Neil Patrick Harris & Ashley Judd To Star In Anita Bryant Biopic | Film News
Neil Patrick Harris and Ashley Judd have signed on to star in the biopic, Anita. The film will chronicle the life of Anita Bryant, a TV pitchwoman and singer who campaigned against local anti-discrimination ordinances in Florida, inadvertently igniting the gay rights movement.
Chad Hodge (Good Behaviour) will write and direct, with Howard Rosenman (Call Me By Your Name) producing. The project is currently being shopped at Cannes.
A singer and spokesperson for orange juice and the Florida Citrus Commission, Bryant fronted a campaign in the late 1970s called Save Our Children that advocated against rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, thankfully tanking her career in the process.
In an interesting element, Harris will actually play director Hodge, who spent significant time with Bryant at her Oklahoma home which researching the movie. Judd will play Bryant. Hodge said of the project:
“As a gay man and a writer who likes to explore complex, messy characters, I’ve always thought about Anita Bryant. How could this celebrity who espoused Christian goodness and orange juice through song suddenly use those platforms to go on a nationwide anti-gay crusade and overturn gay rights laws? I wanted to find out who Anita was, who the people around her were, and what everybody wanted out of this”.
He added that the film isn’t just recounting the past, and has contemporary resonance: “it holds up a mirror, and a warning, to our current society”.
This biopic has long gestated. Hodge previously tried to make it for HBO, while Lawrence Kasdan had one in the works for Amazon in 2018. Considering Hodge’s long process of meeting and interviewing Bryant, he seems like the best fit for the job.
Principal photography will begin in September.