Dustin Lance Black's Prop. 8 play has been slowly picking up stars as it makes its way across the U.S., and the latest announcement is one of its biggest -- Brad Pitt will be joining the cast of the West Coast premiere of "8," starring alongside George Clooney and Martin Sheen for its one-night-only reading at Los Angeles' Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday. For this star-studded evening only, the play will also be livestreamed on YouTube.
"8" -- which is presented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact -- follows the trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case AFER filed with the federal district court to overturn the bill eliminating the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled California's ban unconstitutional.
Black -- who won an Academy Award for "Milk" for Best Original Screenplay, and more recently penned the script for "J. Edgar" -- researched for "8" by culling trial transcripts, firsthand accounts from the courtroom and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
"8" began as a one-night-only benefit in New York City last September -- starring Morgan Freeman, Rob Reiner and Marisa Tomei, among others -- but has since announced national plans, including this reading in Los Angeles and dozens of productions across the U.S. where gay marriage battles are underway, including Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Unlike the New York and Los Angeles readings, subsequent productions will star local actors. According to the AP:
More than 40 readings are scheduled from now until November in more than 17 states so far. It will be produced by colleges such as Stanford University in California, Towson University in Maryland and the University of Toledo in Ohio to theater companies such as the Uptown Players in Dallas and the American Repertory Theatre outside Boston. It will also be included in the Williamstown Theatre Festival and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
For the Los Angeles reading, Clooney and Sheen star as plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, respectively, the attorneys known for opposing one another in Bush v. Gore. Pitt will star as United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who found Proposition 8 unconstitutional during its public trial. Walker, who is gay, was criticized by some for his decision, accusing him of gay activism. Others argued he is just a human with a sexual orientation, like any other human.