In the ‘90s the director Gus Van Sant did the hottest thing by putting Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix together in the tail of two male hustlers in My Own Private Idaho, still considered a gay cult classic. He must have a thing for bringing formerly untouchable straight actors into gay storylines as he’s done it again, this time with actors Sean Penn and Matt Damon who will star in a film about Harvey Milk.
Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay officials to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him America’s first openly gay politician.
The movie, which will follow Harvey Milk’s life up until the moment in 1978 when he was shot dead in San Francisco alongside the city’s Mayor George Mascone, is to be directed by Gus Van Sant and to be produced by Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks from a script by Dustin Lance Black, of Big Love fame.
Milk was adopted as a martyr by the gay rights movement in America and even seemed to anticipate his own assassination as can be heard on an audio tape which was released after Milk’s death where he said, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Damon is apparently favoured to play Dan White, Milk’s killer. White was a disgruntled former Supervisor of the board of San Francisco whose short sentence of seven years behind bars, which was cut short due to his own suicide, caused an uprising by the San Francisco gay community in which 160 people were injured.
Unfortunately the uncertain start date may affect Matt Damon’s involvement with the film.
But in a twist that recalls the two films that told the same story about Truman Capote last year, director Bryan Singer is also reportedly preparing to make a film of the Harvey Milk story. Who gets there first and who does it best will be interesting to see, as it sounds like a fascinating story.