In today's Los Angeles Times entertainment awards section, The Envelope, Gus Van Sant is among the directors given the opportunity to highlight one "clincher" scene in their film. Read the following to see which Milk scene Van Sant selected.
Gus Van Sant doesn't pretend that his Harvey Milk is necessarily the "real" Harvey Milk, even though it creates the air of authenticity. "It's a political pantomime. It's like a puppet. It's a fake. It's fake. It's fake."
This said, he seems happy with a scene that deftly captures the dichotomy of Milk's life, and how the personal and the political intersect and collide.
Set in Milk's Castro Street camera shop, the locus of his political campaign, the scene features Milk (Sean Penn) and his scrappy political team rejoicing over the San Francisco Chronicle's endorsement. As the group disperses out the door, Milk, who's been listening to opera, meets Jack Lira (Diego Luna), an adorable and vulnerable man who's literally stumbling down the street.
The apolitical, high-strung Lira and Milk became an odd couple, though, as Van Sant says, Milk "didn't necessarily choose his boyfriends because they helped him write speeches. I think [Lira] was just not into the politics, not into Harvey running, not into him being in City Hall. He wanted to go on game shows with Harvey because Harvey could answer the questions on 'Jeopardy.' "
In other Milk news, the New York Film Critics Circle just awarded the film Best Picture, Sean Penn Best Actor, and Josh Brolin Supporting Actor!
If you still haven't had a chance to get to the cinema and live in the Los Angeles area, call 818-777-4609 to RSVP for a free screening taking place this Sunday the 14th. The show starts at 3PM at the Harmony Gold Theatre (7655 Sunset Blvd.) and will be followed by a Q&A with Brolin. Note that your RSVP does not guarantee a seat, so show up early!