Sean Penn and James Franco as Lovers in Milk


Flickr user Troublepup shot these photos of Penn as Milk and James Franco as his lover Scott Smith while they were shooting a scene in the Castro. Via Observd, where you can find more. Loving the 70’s vibe, man.


Via SFist comes this shot of Sean Penn during last night’s filming of a rally scene in Milk just outside the Castro Theatre. It’s one of several march scenes to be shot.


Here, Penn holds a megaphone and shouts instructions to the crowd. You can see an even larger version of it at SFist. The Castro marquee hasn’t looked like that in a while!

Blogger Jeff Walsh writes about his experience working as an extra in this crowd scene: “So, in the first scene, the crowd is milling around Castro and Market, after an anti-gay ruling in Anita Bryant’s campaign had passed successfully. As we are angry but aimless, Sean Penn (looking pretty damn convincing as Milk, btw) jumps up onto a platform with a bullhorn, says a few words, and then jumps into the crowd, channeling our frustration into a march to City Hall (or, in movie terms, half a block down the street)….”


Castro Shopper has a great wrap-up of storefronts on Castro Street which have been altered for Milk.

GayCities recently posted this shot of Penn and Emile Hirsch, who plays activist Cleve Jones in the film:


Not too long ago Penn was directing Hirsch in Into the Wild. More at GayCities, including some shots of Gus van Sant doing the filming.

Finally, a couple shots of Sean Penn as a bearded Harvey Milk.


One on the street shot, and another campaign poster. (via /film)


Last Friday, Assemblyman Mark Leno and Equality California announced that they were introducing a measure into the legislature that would have May 22, Harvey Milk’s birthday, recognized as a non-fiscal state holiday.

Said Leno: “Harvey Milk was a true American hero. He gave hope to a generation of gay and lesbian individuals whose basic humanity and freedom had been denied and dishonored. His history is our history, and a day in his honor will preserve his legacy for generations to come. ‘Harvey Milk Day’ will provide a forum to raise public awareness of Milk’s work to extend basic human rights to all people and demonstrate that each one of us possesses the ability to create extraordinary change in our communities, our country and the world.”

‘Milk’ shoot does the Castro good [hollywood reporter]

Milk: The Transformation of Castro Street [tr]
Extras Needed for Milk March in San Francisco [tr]
First Look at Josh Brolin as SF Supervisor Dan White in Milk [tr]
Grabeel, Luna, Smith Join Milk Cast as Production Begins [tr]
EXCLUSIVE: Victor Garber, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella Join Milk [tr]
Singer’s Harvey Milk Film in Jeopardy as Van Sant’s Gains Steam [tr]


  1. Mary, Really Late Dowager Queen of the British Empire, Ireland, Empress of India, etc..... says

    Well, the beard poster is kindy scary. Nothing like topless skinny white males that says 70’s!

  2. says

    Sean Penn has long been one of our greatest actors and Harvey Milk, faults and all, is a deserved icon and hero in gay political history. I look forward to this – as I usually do when it comes to Oliver Stone films.

  3. crispy says

    Oliver Stone has nothing to do with this film… thank Gawd! Anyone who saw Alexander knows that drugs have finally fried his brain.

    It’s being directed by Gus Van Sant.

  4. Alexis says

    This film looks promising, especially with those credits. But one thing worries me, Gus Van Sant has rarely made a successful mainstream movie, apart from “Good Will Hunting”.Sure, his latest movies are excellent but they belong to an area where Gus was always in his best shape, the independent circuit. Still, it`s great to see him go back to his roots, if you consider “Milk” a part of the new queer cinema.

  5. says

    Since I only live 3 blocks away I went to check it out. It was cool to see Mark Leno,Gilbert Baker and activist Tommi Avacolli Mecca in the crowd and Sean Penn was only 5 feet away and looking good. I hope the movie does well.

  6. Greg says

    As an extra this was an awsome experience. Was lucky enough to be at the front of most scenes and get a great look at what was going on (can anyone say “back to one”)?! Many takes, but lots of fun! Also great to see the Harvey Milk doc at where else but the Castro theatre pre-filming! So glad I could be part of the re-making of a very important part of our history!

    ps..have to say all the movie staff were awsome and made everyone feel very welcome!

  7. dug says

    My boyfriend and I were also in the crowd last night and we were struck by how far we’ve actually come as a society that we are now recreating famous gay marches for entertainment purposes. It felt a little surreal to be shouting “Gay rights now!” and then stepping back a few feet to shout it all over again for another take. I can’t imagine that the original protesters (some of whom were actually in the crowd last night.) would have ever thought that some day people would be recreating that moment for a movie. It must have seemed like an impossible dream if they did. But here we are.

