BY Jeremy Kinser
December 15 2010 10:05 PM ET
Sigourney Weaver again establishes herself as one of our most dependable allies by continuing to get the word out about Prayers for Bobby, the acclaimed 2009 television film based on the true story of a young gay man who killed himself due to his mother’s intolerance. When the actress initially promoted the film before its premiere, she told The Advocate, “I’m horrified by how hard Americans are making it for my gay friends to live.” Now, nearly two years later and with teenagers still committing suicide due to antigay bullying, the film has finally been released on DVD. The actress, who received numerous award nominations for her searing performance as Mary Griffith, Bobby’s confused, conservative mother, again volunteered to promote the film due to its special meaning for her and its potential to aid troubled gay teenagers and their families.
The wide-ranging career of the three-time Academy Award–nominated Weaver encompasses kick-ass action heroines in the Alien films and inspired comic turns in hits like Working Girl, which have endeared her to LGBT audiences. Yet her role in Prayers for Bobby is one the actress holds in a unique place apart from the rest. Weaver speaks to The Advocate about Prayers’ continued relevance, offers words of advice for bullied gay youth, and expresses her hope that someone offers her a gay role.
The Advocate: It’s been nearly two years since Prayers for Bobby premiered, yet when you consider recent headlines about gay teenagers committing suicide, the film is perhaps even more relevant now than when you made it.
Sigourney Weaver: That’s why I’m so excited by the DVD release. I think unlike a movie in a theater that you have to take someone to, this can start a conversation with people who are not interested and wary and combative. I hope this movie will help open the door to dialogue.
What are your thoughts on the recent suicides due to antigay bullying?
Bullying is something that is just so tragic, certainly, for the victims and their families but also for the people perpetrating this hatred. There’s so much pressure in high school and college and the pressure to conform — our country was built by people who wanted to be different! We just have to work harder to educate each other.
Do you have any words of encouragement for young kids who are still going through it?
I encourage all these young people to reach out to PFLAG and the Trevor Project and I know there are other very good organizations, too. Just get on the phone and start a conversation with someone, even if it’s with a stranger who has been through this, so they feel less alone. I really send a hug to them and say make that call, go to that meeting, and find out how many people love you. They’ll help bring your family around. You have to trust that sooner or later the people who love you will come to understand what it is, and part of your job is to be the person who takes them there. It’s your job to be yourself and all you can be, and your family has to catch up with you.