You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Van Sant off of ‘Castro St.’

After a year of developing the project, Gus Van Sant has bowed out as the director of Warner Bros.’ planned Harvey Milk biopic “The Mayor of Castro Street” due to creative differences over the script.

Van Sant had a vision of the film that differed from Becky Johnston’s recently delivered rewrite and he wanted to pen his own original draft.

After reading an outline by Van Sant, WB brass, Ixtlan producers Oliver Stone and Janet Yang and Storyline producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron decided to stick to Johnston’s script.

According to Yang, Van Sant told the producers that “he could easily see how someone would want to make this (Johnston’s script), but it wasn’t the movie he was comfortable shooting.”

Based on Randy Shilts’ biography, the story centers on the life and times of openly gay San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, who along with the city’s Mayor George Moscone was assassinated in 1978 by former supervisor Dan White.

A WB spokesman confirmed that Van Sant had left the project over “creative differences.” Zadan and Meron, who originally optioned the book and set the project up at WB, declined comment.

Yang said Friday, “We have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus’ work and thought he would be an ideal choice for the project, but when push came to shove and we had the script that we had worked so arduously to arrive at and absolutely believe in, it wasn’t something Gus wanted to direct.”

The producer said that Van Sant — who was unavailable for comment — saw “Mayor” as a smaller, more intimate movie than WB and the producers envision. Yang said, “…. We need a film that can justify the budget we’re talking about.”

Van Sant had been working with Johnston on the script since last year, but was primarily tied up with directing his latest film, Fine Line’s “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

While there was no official start date set for “Mayor,” the producers had hoped to begin lensing the film this summer.

Yang said while discussions are under way about securing an immediate replacement for Van Sant, nobody had yet been approached.

Van Sant’s agent John Burnham, of the William Morris Agency, declined comment on his client’s departure from “Mayor.”

He said the director’s next project will likely be Buck Henry’s screen adaptation of “To Die For,” which Laura Ziskin and Leslie Morgan are producing for Columbia.

More Film

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content