It looks like Bryan Singer has not only lost the race to make a Harvey Milk biopic, he’s lost it HARD: Gus Van Sant has lined up Sean Penn to play the gay martyr and possibly Matt Damon to play his Twinkie engorged killer. Maybe.
Van Sant is looking at starting production in San Francisco in December, which is what may keep Damon out of the movie. The actor has a packed slate between now and the strike, and his first priority is to Steven Soderbergh’s The Informer, which will film from April right up to the start of the strike (assuming there is one). He also wants to do Paul Greengrass’ Imperial Life in the Emerald City, which doesn’t have a start date yet, although I would imagine that a December/January shoot for Van Sant’s untitled Milk film would step all over Greengrass, since he would have to get the movie shot before April, and it doesn’t look like it’ll go this fall.
I do hope all this scheduling works out, since I want to see Damon in all these films. And a movie with Sean Penn and Matt Damon together (although one assumes they wouldn’t have a ton of scenes together) would be amazing, no matter the subject – and this is a compelling subject (if Penn gives a good performance and doesn’t do some gay version of My Name is Sam). Interestingly, the potential casting of Damon indicates that Van Sant is going to spend a good amount of time focused on killer Dan White as well as his victims Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
In case you’re poorly educated (or haven’t read the 20 other pieces we’ve done on this movie), here’s the Wikipedia page about the killing of Harvey Milk, and why it’s important.