Penn and Damon Got Milk


A movie about Harvey Milk (pictured here) — the gay San Francisco supervisor who, along with Mayor George Moscone, was murdered in 1978 — has been announced so many times that it’s inviting bad luck to announce it yet again. But director Gus van Sant says he is going to make the film with Sean Penn attached as Milk and Matt Damon as Milk’s killer, Dan White. Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks, who produced “American Beauty,” would produce the Milk movie. Production could begin in San Francisco in December.

For the record, Penn has never portrayed an openly gay character onscreen, but he did play the sexually ambiguous Olivia Newton-John impersonator “Groovin’ Larry” in a section of Trent Harris’ 2001 cult hit “Beaver Trilogy.” Penn’s video short was shot in 1981, then combined with Harris’ 1979 documentary short on the amateur performer and his 1985 short narrative version “The Orkly Kid,” starring Crispin Glover as Larry, to create “Beaver.” Damon has played gay before in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and when I interviewed him for that movie he and I happened to talk about Dan White. If Damon ends up playing White I’ll have to find those comments in the archive.

Director Bryan Singer is also attached to a Harvey Milk movie, but Singer is busy in Germany right now with his Tom Cruise-led “Valkyrie” movie.

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