Friday, January 16, 2009

Interview: Catching Up With Scott Bailey

(Photo Credit: Tom Cullis)

Scott Bailey is best known to daytime audiences for playing Sandy Foster on Guiding Light from 2003 to 2006. Now he is co-starring with Sigourney Weaver, Ryan Kelley and Susan Ruttan in the Lifetime Television original movie Prayers for Bobby. The film tells the story of Mary Griffith (Sigourney), a profoundly religious wife and mother who begins to question her faith after the suicide of her gay son, Bobby (Ryan). The movie is based on an acclaimed book of the same name written by Leroy Aarons.

Scott plays David, Bobby’s boyfriend. Scott explains: “It’s a very sad story, but it’s an important one. In this tragic tale, I think David represents hope, because he is encouraging, very accepting, very at peace with being gay. His family is also accepting, and I think that his life represents the way it should be.”

This film is a coming-of-age story that many people don’t really even have to think about until it affects them or someone they love. As Scott tells me: “As if your teenage years aren’t hard enough, imagine having to come out to your family and friends. If they don’t understand or approve of it, or their religion may tell them that you’re damned to hell because of it — I think that is one of the reasons why the gay suicide rate is four times greater than the suicide rate among straight teenagers.”

Scott had read the book a few years before, so when he learned of the movie, he jumped at the chance to be in it. “I would have loved to play Bobby, of course, but,” he adds with a laugh, “I realize I am a little too old to play him.”

But reflecting back on David, Scott is more than satisfied with playing this pivotal role: “I think this part IS me. I am an idealist, and I don’t see color or race or sexual orientation, and it is hard for me to grasp that so much prejudice exists in the world.”

Scott was on his toes working with such an impressive cast. He recalls: “On my very first day of shooting, I had to shoot some emotional scenes with Sigourney Weaver. For me, that’s like going to the World Series or something. I was so determined to bring my A-game.

“You hear about these big stars, they’re working all the time, making all this money, and you almost want to find out that they’re jerks — not Sigourney. She is an amazing actress, and she had some hard work to do in this film. She is very nice, collaborative, engaged — everything nice you could say about her, you take that and double it.”

He also enjoyed working with the rest of the cast. “The cast was amazing. Ryan did a great job, and I think it is going to be really heartbreaking.”

When all is said and done, Scott really hopes that viewers take away a few lessons from the movie: “I think movies like this need to be seen. I hope audiences learn about homosexuality and the Bible, and that by telling this we are able to increase some form of tolerance. I hope that kids out there who might be like Bobby can watch this movie, and maybe show it to their parents, so they won’t even consider suicide as an answer.”

Prayers for Bobby premieres Saturday, Jan. 24, on Lifetime Television. Check your local listings for times.