Focus Features confirmed that Gus Van Sant will start shooting the long, long gestating “Milk,” the story of Harvey Milk, the murdered gay politician. Sean Penn will star as Milk (there is a slight resemblence, no?), and previously mentioned Matt Damon will not star as his murderer. No other casting has been announced.
So the same company that brought you Jack Twist will now bring you Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America. In 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White. The Oscar-winning doc The Times of Harvey Milk highlighted the events, but this will be the first big-screen fictional account (a TV movie was made in 1999 starring good ol’ Peter Coyote as Milk. And maybe not the last, as Bryan Singer has been trying to get his project, The Mayor of Castro Street, based on Randy Shilts‘ book. According to Variety back in April of 2007, Warner Independent Prods., which brought in Singer two years ago, is near a deal with Participant Prods. to co-finance and with Chris McQuarrie to write the final draft.. But Van Sant, who has been on and off interested in this project for many years, beat Singer to it. And I wonder if Singer will bother. If anything was learned from Capote and Infamous, theres not room for duelling homo biopics (ask Baz Luhrman, he didnt even bother with his Alexander The Great film after Oliver Stone did it). Not to say I wouldn’t mind two, especially considering how many studio gay movies we’ve seen since Jack Twist (zero).