Hollywood actor Uma Thurman is set to star as anti-gay Christian activist Anita Bryant, in a film about her life.
The Kill Bill actress will take on the role of Bryant, a former celebrity singer and orange juice spokeswoman-turned-anti gay crusader, who campaigned virulently in favour of repealing a Dade County, Florida ordinance, which protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
She severely damaged her showbusiness career in the process of her anti-gay campaigns.
Reports suggest the film, the screenplay is written by Chad Hodge, will show the character Bryant facing her anti-gay past, when she allows a gay screenwriter into her home.
Hodge, on undertaking the project back in 2010, said he was aiming for a “nuanced” portrayal of the Christian activist, said: “She is a fascinating person on every single level. The twists and turns of her life are incredible.”
The film, named Anita, is being produced by Sex and the City’s Darren Star, who is gay, Howard Rosenman, Jeffrey Schwarz and Dennis Erdman.
Bryant was born to a religious family in Oklahoma in 1940 and began making her name as a beauty queen in the 1950s.
She had a number of hits as a singer and became a celebrity spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, with the tagline: “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine.”
Bryant became a controversial figure in the 1970s, when she rallied against a Miami-Dade ordinance outlawing discrimination against gays. The ordinance was not reinstated until 1998.
Leading a coalition called Save Our Children, which encouraged other cities to protest anti-discrimination measures, she claimed that gays would “recruit” children.
She said at the time: “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.”
Another of Bryant’s comments was: “If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St Bernards and to nail biters.”
She successfully repealed the Miami-Dade ordinance and Save Our Children was heralded as the beginning of anti-gay activism.
In response to the movement, gay bars across America boycotted orange juice.
Bryant eventually lost her Florida Citrus Commission deal and filed for bankruptcy. She now lives with her second husband and runs Anita Bryant Ministries.