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Sep 10, 2007 News: Harvey Milk to be played by Sean Penn
By Danny Sonnenschein

(USA) - Sean Penn will play Gay politician Harvey Milk in director Gus Van Sant's biopic of the popular public official. The movie will start production in San Francisco in December this year. A story in the Hollywood Reporter also claims that Matt Damon will play Dan White, who shot the San Francisco city supervisor and Mayor George Moscone in 1978. The assassin, Dan White, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Outrage over the mild verdict led to the White Night Riots in San Francisco. White committed suicide in 1985 after serving five years of his seven-year sentence.

Harvey MilkThe movie is financed by Michael London and the Groundswell Prods. Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen will adopt a script by Dustin Lance Black (Big Love). According to Hollywood Reporter, the filmmakers are now in talks with a ''leading specialty division,'' to accomplish a contract on the project which has not yet been titled.

Harvey Milk at first unsuccessfully ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors twice, in 1973 and 1975. He then became the leader of San Francisco's large Gay community, and was known as the "Mayor of Castro Street," a title which reportedly coined himself. With each campaign, he gained a growing number of supporters.

In acknowledgment of Milk's base of support, Mayor George Moscone appointed him to the powerful Board of Permit Appeals in 1976. Milk lost his seat after just five weeks when he announced his candidacy for the California State Assembly. Milk's concurrence in that race was Art Agnos, who won the assembly seat by 3,600 votes out of 33,000 ballots cast. Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors on his third attempt in 1977, and became the first openly Gay elected official of any large city in the United States, and only the third openly Gay elected official in all of the US, after Kathy Kozachenko and Elaine Noble. Milk represented District 5, which included the Castro. In his eleven months as a Supervisor, he sponsored a Gay rights bill for the City and was also instrumental in defeating Proposition 6, backed by State Senator Briggs, which would have make it legal to fire Gay teachers to on grounds of their sexuality. In November 1978, Proposition 6 was voted down in California. Milk was also successful in reaching out and making alliances among the city's ethnic populations and among labor union leaders.

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