evolution of Prayers for Bobby

From big screen to Lifetime, Susan Sarandon to Sigourney Weaver, it's taken 12 years to bring Prayers for Bobby, the story of homophobe-turned-activist Mary Griffith, to life.

BY Dale Hrabi

January 23 2009 12:00 AM ET

 PRAYERS FOR BOBBY RYAN KELLY SIGOURNEY WEAVER X390 (BEN MARK HOLZBERG/LIFETIME TV) | ADVCOATE.COM

What was your goal at that point?Dan: A feature film. We talked a lot about Kramer
vs. Kramer
, Ordinary People -- the moment
when Mary Tyler Moore can’t put her arm around
her son for the family portrait. So Chris and I needed
to hook up with a theatrical producer. And fortunately, when
David Permut read the book, he was in on page 10 and that
helped us attach an A-List actress. We lucked out with
Susan Sarandon, who’d recently done Dead Man Walking.Chris: The first question Susan asked was, "Who
is this movie for?" I told her it’s for mothers.
Because when families are at home over the dinner
table, whenever the next fag joke comes up,
it’s going to be the mother [who’d seen this
movie] who silences it.

When did the project go to TV?Dan: Susan was being courted by NBC to come
make her first television film. When she insisted we go MOW
[movie of the week], that was the first left turn. But
we thought, What the hell. Maybe we’ll get
30 million Americans to watch this story.

So what went wrong?Dan: Two things. The head of movies at NBC
abruptly resigned, and the new guy came in and shut down the
MOW business in 2000. And then we parted ways with
Susan because of creative differences regarding the
script [by lesbian screenwriter Katie Ford (Miss
Congeniality
)].

Tags: television

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