The SF Chronicle: Recreating History with Milk


The SF Chronicle has a great piece about the shooting of Gus van Sant’s Milk which includes this anecdote about the final days of production:

“Appearing on the City Hall steps to deafening applause, Penn looked shockingly like Milk. He had his almost Grecian nose and dark wavy hair parted to one side and wore a tight T-shirt that showed off his muscles. ‘Brothers and sisters, you must come out to your parents,’ Penn/Harvey shouted, pronouncing his vowels distinctly to sound like a New Yorker. ‘It may hurt them. But think how they could hurt you in the voting booth.’ Penn would do eight takes of this speech all to loud applause from an indefatigable crowd, including people who had stood in the same spot 30 years ago listening to Milk urge gays to protect their rights from those trying to get gay-friendly legislation repealed. A dozen rows back from Penn, John Hershey, 63, started crying. Milk had influenced him to come out to his family, Hershey recalled. ‘This is an important thing for me because I want all the kids to know what Harvey did,’ he said…

…A production assistant followed Penn around the front of City Hall with a large navy blue umbrella. She held it over his head to shield him from the sun. Seeing he had a captive audience, Penn broke loose of the umbrella to deliver an impromptu speech that Milk would have loved. ‘I almost wish Jerry Falwell were alive to see this. Almost,’ Penn shouted to the crowd. After dropping some names of conservatives who are still with us – ‘Bill O’Reilly, who is too stupid to talk about,’ and “Sean Hannity, the butt boy of Rupert Murdoch,” Penn said, ‘We know something more. We know their end is near.'”

It’s a wrap – ‘Milk’ filming ends in S.F. [sf chronicle]
(image Kat Wade, sf chronicle)

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