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 Henry Czerny SIGOURNEY WEAVER X390 (BEN MARK HOLZBERG/LIFETIME TV) | ADVCOATE.COM

What was the issue?Chris: Susan wanted to go darker, she wanted to
champion the truth of Bobby Griffith’s story as
it’s told in the book [which features harrowing
passages from Bobby's diaries about his drug use and
stint as a gay prostitute].

Why did you feel it was necessary to go with a more
sanitized version?
Dan: It was a strategic choice that we
defiantly made. We didn’t want to give any mother a
reason to change channels and divest themselves of
this movie because they’d been gratuitously
offended. We asked ourselves, Are we just making this for
the gay community or are we trying to make a film that could
be screened in schools and help people understand the
emotional truth of what gay kids lives are really like?Chris: And when you’re dealing with TV and
advertisers, there are just a lot of roadblocks. It was the
difference between a movie that would never have been
made and reaching a green light.

Was Brokeback Mountain a role model in any way?David: Yes, in the sense that Brokeback went
beyond preaching to the choir. It wasn’t
alienating and it reached the vast audience between Los
Angeles and New York by appealing to people’s
emotions.

Were you ever worried that Christian conservatives
would try to dismiss the film as whitewashed propaganda?
Dan: I have no problem being seen as someone
with an agenda. I’m a gay man living in Los Angeles
in 2009 and my rights have just been taken away from
me [by supporters of Proposition 8].

Tags: television

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