Milk Curdling?

Celebs and Media

Love it or hate it, here comes the Harvey Milk movie.

The debate rages. Is it right to have a straight actor portray the most political gay icon in American history? It was eventually widely accepted that two straight actors “bravely” portrayed fictional cowboys and removed us from their stereotypes in Brokeback Mountain, but will it be correct for a heterosexual to portray this gay icon, this historical figure and not know the nuances of being gay? Not having struggled with their sexuality in their lifetime, how can Sean Penn correctly portray Milk? Is Penn on the verge of taking the role of effete Milk over the top like he did in “I Am Sam” (a borderline offensive portrayal of a mentally deficient man)?

Guardedly, I am going to say “no”. The trailer seems to keep Sean in check with his mannerisms, nothing too outrageous, but time will tell. I am quite excited that Gus Van Sant is directing this and might wipe the embarrassment of that Psycho remake from ’98 off his books and put him back on credible film making again.

Early rumours say this movie is going to be important, which is a shame. It’s timing sucks. I get the feeling it really should have been released 10 days ago, before the vote for Prop 8 was so contentiously decided upon (and is still being felt like a stinging slap on a lot of Californian Democrat faces). However, I doubt a lot of Republicans or right-winged religious types would base themselves to see it. Still, positive press of a touching, intelligent biopic might have swayed at least one to go see it. And who knows? Would that have helped?

9 thoughts on “Milk Curdling?

  1. Pingback: Dead Robot » The Best of 2008

  2. cb

    I won’t be seeing this film. I hate “based on a true story” bio-pics.

    I’d much rather just research the work of Mr. Milk.

  3. Dead Robot

    Rob: I heard it a bit different: “I just popped my gay cherry by kissing and man and thought of you…”

    I like Sean Penn, don’t get me wrong, but when I saw the trailer, I thought of that Tropic Thunder quote:

    Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.
    Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?
    Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, “I Am Sam.” Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed…

  4. Dead Robot

    Don: I know of only one fully out gay actor successfully pulling off a straight role: Neil Patrick Harris. Probably because the character he plays is so cartoony, and he’s got good handlers.

    I’m hearing Sean Penn’s lilting voice and getting nervous, that’s all.

    Romach: I do too. And he’s taken on interesting stuff too, so I will deffo see this movie.

  5. SharkBoy

    You can’t change the world, but you can change the facts, when you change the facts, you change points of view, when you change points of view, you may change a vote, when you change a vote, you may change the world… oh wait, Depeche Mode already said that…

  6. romach

    I a have a lot of respect for Gus Van Sant so hopefully he has done a good job with this. I always liked Sean Penn too so will have to wait and see.

  7. Don

    Is there really controversy? If so, why is that? No one gets upset when gay actors portray straight characters in movies. Unless of course they are not pulling it off.

  8. Rob Campbell

    Dead Robot.
    I heard that after kissing James Franco for six hours one night in repeated takes Sean Penn texted Madonna and said ‘I’ve just done everything you wanted me to do when we were married.’ but I don’t know if that’s true or not… I still fondly think of Sean Penn as Spicoli and I try to forget the Vietnam movie… I’ve already forgotten the title.

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