Meet the star-studded cast of movie, "Milk"

November 24, 2008 3:47:19 PM PST
"Milk", the film based on the real life story of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk opens in theaters this Wednesday. Milk was the first openly-gay major politician in the country. Actor Sean Penn as Milk and director Gus Van Sant and the star-studded cast couldn't wait to be a part of it.

Harvey Milk's campaign manager back in the 1970's was Anne Kronenberg. In the movie, she's played by actress Alison Pill. Kronenberg was key in helping Milk win his historic election as San Francisco supervisor. Afterwards, she continued to work for him as an aide and the two became close friends. Today, the real life Kronenberg is the deputy director of administration and planning for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Kronenberg stopped by The View from the Bay studio to talk about Milk and the new movie. (Watch the interview above or by clicking here.)

MILK
Focus Features
Rated: R
Opens in San Francisco on Wednesday, November 26
Opens in San Jose and Sacramento on Friday, December 5
Website: http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/film/milk/view

ABOUT THE FILM:
Gay Rights Activist. Friend. Lover. Unifier. Politician. Fighter. Icon. Inspiration. Hero. His life changed history, and his courage changed lives.

In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk under the direction of Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant in Milk, filmed on location in San Francisco from an original screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, and produced by Academy Award winners Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.

Milk charts the last eight years of Harvey Milk's life. While living in New York City, he turns 40. Looking for more purpose, Milk and his lover Scott Smith (James Franco) relocate to San Francisco, where they found a small business, Castro Camera, in the heart of a working-class neighborhood that was soon to become a haven for gay people from around the country. With his beloved Castro neighborhood and beautiful city empowering him, Milk surprises Scott and himself by becoming an outspoken agent for change. He seeks equal rights and opportunities for all, and his great love for the city and its people brings him backing from young and old, straight and gay alike - at a time when prejudice and violence against gays was openly accepted as the norm.

With vitalizing support from Scott and new friends and volunteers, Milk plunges headfirst into the choppy waters of politics. He also mentors young street activists like Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch). Bolstering his public profile with humor, Milk's actions speak even louder than his gift-of-gab words. Soon, he is known all across the city and even beyond, but his persistent determination to be a part of city government drives him and Scott apart. While making his fourth run for public office, Milk takes a new lover, Jack Lira (Diego Luna).

The latest campaign is a success, as Milk is elected supervisor for the newly zoned District 5. Milk serves San Francisco well while lobbying for a citywide ordinance protecting people from being fired because of their orientation - and rallying support against a proposed statewide referendum to fire gay schoolteachers and their supporters; he realizes that this fight against Proposition 6 represents a pivotal precipice for the gay rights movement. At the same time, the political agendas of Milk and those of another newly elected supervisor, Dan White (Josh Brolin), increasingly diverge and their personal destinies tragically converge. Milk's platform was and is one of hope - a hero's legacy that resonates in the here and now.

ANNE KRONENBERG (portrayed in Milk by Alison Pill) - Anne Kronenberg is Deputy Director for Administration and Planning of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She has been with the Department for nearly 15 years, serving in a number of previous capacities including Director of External Affairs, Public Information Officer, and Government Relations.

In her current role there, she is responsible for department-wide planning initiatives including disaster preparedness, pre-hospital emergency medical services, medical surge, multiple casualty incidents, and mass prophylaxis planning. She also has responsibility for the Department's strategic planning efforts and performance monitoring; grants management, public information, targeted case management and state and federal legislation are also within her purview.

Anne was appointed to the State Board of Podiatric Medicine in 1998, serving as the President of the Board for 3 years and Vice President for 2. Prior to her tenure with the Department of Public Health, she was Director of the San Francisco Mayor's Criminal Justice Council from 1991-1994.

She co-chaired the San Francisco Local Homeless Coordinating Board for 3 years, and has chaired the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' Single Room Occupancy Task Force since its inception in 1998. Anne has extensive government experience, having worked at the federal level for Senator Ted Kennedy; at the state level for Assemblyman John Vasconcellos; and at the local level on both the legislative and executive sides of government.

She began her long career in government service as an aide to Supervisor Harvey Milk, after having been campaign manager for his historic election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors - the first time an openly gay man had ever been voted into public office.

