Film | Gus van Sant | Harvey Milk | San Francisco

Milk Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black Spills

The Bay Area Reporter interviews Dustin Lance Black who wrote the script for Milk, the Gus van Sant biopic about the slain civil rights supervisor, who, if you're a regular reader here, you've already heard much about.

LbSays Black: "When I was in high school, we moved from Texas to Salinas, California. My stepdad had been transferred to Fort Ord. I started getting into theatre and acting, working at The Western Stage down in the Salinas-Monterey area, coming up [to San Francisco] for TV auditions, and getting to know, for the first time in my life, out gay men. It was the late 80s, early 90s, it wasn't a hopeful time in San Francisco. The one story of hope you did hear was about Harvey Milk, this one man who accomplished so much in a short period of time, and was really the charismatic leader that people were looking for when I was here. In college, when I first saw a copy of the documentary [The Times of Harvey Milk], I remember just breaking down into tears. I thought, 'I just want to do something with this, why hasn't someone done something with this?'...Texas kept me very quiet. I became intensely shy, I had thoughts of suicide. I was a pretty dark kid, because I had an acute awareness of my sexuality, and was absolutely convinced that I was wrong. In his Hope Speech, Harvey Milk says, 'There's that kid in San Antonio, and he heard tonight that a gay man was elected to public office, and that will give him hope.' And when I first heard that speech, it really did that. It really, really gave me hope, for the first time."

Much more at the Reporter.

How He Got Milk [bay area reporter]

Previously
Josh Brolin on Tackling the Role of Milk Assassin Dan White [tr]
James Franco Hangs on to Milk Mustache [tr]
Milk in Action on Castro Street [tr]
Sean Penn and James Franco as Lovers in Milk [tr]
Milk: The Transformation of Castro Street [tr]

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Comments

  1. "It was the late 80s, early 90s, it wasn't a hopeful time in San Francisco."

    I always remembered that era as the beginning of hope. ACT UPs sprung up across the world; QueerNation came into being. And we were dancing in the streets of SF.

    Posted by: Lito S | Feb 21, 2008 4:16:58 PM


  2. He's adorable. Looks 17 for gods sake. I hope this movie turns out well.

    Posted by: secretagentman | Feb 21, 2008 4:28:18 PM


  3. Sorry to learn from the full article that Black has apparently left out any mention of Craig Rodwell, a young New York gay activist who was briefly lovers with Milk when Milk still lived in NYC, worked on Wall Street, and had been a Goldwater supporter.

    Craig, while imperfect as we all are, opened the first "serious" gay bookstore, the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, in 1967, and helped organize the first gay pride parade in 1970.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 21, 2008 5:42:25 PM


  4. find disney-channel-auditions here http://www.disney-channel-auditions.com
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    Posted by: vicky | Feb 25, 2008 3:35:10 AM


  5. There's a slight mistake in Dustin Black's quoting Harvey Milk's "Hope Speech" in the BAR interview... Harvey spoke about the kid in Altoona, Pa. not San Antonio. The best thing about making the "MIILK" Movie... is the fact, too many kids and adults today never heard of Harvey Milk. Harvey was not a Saint... but he was real and at the right time. However, he made progress working with unions, and non-gays not only in his district but throughout the city and beyond. He may have been the first openly gay politician elected in the country but a great Ambassador of Goodwill
    for Gay causes...then and NOW!

    Posted by: jerry pritikin | Mar 8, 2008 1:14:05 PM


  6. There's a slight mistake in Dustin Black's quoting Harvey Milk's "Hope Speech" in the BAR interview... Harvey spoke about the kid in Altoona, Pa. not San Antonio. The best thing about making the "MIILK" Movie... is the fact, too many kids and adults today never heard of Harvey Milk. Harvey was not a Saint... but he was real and at the right time. However, he made progress working with unions, and non-gays not only in his district but throughout the city and beyond. He may have been the first openly gay politician elected in the country but a great Ambassador of Goodwill
    for Gay causes...then and NOW!

    Posted by: jerry pritikin | Mar 8, 2008 1:14:09 PM


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