Van Sant & Penn Locked For Milk

Academy Award-nominated director Gus Van Sant will commence production in January on the biographical drama “Milk,” to star Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk.

Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White.

Matt Damon was previously attached to co-star as Dan White, but he pulled out in mid-September because of scheduling conflicts. Shooting will take place on location in San Francisco.

The project is one of two rival long-gestating biopics about the man, the other being the Bryan Singer-directed “The Mayor of Castro Street” which has been in development for 15 years.