The 2009 true-story-turned-Lifetime-film, “Prayers for Bobby,” told the tale of a young gay man named Bobby Griffith who committed suicide in 1983 after coming out to his religious family. Actor Sigourney Weaver played the role of Bobby’s mother, who spent the rest of her life searching for acceptance and forgiveness after the loss of her son.
A screening of the film took place on National Coming Out Day on October 11 in New York City. Weaver attended the event and took the opportunity to speak about the film and its relevance today.
“I think that there hasn’t been as much movement as one would expect,” said Weaver. “Our country is so polarized in so many ways, especially this issue. Parts of this country are really digging in. This is the big battle, and I’m afraid it has not changed. That’s why the pope saying, ‘Let’s love each other,’ was so profound. He needs to go talk to Congress.”
Weaver pointed a finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who she called a “real dictator.”
“He was a sort of secret dictator and now, with everything he’s done, it’s radical, it’s such a frightening time. It’s happening right in front of us. It’s hard for me to believe that there’s nothing the world can’t do to save those girls [Pussy Riot] and young people. It’s crazy for someone to say: ‘You can’t be you in this country.'”
Weaver also expressed her support for a boycott of the Olympics.
“I think it’s very hard to say to these young people who’ve trained so hard that we should boycott the Olympics. But I think it’s an excellent opportunity to make it clear how the world thinks about this.”
Weaver explained that it was difficult for her to connect to her character in “Prayers for Bobby.”
“I didn’t know how I could find my way into her world. I was brought up in New York, my parents were atheists. I thought, ‘I don’t know how to get to that planet.’ Of course I managed to get there.”
She continued, “Honestly, when you meet Mary and see or hear her story, you feel, ‘We can do it.’ You think, ‘Everything will change. But will it happen fast enough?’ You can’t leave that house, with Mary and Bobby’s siblings, without wanting that to never happen to any other family again because it just doesn’t go away.”
Bobby’s real mother, Mary Griffith, eventually found understanding and became an advocate for LGBT rights and a supporter of Parents, Families, and Friends for Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) as she worked to prevent the suicides of other LGBT children.
“Prayers For Bobby” has been re-released on DVD.