Eric Marcus

"Prayers For Bobby" Starring Sigourney Weaver

Filed By Eric Marcus | June 16, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment
Tags: Chris Taaffe, Daniel Sladek, gay suicide, Leroy Aarons, Mary Griffith, NLGJA, Prayers for Bobby, Sigourney Weaver

In 1983 Mary Griffith's twenty-year-old son, Bobby, jumped off a freeway overpass and landed in the path of an eighteen-wheel truck. Bobby, who was deeply religious like the rest of his family, had hoped that God would heal him of being gay.SigourneyAsGriffith.jpg

A year-and-a-half before his suicide, Bobby wrote in his diary:

Why did you do this to me, God? Am I going to hell? That's the gnawing question that's always drilling little holes in the back of my mind. Please don't send me to hell. I'm really not that bad, am I? I want to be good. I want to amount to something. I need your seal of approval. If I had that, I would be happy. Life is so cruel and unfair.

The late Roy Aarons--an old friend who founded the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association--chronicled Mary and Bobby Griffith's story in a 1995 book, Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with her Gay Son's Suicide. And just two weeks ago filming began for a Lifetime Original Movie-- starring Sigourney Weaver--based on the book. "Prayers for Bobby" will premiere in February 2009 on Lifetime Television.

PrayersJacket.jpgLast week I spoke with executive producers Daniel Sladek and Chris Taaffe by phone from Michigan, where the movie is being filmed (Why Michigan? New tax incentives for filmmakers).

Sladek and Taaffe first read the book in 1997 and knew right away that they wanted to make a film, but things took a little longer than expected. I asked Taffe why they didn't just give up: "Because it's so rare that you get a great story that moves you to this level. One of the most amazing things about this film is that everyone finds something in the story. Everyone has had the experience of being an outsider, of feeling alienated, of not being listened to."

Sladek, who is gay, said he hopes that "Prayers for Bobby" will "inspire dialogue between parents and their kids, so that parents can champion who their kids are instead of dictating who they think they should become."

Stay tuned for an interview with Sigourney Weaver later in the year. In the meantime, read the book. It will break your heart and, against all odds, inspire you at the same time.


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John R. Selig | June 16, 2008 8:13 PM

Eric, This is a great book. Every parent who uses their religious beliefs to no accept their gay child should read this book. It is a heart breaker but I am sure that the book has saved lives. I can't wait to see the movie.

Now if we can only get somebody to fund Patricia Nell Warren's "The Front Runner" I'll be a really happy camper!

I agree, John. I'd love to see a "Frontrunners" movie. I've daydreamed often of who should play what role.

I love Sigourney Weaver. I'm disappointed this will only be a Lifetime movie; this story should be seen on the big screen.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 17, 2008 8:46 AM

The original rumor was that Paul Newman would be the coach and Jan Michael Vincent would be the front runner. Isn't THAT a long time ago?

Teen suicide from all causes is impossible to comprehend because we are not in their shoes. Kids I have seen walking through the malls in America usually "have everything" for a happy life and have no idea how to apply it. Being Gay should never be a fatal self diagnosis considering all there is in the world that cries out for improvement.

But yet, the "throw away kids" are there, often isolated from their families. The fear this poor child took upon his shoulders is so great for someone so very young. I am only sick that it has had to take 25 years to get to a wide audience.

Being gay is a choice, you're not born gay. We are born with illnesses, deformities, handicaps, etc..but we are not born an abomination and that is EXACTLY what the Bible says it is. You're not going to change God's mind nor His meaning, no matter how many rights you want for gays or acceptance gays are trying to shove down our throats. God is against homosexuality in the Old and New Testaments!

This guy Bobby is unfortunately burning in hell for a: his homosexuality and b: he committed suicide. Thou shalt not commit murder and that is what suicide is, murder of oneself.

The only way he had a chance of heaven is if he believed that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and three days later was resurrected. He had to have faith in the Lord and in those beliefs. Otherwise, he stood no chance.

I'm sorry but Bobby chose a life of sin and that is what depressed him. He knew in his heart of hearts it was wrong. Bobby's mother later on conformed to fit society's ideas and that is wrong. She should have stoodfast in her beliefs but she decided to compromise and I'm sorry for that, too. See, homosexuality just brings out a bunch of heartache.

hi... u said a lot of things which u felt about being a bobby,
and i really want to let u know a few more things bible stands for. most important is love, love one another as u love ur self. u think u know a lot of things about bible , but i would like to say that if u dont know the most important message bible says....as i mentioned above, i m sorry
we can see that he tried to get rid of it.... and as we can clearly see he really loved God a lot, and his heart always wanted to escape from this temptations. but he couldnt, i can not say that its his fault.
as the story says he couldnt hurt anyone, he didnt want to make his family feels bad about him
he loved his mother, he loved every one
i envy u dear , as u dont know our God's mercy.
bobby loved every one even he was a gay, SEE he did what God really want
i am sure he is in heaven ..... with God.... for our God is mercy full towards every one.... He has no partiality as u do,
KEEP THIS IN MIND , GOD IS LOVE AND MERCY
PLEASE try to understand the bobbys who r there around u, try to feel their heart, how much they cry in their heart..... and please try to love them and accept them as what they r, so that there wont be another mother like bobby's mom, who lost her son. if some body was there to stand with him, to listen his tears we wouldnt have lost our bobby
so please accept them , so that some one may live..... maybe they live because of u.... think..... and remember this will be the most pleasing present u can give to our Lord our God who is mercy full.
Pray after u gave a hand to these poor bobbys, God will sure hear u

"BEFORE YOU ECHO AMEN IN YOUR HOME OR PLACE OF WORSHIP , THINK AND REMEMBER A CHILD IS LISTENING." - MARY GRIFFITH
i believe now u understand the meaning of this power full words, the most heart breaking words from a broken heart "of a mother"

I AM PROUD TO SAY I LOVE HER, AND HER LOVING SON BOBBY
I prey for him.......

WE MISS YOU BOBBY................................

WELL I THINK THIS GIRL ASHLEY IS A TOTAL HOMOFOBIC SHE REALLY NEED 2 TAKE A REST, VACATION 2 LAS VEGAS, WIN THE LOTTERY OR SOMETHING CAUSE WHATEVER THE BIBLE SAY U ARE WHAT U R AND IS NOT ABOUT A CHOICE TO B GAY OR NOT... WE ALL ARE HUMANS U NEVER KNOW IF UR KIDS ARE GOING 2 BE GAY OR NOT U ARE A PARENT AND WHATEVER IT HAPPENS 2 UR KID U WILL ALLWAYS LOVE HIM OR LOVE HER NO MATTER WHA... SO B SMART N AS LONGEST NO ONE BODERTHER U LIVE ANY ONE LIVE THERE LIFE AND LIVE UR OWN LIFE AND IF U WANT 2 B 24/7 READING UR BIBLE OR IN THE CHURCH LIVE THERE SO U DON'T HAVE 2 SEE WHAT'S OUT SIDE IN THIS WORLD.