EMILE HIRSCH (Cleve Jones) - In 2007, Emile Hirsch garnered attention for his captivating performance in Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn (Milk). Based on the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer and adapted for the screen by Mr. Penn, Into the Wild starred Mr. Hirsch as real-life adventurer Christopher McCandless. The portrayal earned him the National Board of Review award for Breakthrough Performance by an Actor; the Rising Star Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival; Gotham and Critics' Choice Award nominations for Best Actor; and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, in the lead actor category as well as (shared with his fellow cast members) the ensemble category.

The Los Angeles native's additional film credits include two more true-life stories, Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog and Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown (opposite Heath Ledger).

Mr. Hirsch's other features include the Wachowski Brothers' Speed Racer; Dan Harris' Imaginary Heroes (with Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels); Luke Greenfield's The Girl Next Door; Michael Burke's The Mudge Boy; Michael Hoffman's The Emperor's Club; and Peter Care's The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. He has most recently filmed a role in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, also for Focus Features, with Demetri Martin.

JAMES FRANCO (Scott Smith) - James Franco's portrayal of screen legend James Dean in Mark Rydell's telefilm of the same name brought him rave reviews, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Awards, and Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Mr. Franco is well-known to movie audiences worldwide for his starring role as Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi's blockbuster Spider-Man trilogy alongside Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Willem Dafoe.

His other features include David Gordon Green's Pineapple Express, opposite Seth Rogen; Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Elah; Tommy O'Haver's An American Crime; Karen Moncrieff's The Dead Girl; Tony Bill's Flyboys; Justin Lin's Annapolis; Kevin Reynolds' Tristan + Isolde; Robert Altman's The Company; John Dahl's The Great Raid; Nicolas Cage's Sonny; Scott Kalvert's Deuces Wild; Michael Caton-Jones' City by the Sea; and, most recently, George C. Wolfe's Nights in Rodanthe, opposite Richard Gere.

On television, Mr. Franco starred in the critically acclaimed Emmy Award-winning series Freaks and Geeks. He has written, directed and starred in several short plays. With co-writer Merriwether Williams, he adapted two of them, Fool's Gold and The Ape, into same-named independently produced feature films that he directed and starred in. Mr. Franco most recently directed and starred in Good Time Max, from his and Mr. Williams' original screenplay.

JOSH BROLIN (Dan White) - Josh Brolin will next be seen starring as George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's biopic W. He most recently starred in Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director; and in Ridley Scott's blockbuster American Gangster. Mr. Brolin was a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee as part of the ensemble for the latter film, and was honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the winning ensemble for the former. He is currently producing - with Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn - a documentary entitled The People Speak, based on the latter's influential 1980 book A People's History of the United States. The feature looks at America's struggles with war, class, race, and women's rights; appearing in the documentary will be Matt Damon, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Penn of Milk, and David Strathairn, among others.

Mr. Brolin's other film credits as actor include Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Elah; Robert Rodriguez' "Planet Terror" portion of Grindhouse; John Stockwell's Into the Blue; Victor Nunez' Coastlines; Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man; James D. Stern's All the Rage; Guillermo del Toro's Mimic; David O. Russell's Flirting with Disaster; and Richard Donner's The Goonies, which marked his film debut.

In early 2008, his film directing debut, a short entitled X, which he also wrote and produced, premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival before screening at such festivals as South by Southwest and the AFI Dallas Film Festival. He also directed the behind-the-scenes documentary for the No Country for Old Men DVD.

Mr. Brolin made his mark in television starring in two Western dramas; the epic miniseries Into the West, and the popular series The Young Riders. He has also starred in the series Mister Sterling and Private Eye; in the telefilms Gang in Blue, with the late J.T. Walsh and directed by Mario and Melvin Van Peebles, and Prison for Children, directed by Larry Peerce; and in the telefilm remake of Picnic, directed by Ivan Passer. He spent five years with actor/director Anthony Zerbe at the Reflections Festival at the GeVa Theatre in Rochester, New York. While there, Mr. Brolin directed and performed in several of the festival's plays, including Pitz and Joe; Life in the Trees; Forgiving Typhoid Mary; Oh; The Innocents; Peep Hole; Ellen Universe Joins the Band; Lincoln Park Zoo; and Hard Hearts.

His additional stage work includes starring opposite Elias Koteas on Broadway in Sam Shepard's True West; appearing off-Broadway in The Exonerated; The Skin of Our Teeth, The Crucible, and A Streetca Named Desire, all at the Kennedy Memorial Theatre; A Midsummer Night's Dream, at the Lebrero Theatre; and Dark of the Moon, at the Ann Capa Ensemble Theatre.


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