‘Prayers’ answered

Gay rights crusader lands Showtime telepic

Showtime will adapt the Leroy Aarons novel “Prayers for Bobby” into a TV movie.

David Permut (“Face/Off”), Daniel Sladek (“Tale of the Mummy”) and Chris Taaffe (“Thank Heaven”) will executive produce the project, tentatively titled “Prayers.”

The telepic follows the true story of Mary Griffith, a small-town, religious housewife who became a crusader for gay and lesbian teens after her 20-year-old son Bobby committed suicide in 1983. Scribe Katie Ford (“Miss Congeniality”) will write the script.

“Mary Griffith’s brutal honesty and her ability to accept responsibility for her part in the death of her son is a true profile in courage,” Sladek said.

Aarons’ book was published by HarperCollins in 1996. The author, a former Washington Post national correspondent and executive editor of the Oakland Tribune, was founding president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Assn.

The book — full title “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son”–resonated through the gay and lesbian community and even inspired one composer to turn Bobby Griffith’s journal entries into a musical.

Susan Sarandon was originally on board to exec produce and possibly star in the telepic, which had been set up at NBC. But Sarandon and the producers later parted ways. The project eventually left the Peacock as well.

Showtime is now developing the telepic through its “Original Pictures for All Ages” banner.

“They have a tremendous history of programs like this,” Sladek said. “I think we’re in great hands here. This has been a real passion project for us. It’s not a easy movie to make, but (Showtime has) been incredibly enthusiastic.”

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