Michael K. Williams has joined the cast of ABC’s limited series “When We Rise.” Williams, who starred in “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Wire” for HBO and “Hap and Leonard” for Sundance TV, will play African-American community organizer Ken Jones in the project from “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Also joining the miniseries is Ivory Aquino, who will play transgender activist Cecilia Chung.
“When We Rise,” tells the story of the gay-rights movement from its early, tumultuous stages in the 20th century to its enormous strides in recent years. Williams and Chung join a cast that includes Whoopi Goldberg as Pat Norman, the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department; Rosie O’Donnell as Del Martin, co-founder of the first lesbian organization in the country; Denis O’Hare as Jim Foster, openly gay Democratic party organizer; and David Hyde Pierce.
The seven-part series is written by Black, an Academy Award winner for “Milk.” Gus Van Sant, who directed “Milk,” will direct the two-hour series premiere. The two are set to serve as executive producers with Lawrence Mark and Bruce Cohen. Black’s other writing credits include ”Big Love,” “J. Edgar,” and stage play “8.”
“When We Rise” is produced by ABC Studios.