Gus Van Sant wants Sean Penn for Harvey Milk

Somewhere in Germany, Bryan Singer is shaking his fist at the sky and screaming, “Van Saaaaaaaaaaaant!” Why? Because Gus Van Sant has just found his dream team for the Harvey Milk biopic he’s long wanted to make. Which will annoy Singer, as he’s also been trying to launch a Milk film in the shape of The Mayor Of Castro Street.

Van Sant’s attempt doesn’t actually have a title yet, but it has a script by Justin Lance Black, financing from Groundswell Productions and a bevy of producers on board. And now, most importantly, Van Sant has announced that Sean Penn and Matt Damon will star – though the fluctuating start date (currently around December) for the film might make it tough for Damon’s already cramped schedule to stretch to.

If Van Sant has his way, Penn will star as Milk, the openly gay politician in ‘70s San Francisco who, along with Mayor George Moscone was shot in 1978 by Dan White (the part Damon is currently attached to). The assassin served five years of a seven-year jail term before committing suicide in 1985.

The most ironic part of all of this is that Van Sant actually wrote a draft of The Mayor Of Castro Street ages ago, but that project has been delayed by Bryan Singer working with writer Christopher McQuarrie (who was also supposed to be scripting Castro St) on Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. Since Singer’s likely to move onto a planned Superman Returns sequel next, it looks like Van Sant will win the battle of the Milk…

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