Van Sant Spills About Milk
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2008 4:58 PM CST

(Newser) – What do President-elect Barack Obama and a 1970s gay activist have in common? Grassroots backing and a yes-we-can ethos, Rachel Abramowitz writes in the Los Angeles Times. “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living,” said Harvey Milk, a San Francisco supervisor and gay-rights activist played by Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant’s upcoming movie, Milk.

The voluble Milk, gunned down by a colleague in 1978, encouraged gays to come out and pursue public office. “He was really idealistic,” said Van Sant, 56, who is gay. The director acknowledges his idiosyncratic films don’t feature the “Ozzie and Harriet” of gay life: “People that live just like straight people except they're gay. I haven't done that story.”