  8. Jeanne says

    I remember Harvey and what a great influence he was for all of us. I remember, overwhelming sadness at learning of his murder. and, pride, that his legacy is real. for all of us. No matter who we love.

    I am truly looking forward to the release of this movie.

  9. jerry pritikin says

    The image of Harvey( Penn) with the Bullhorn brought back memories for me of that eventful night. Because it was an impromptu march… there were not as many signs as shown in the current MILK movie image. All the way from the Castro to City Hall and downtown to Union Square… Harvey using the bullhorn yelled “OUT OF THE BARS AND INTO THE STREETS”. I would like to recommend visiting and see how I remembered that moment, and took a photo of Harvey at Union Sqare… that is now part of the history
    of “Orange Tuesday” June 7, 1977 and also recommend visiting the whole site at Uncle Don’s to see a treasure trove of images and stories by those lucky to be there when
    the Castro became the future gay Mecca.

  10. Big Mike says

    Hey Drap, first of all, you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full. Secondly, I can see that all of those years you spent in English class really paid off for you. LMAO!!!!!!

    Just Me, It is sick to see ANY actor playing a flaming homo. I should not have to explain such a thing to my seven year old when he sees it pasted all over every media source available. I wish you had children that YOU HOPED AND PRAYED would turn out queer so I could expose them to my straightness at every opertunity.

  11. Richie says

    to Big Mike, what are you saying ? your son is a big fan of gay cinema ? no one will see this except those who go out if their way to a serious Movie House, or rent it later. This will not be seen by random and surely uniterested youngins’

  12. JCW says

    Um…Big Mike – your kid’s got bigger problems than queer cinema – he’s got you for a father and that’s a handicap he’ll spend a lifetime overcoming.

    ‘Tis a shame no one thought to neuter you when you were young.

  13. Big Mike says

    JCW, from your warm words, I can see that your father doesn’t love you anymore. Maybe you should quit thinking about yourself long enough to try and understand WHY he hates you.

  14. Noel says

    Victor Garber, a Canadian I might add, is definitely gay. He cruised me at a restaurant in Toronto a few years ago and I met a guy who worked on the Titanic movie who said Garber was always after him. Garber is the oldest hottest gay man that I would ever do!

  15. says

    My SO and I worked as extras on the set of Milk on the 4th and the 8th. It was a very moving experience for both of us. I had sort of an opposite reaction from what Greg had WRT our progress over the past 30 years. I was reading the signs the “rioters” were holding and realizing we could be holding the same signs now–so little has changed. Also we’re dealing with the same exact issues now–we get a few measly laws in our favor and the RRRW backlash creates dozens against us–much as occurred three decades ago.

    We still have such a long road ahead of us, but I’m not about to give up the battle. I’m only going to fight harder.

  16. says

    JUST ME,

    I should think explaining the disease of bigotry to your child would be more difficult than explaining something natural like love and human sexuality. But I guess things are different for RRRW hatemongers like you, eh?

  17. JCW says

    Big Mike,

    Thanks for your concern. Actually I am blessed with parents who love and support me. I suspect that, unlike you and your significant other, my parents not being backwoods first cousins probably has a lot to do with it.

    BTW: What is some piss ignorant homophobe doing posting here anyhow? Did you get lost on your way to the Fred Phelps website?

  18. JCW says


    I’m one of the paid extras on the film and have to agree that indeed Friday night’s recreation was very moving. I was marching within four feet of both Cleve Jones and Tom Ammiano and I was nearly moved to tears
    on more than one occassion.

    Hopefully this film will go on to open a few hearts and minds, Big Mike’s included.

  19. JustCalmDown says

    Hey Big Mike,
    Now, now, there is nothing to get upset about. You just lost your way and found yourself on Towleroad, a site with gay tendencies. You don’t want to be here and we don’t want you here. It’s a win-win! You just back away from us and smile in a friendly-like way. That way you won’t get bashed by that Mr. America queer over there slapping a big piece of pipe again his palm. That’s it, everything’s cool. A bit further back, back, just a bit more —- oh my stars, he fell into traffic and was run over by a Gay Pride float. Shame,
    but those things do happen. Hey everybody, when’s lunch?

  20. DCN says

    “Secondly, I can see that all of those years you spent in English class really paid off for you.

    …at every opertunity.”

    I LOL’d.

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