Actor in talks to join Penn in Focus Features film

Josh Brolin is negotiating to star alongside Sean Penn in “Milk,” Focus Features’ biopic about late gay-rights activist Harvey Milk.

Brolin would play Dan White, the San Francisco county supervisor who killed Milk (Penn) and Mayor George Moscone in 1978. Gus Van Sant is directing the project, which will begin lensing next month.

Groundswell Prods. is co-financing the film. Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are producing along with Groundswell CEO Michael London. Dustin Lance Black wrote the script.

Pic will shoot entirely in San Francisco, where Milk became the first openly gay man elected to office in 1977. “Milk” is the first feature about the activist to go before the lens. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have been developing an adaptation of “The Mayor of Castro Street” for 15 years, but their project is in strike limbo. Bryan Singer is attached to direct it for Warner Independent, but Chris McQuarrie didn’t turn his script in before the WGA strike deadline (Daily Variety, Nov. 19).

Brolin stars or co-stars in three kudos contenders: “No Country for Old Men,” “American Gangster” and “In the Valley of Elah.” He recently wrote and directed the short “X.”

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