Author Topic: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education  (Read 9577 times)

Offline David In Indy

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"Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« on: January 24, 2009, 02:38:50 am »
"Prayers For Bobby" will be airing on Lifetime tonight (January 24) at 9:00 pm Eastern.

Some of us will be gathering in the Movie Chat room. Please stop by and join us....

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,29675.380.html






A straight actor's gay education: Scott Bailey on his "Prayers for Bobby" experience


Being as how our hearts are about as soft as cashew brittle, it's not often that something comes along that warms us up enough to tease a gentle "Awwww..." from our lips.

But when actor Scott Bailey's publicist sent us an essay that he'd written about his experience playing the boyfriend of Bobby Griffith in the true-life tearjerker Prayers for Bobby, that's pretty much what happened.

I was originally going to excerpt the essay here for you to read, but I'm actually posting it in its entirety below, because it's kinda too precious for words.

PRAYERS FOR BOBBY: A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE.

Yes, Prayers for Bobby will air on LIFETIME starting Jan 24th but the title is more than just clever wordplay: it is my heartfelt truth!   It feels like a miracle that such a timely and meaningful film has come to fruition and I am beyond honored to have been a part of it.   

FROM REAL LIFE STORY TO BOOK TO FILM: Prayers for Bobby is based upon the true story and critically acclaimed book by Leroy Aarons about a young gay man, Bobby (played by a heartbreaking Ryan Kelley), who because of his religious beliefs and family pressure, sets out to cure himself of being gay.  The attempted cure tragically ends with his suicide which instigates questioning by his mother, Mary Griffith (played powerfully by Sigourney Weaver), of her blind-faith regarding homosexuality.  She eventually becomes a gay rights activist and attempts to break this cycle of needless tragedy by telling her story.  Mr. Aarons read bout Mary's heartbreak in an article in his local paper, contacted her and she shared with him Bobbyıs journals which chronicled his struggle.  From that moment on, Mr. Aarons knew he had to write this story.

Twelve years ago,  a young gay man who had recently "come out" to his own family came across this book at a bookstore in West Hollywood.  This man was so moved by the story that he enlisted his producing partner in the journey to make it a movie for all to see.  For eleven years they doggedly pursued the development of the movie at multiple studios and networks all the while handing out copies of the book to anyone interested.  I received a copy after having luckily run into these men in the frozen yogurt aisle in Ralph's grocery store.   I wept like a baby while reading it and have since become a friends with and a huge fan of Chris Taaffe and Daniel Sladek, the passionate executive producers of this film, great guys, and two of the most remarkable human beings I have ever met!!

Last April , the movie was green lit at Lifetime and Sigourney Weaver was set to star as Mary Griffith.  I was lucky enough to audition for and eventually get to play the role of David, Bobby's loving boyfriend who represents hope in the embodiment of a young gay man with supportive parents who is at peace with homosexuality.   In June, I flew out to Detroit for 3 weeks to play the most meaningful role in my career, act with amazing actors such as Sigourney and Ryan, play my first gay character and for the first time in my life: kiss another guy! 

AN IMPORTANT FILM!

I will never forget the energy and emotion on the set while filming Prayers for Bobby. The poignancy and importance of this story fueled a reverence and passion amongst producers, actors and crew alike which resulted in the most visceral movie-making I have ever experienced!  Many people involved had experienced similar hardships "coming out" and all were united in wanting to open hearts and minds toward an understanding of homosexuality.   

It was admittedly a learning experience even for me, an actor, living in Hollywood, with many close gay friends.  I learned that the suicide rate is 4 TIMES  higher amongst gay teens than straight teens.  I also learned that homosexuality is definitely not a "choice" or "preference" or even something that can be taught yet it is widely feared and viewed askance!  Hopefully, films like this can reveal the ongoing discrimination for what it is, show examples of how life can be, and by doing so provide a beacon of hope to homosexuals and their families.

A PRESCIENT FILM!

This past November we elected the first African American President of the United States of America.  In that same election, California passed Proposition 8 which basically repeals the right of homosexual marriage.  In the 60's the interracial parents of our new President Barack Obama were not legally allowed to marry, segregation was rampant, and the 14th amendment of the U.S constitution, in particular the guarantee to equal protection under the law, was denied to African American citizens.   This same 14th amendment is being denied to our homosexual citizens today and I feel it is an extremely prescient time to stand up and express my disapproval.   I am reminded that "All it takes for evil to flourish is for enough good me to do nothing!"  As an actor, I am doing what I can by portraying characters like David and promoting films such as Prayers for Bobby which have the power to educate, enlighten and save lives.

WHO AM I?

