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.




After the NBC deal fell apart, what happened?David: We explored every opportunity. We had an
entire developmental process with Showtime. We talked to
Lifetime [then under different leadership]. We talked
again about whether this was a theatrical release or a
cable film….Dan: There isn’t a financier or a studio or
network head who, at some point over the last 12 years, has
not been aggressively approached. At one point, I flew
to Dallas to meet a multimillionaire investor and the
pitch took place in a gentlemen’s club with
topless waitresses serving us very expensive Texas prime rib.Chris: It was incredibly frustrating to keep
pushing and pushing without getting the break. And then
Leroy [the book’s author] died in 2004.

What kept you going?Dan: There was a lot of support in the
Hollywood community. Dustin Lance Black, the writer and
executive producer of Milk [another uphill
battle], and I used to run into each other all the
time at the West Hollywood Starbucks on Santa Monica
Boulevard. I’d be sitting at one table, making
calls about Bobby, while Dustin was working on
his latest draft of Milk. And the joke was "So,
where are you at with your gay project?" 

What was the turning point?Dan: In late 2007 we were in deep negotiations
with a private financial equity group interested in
financing Bobby as the sort of indie movie
where the lead actress would have to work on scale…David: The kind of movie that might play to the
New York/Los Angeles art-house crowd at best, but never
really get a proper release.Chris: That’s all that we thought we had left
at that point…but then we got lucky with Lifetime.
And then came Sigourney.

Tags: television