Laurence here. Sea of Trees; remember that? 2015 wasn't really Gus Van Sant's year, but it seems like he's looking for redeption by going back to his roots. Reuniting with Milk writer, professional Sam Smith-brutaliser and Tom Daley-owner Dustin Lance Black, Van Sant will direct the first episode of ABC miniseries We Will Rise, which is set to follow a diverse group of activists involved in the LGBT+ rights movements.
Other details are scarce but judging by the characters involved, it seems set to centre around HIV/AIDS activism and a particular focus on lesbian activists, so often underrepresented in queer rights narratives, in San Francisco during the early years of the movement there. Guy Pearce has been cast as Cleve Jones, who was played by Emile Hirsch in Milk. And thus far, the cast is rounded out by Carrie Preston as Sally Miller Gearheart, Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy, and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, Diane Jones.
Given the ages of the characters now, we can expect this to be a period drama, with flashbacks - each character has a young actor cast to play their younger self. Yet to be cast are two hopefully prominent roles for people of colour: community organiser Ken Jones and trans HIV activist Cecilia Chung. So far it appears to be only straight actors cast in major roles, which may cause a PR problem for the show.
Nevertheless, the main characters are at least partially a corrective to the usual focal points of these stories. On paper, this could be a great miniseries, and American Crime has proved that ABC has been willing to put dimensional queer stories on screen. But with its champion, former ABC president Paul Lee, out the door, it may not quite be the same.
Who do you think we might see cast in the remaining roles?