Harvey Milk Biopic to Premiere Tonight at Castro Theatre

Reuters today reported on some of the marketing strategies behind Gus van Sant’s Milk, which has its debut tonight in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre.

Milk2Said a source involved with the film: “The best way to help this film win over a mainstream audience is to avoid partisanship, and the best way to avoid partisanship is to let people find out about the film from the film itself.”

Reuters reports: “At a recent Vegas test-screening for a middle-class, straight audience, several senior citizens tried to leave after a gay love scene in the early moments but couldn’t because they were trapped in the middle of a row (near Focus production chief John Lyons, in fact). The seniors eventually said they were happy that they stayed, but, like independent voters in an election contest, these are the viewers Focus must woo.”

In related news, L.A.-based producer Howard Rosenman (Breakfast with Scot, The Celluloid Closet, Father of the Bride) wrote a piece for The Daily Beast about his acting debut in the film. Rosenman plays David Goodstein, whom he describes as “a rich, gay New York Jew who moved to San Francisco in the early ‘70s and became a political kingmaker.”

Milk460Rosenman writes: “Sean entered, wearing a long, curly brown wig and brown contact lenses, the spitting image of the Jewish hippie-ish Harvey Milk: sexy, handsome, and dangerous. He glanced at me and immediately discerned the terror in my eyes. Very quietly, practically soto voce, he leaned into me: ‘You have nothing to worry about. I’ve only played gay once in my life and that was in Albert Innaurato’s The Transformation of Benno Blimpie and that was on the stage when I was really young. I’ve never played gay on screen. So here’s the deal: You have my back and I have your back and we’ll both get through this together.'”

In other news, folks who have seen the film are beginning to buzz about it. Brendan Lemon writes: “My friend Hal Rubenstein, the fashion director of InStyle, saw an advance screening of ‘Milk’ today. His verdict: ‘I haven’t been as emotionally affected so much by any movie in years.'”

Yesterday I reported that a streetcar will be dedicated to Harvey Milk today. CBS5: “The dedication of the No. 1051 streetcar will be held at 11 a.m. on 17th Street between Market and Castro streets. Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty, Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford, Market Street Railway Board of Directors President Rich Laubascher, Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk and many of Harvey Milk’s friends are scheduled to attend.”

Here are a couple recent large articles on the Milk movie that may interest you as well:

The Whole Milk [san francisco magazine]
Hollywood pays tribute to a gay hero. But 30 years on his legacy is in peril [guardian]