Book Smart: Oscar Reads “Milk”
Gus Van Sant’s biopic “Milk” is nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but writer Dustin Lance Black drew heavily on “The Mayor of Castro Street,” Randy Shilts’ 1982 biography of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, played onscreen by the fiery Sean Penn.
Something that sets this movie apart from the pack of plain old biopics is its use of actual archival and documentary footage. But Black also took some liberties with the story—here’s a rundown, so you don’t get caught revising Wikipedia with “facts” from the movie that are as real as Bernie Madoff’s money. INFLUENCE
About telling a “real” story, Van Sant told Filmmaker Magazine, “using real people and their names in Milk was difficult because you can never really get it completely true….It’s like an opera about those people. You can never really get to the real place.”