I am Scott Bailey, proud American, actor, writer, artist, engineer and the kind of guy who strives to stand up for what is right and to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.   I try to live by the principle my grandfather, Bill J. Bailey, instilled in me: "Always leave a place better off than when you arrived." I  am a descendent of John Alden who came over on the Mayflower and I can only imagine the kind of courage it took to risk life and family in the pursuit of the freedom we now enjoy.  I am also a huge admirer of our founding fathers who risked their own power, wealth, and lives to stand up against a tyrannical government.   

Growing up I had few examples of homosexuality: Liberace, Robin Williams in The Birdcage, Seinfeld's oft repeated stance "not that there is anything wrong with that...", and the occasional "that's gay!" comment.  I donıt even remember knowing any gay people until I moved to Los Angeles.  I do, however, remember the first time I heard the comment "that's so gay!" when I was with a gay friend.  I remember it because I felt a sense of injustice and later embarrassment for not saying anything.  Thereafter I decided that I would never "not say anything" again!! Today, I know enough gay people to know that there is no difference, they are as "normal" as anyone else and simply have a different sexuality.

I AM PROUD TO BE A PART OF THIS FILM AND I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT. I am Scott Bailey and I am here to recruit you!! You may recognize that line from Harvey Milk, the first openly gay publicly elected official in the U.S. who recruited people to stand up for their own rights.  He then proceeded to lead by example.  I'd like to recruit you to watch this film and similarly stand up for what you think is right. 

As a straight white guy I think it is right and important for me to stand up for the minority, don't you?  I hope I'd have stood up to give my seat to Rosa Parks, don't you?  I hope if I'd been a founding father I would have risked my life to create a better future, don't you?  I hope if I'd been around during WWII that I wouldıve volunteered to fight for freedom, don't you?  In this day and age I am proud to see an African American President, not merely because he is black but because he was the best man for the job, aren't you? I am also very disappointed that anyone in this great country is discriminated against, aren't you?  I therefore think it is a moral imperative that movies like Prayers for Bobby are made and seen! DON'T YOU?!

Link To Article









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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 02:54:27 am »
Wow. That guy Scott is what I call a Real Man!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline David In Indy

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 03:11:12 am »
I totally agree Lee! I will remember what he said tomorrow when I watch the movie. Will you be joining us tomorrow?

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Offline delalluvia

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 06:30:12 pm »
Is the guy in the reddish shirt really thin or is it just the camera angle?

Offline jstephens9

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 11:19:26 am »
Wow. That guy Scott is what I call a Real Man!

Wow David thank you for posting that article by Scott Bailey. Yes I agree Lee, he is a Real Man. I found out last night while reading about the people who portrayed the characters in the movie that Scott plays a regular role in "The Guiding Light." So I may have to start recording that along with "As The World Turns" which I have been recording for several years. I never was a big soap opera fan, but I have to support shows and people who shed positive light on important matters. "As The World Turns" has certainly done that!!!

Offline jstephens9

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 11:24:02 am »
Is the guy in the reddish shirt really thin or is it just the camera angle?

Are you talking about Austin Nichols who plays Bobby's older brother? If so it was obviously just the camera angle. I don't know if all of you know this, but he played in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" with Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact at one point Austin and Jake were rumored to be in a relationship. However, they are just very good friends and apparently still are.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2009, 01:57:05 pm »
Are you talking about Austin Nichols who plays Bobby's older brother? If so it was obviously just the camera angle. I don't know if all of you know this, but he played in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" with Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact at one point Austin and Jake were rumored to be in a relationship. However, they are just very good friends and apparently still are.

Yes.  OK, thanks, yeah I recall Austin Nichols is.  I was just wondering if AIDS played a part in the movie because wow he looked really thin - and from the two year old pics I remember seeing of Austin Nichols, he was a big sturdy guy.

Offline southendmd

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 02:05:02 pm »


The skinny guy on the left is Ryan Kelley (Bobby) and the guy on the right is the author Scott Bailey (David).

Austin Nichols plays Bobby's older brother Ed and is still a big, sturdy guy.

AIDS is mentioned a few times, on the news as a "gay" disease, and Bobby's mother sends him a pamphlet on AIDS as "God's wrath", but otherwise does not feature in the film.

Offline jstephens9

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 04:30:07 pm »
Oh sorry, you were talking about Bobby in the movie. At the beginning of the movie his older brother is running around with a pocketbook and from what I remembered he looks slim. However, Austin Nichols is definitely a big, sturdy guy.

Offline loneleeb3

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Re: "Prayers For Bobby" - A Straight Actor's Gay Education
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 11:45:28 am »
What an awesome essay!
i wish more would take that public of a stance.
growing up in a strict Southern Baptist home and community I can really relate to a lot of the movie.
"The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear"

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