Harvey Milk Movie "Milk" San Francisco, The Castro District 2.4.08
Gus Van Zandt is directing Sean Penn, who is performing the role of Harvey Milk, the first openly Gay politician elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Supervisor Milk was assassinated in SF City Hall, minutes after Mayor George Moscone was murdered by Dan White who had recently resigned as a SF Supervisor. The dual assassinations occurred mid-morning on November 28. 1978. I was an extra tonight in the movie "Milk" now being filmed in the historical Castro District of San Francisco. Extras were invited to a screening of the Academy Award winning Best Documentary of 1984, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk directed by Rob Epstein. Today I visited the camera shop location that was a very high end gift shop in December 2007and is now a re-created version of the camera shop, the way it looked when Harvey Milk owned the camera shop. The Camera Shop was the site of Milk's campaign headquarters for all the elections he ran in before winning on his 4th attempt, the SF Supervisor office. I worked in a boutique across the street from Harvey Milk's Camera Shop in those years and the transformation was perfect. They changed a few other shops back to the late 1970's, specifically the record shop Aquarius Records circa 1975-78. The principal friends and survivors of Harvey's circle of concerned torchbearers are very pleased with the production and evolution of this very important and long awaited film. Sean Penn was amazing to see perform as Harvey. He was not present at the screening of Epstein's Life and Times of Harvey Milk but Van Zandt and other notable actors, politicians and friends of HArvey spoke to all the extras this evening. The Gay Marching Band and The Gay Men's Chorus entered the Castro Theater with the house lights still down at the end of the documentary rolling credits, marched down the aisles playing and singing "If you Could See Me Now". all ending up on stage singing as a cap to the first phase of the evening. All the extras were supposed to be dressed in 1978 clothes, no water bottles, cell phones, cameras, so no picture of Sean as Harvey ! If I was only allowed to be in one movie in my life time this is the one. It took 14 years for Gus Van Zandt to work out the details and get this party started. I felt very humbled by the experience, to have been a part of this history and living long enough to see it be made into art 30 years later.
Nancy McNally
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