Official First Look: Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

May 8, 2008

Official First Look: Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

Well, it's not exactly the very first look - there has been many quick citizen photographers in San Francisco - but moreso the first official photo of Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay big city official that was elected in 1977 and then assassinated in 1978. Milk's story is being adapted for the big screen by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester), titled just Milk, which just finished filming and is due out November 26th later this year. Here's the photo straight from with a few more new details.

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

The self-described "Mayor of Castro Street" and Mayor George Moscone were killed by rival politico Dan White. White had recently resigned his city supervisor position at the time, only to quickly ask Moscone for it back. The Mayor instead decided to fill the vacancy with Milk. On the morning the official announcement was to be made, White shot both Milk and Moscone at San Francisco's City Hall. He turned himself in shortly thereafter.

The subsequent trial of White served to be equally intriguing. Among the typical legal maneuverings, White actually claimed that Twinkies exacerbated his already depressed state, which notoriously became known as the "Twinkie Defense." Ultimately, White was convicted yet gently sentenced due to his "diminished capacity." Various fallout followed, such as the White Night Riots and the abolishment of the traditional diminished capacity defense.

Van Sant's biopic sounds like it's going to be big. Not only is the subject matter pretty damn interesting, but you have Sean Penn in the lead. Rounding out the cast is Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Speed Racer), James Franco (Spider-Man) and Josh Brolin (No County for Old Men) as the assassin, Dan White. Interestingly, director Bryan Singer (Valkyrie) had plans (and still may) to adapt the story, calling it The Mayor of Castro Street instead, lead by Steve Carell, but it appears Van Sant beat him to it. And beat him to it good. Thoughts so far on Milk?

Find more posts: First Look, Movie News



I'm glad Van Sant got to it before Singer. Carell in the lead as a serious actor? No thank you. And does anyone else think of Heat whenever reading or hearing "Van Sant"?

Les on May 8, 2008


The title kind of makes me nauseous when i consider it's subject matter...

Alex on May 8, 2008


Not as much a Van Sant fan as a Sean Penn fan, especially after 'Into The Wild', which is one of my top ten best films EVAR. I'm hoping some of his good karma for that film might wander over into his acting only gig for this film.

William Mize on May 8, 2008


I like Gus Van Sant, I trust his instincts and filmmaking so this will be a true representation of the story. Bryan Singer, as long as he can get naked boys on the screen he'll do it.

Scorpio on May 8, 2008


Alex, what is it about the title that makes you "nauseous"? Hmm, could it be you're associating Milk's name with the icky, milky-white color of sperm? Why not go and "free associate" with your nearest psychiatrist; homophobia is curable. I wonder what it is you ejaculate when performing your Church-approved, monogamous, heterosexual intercourse (missionary position and in wedlock only, please!), nothing but hot air? As usual, gay men and lesbians, who pose a direct threat to heterosexual supremacy/patriarchy, are reduced to their sexuality, while people like you blithely choose to ignore all the socio-political ramifications of gay men and lesbians having to live in a hostile society violently sustained and upheld by people like you, and which still panders to every thinkable whim of the white heterosexual male. To help pop the balloon of your inflated straight ego, I'd like to quote Sigmund Freud in his “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” from 1905: “Psychoanalytic investigation very strongly opposes the attempt to separate homosexuals from other persons as a group of a special nature. By also studying sexual excitations other than the manifestly open ones it discovers that all men are capable of homosexual object selection and actually accomplish this in the unconscious. ... In the psychoanalytic sense the exclusive sexual interest of the man for the woman is also a problem requiring an explanation, and is not something that is self-evident and explainable on the basis of chemical attraction.” In the anthology “Heterosexuality,” [GMP Publishers Ltd, London, 1987], Gillian E. Hanscombe supports Freud's claim as to heterosexuality's being learned, unnatural behavior: “We do not live in a world of alternative sexual preferences, within which we cry out for acceptance as a misjudged minority. ... Whether we will it or not, we are subversives, claiming by our existence and our utterance that heterosexuality is no more ‘natural’ than the feudal system ever was. ... Heterosexuals are actually monosexual: one-eyed people for whom heterosexuality is self-deluding, a shield which allows the most inordinate forms of self-indulgent subjectivity.” How does it feel, Alex, to be forced, probably for the first time in your life, to defend your "heterosexual lifestyle"?

Dean Hutchinson on Jul 28, 2008


Wow Dean, tell us how you really feel

robert on Jul 29, 2008


I was standing outside of city hall that morning. I think that you are all crude, rude and thoroughly unattractive. Those gun shots are burned into my memory and you are all shit!

Lawrence Martin Forsyth on Oct 21, 2008

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