Anita Bryant

AP Photo

Anita Bryant may be ready for her close-up.

Not only is HBO developing a movie about the singer turned antigay crusader's life, but she and her husband, Charlie Dry, have actually met with the film's screenwriter.

No biggie, right?


The writer is Chad Hodge, who happens to be openly gay.

"I went to Oklahoma and spent three days with her and Charlie," Hodge told me at GLSEN's Respect Awards. "I was the first gay man—gay person!—she agreed to talk to in 33 years."

For those who may not know, Bryant is a former Miss America runner-up and pop vocalist from the 1950s and '60s. She was most famous for being the celebrity face of the orange juice industry until she attracted much controversy in 1977 for leading the successful fight to overturn Dade County, Fla.'s ordinance that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

News footage of her was used throughout the Oscar-winning Milk. Now 71, Bryant runs a ministry from an office she shares with her husband in Oklahoma City.

"She was panicked to meet me and I was panicked to meet her," said Hodge, who most recently was executive producer of The Playboy Club.

The two eventually warmed to each other. "We talked about everything," Hodge said. "Religion, homosexuality, her life and every detail of her life. I mean, everything! She really opened up to me. It started very standoffish...but then it slowly took a turn and she opened up and cried to me."


Hodge smiled, "Turns out she wants a gay best friend just like everyone else."

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