The Oscar-winning “Milk” screenwriter is currently in the midst of a media blitz in support of his seven-part ABC minseries, “When We Rise,” which premieres on Feb. 27 and chronicles the LGBTQ rights movement throughout history. When it came to casting the series, Black told PrideSource that he could officially “call bullsh*t” on those who say they have difficultly finding talented transgender performers to portray trans characters on film and television. (You can view the trailer for “When We Rise” above.)
“First and foremost, when I’m casting any role, I’m gonna look for somebody who can bring a part of their experience to the role. They still have to be a great actor, so if I can’t find anyone in the world who shares some experience that they’re about to portray in this character, who’s also a good actor, then I’ll happily go for someone else,” the 42-year-old told PrideSource’s Chris Azzopardi. To those who say it’s difficult to find skilled trans stars, he added, “They should call our casting directors because they found unbelievable trans actors and actresses, and it was actually tough to decide who to cast.”
Recalling the struggles he had developing “Milk” years ago, Black said he was especially proud to find a home for “When We Rise,” which also stars Guy Pearce and Mary-Louise Parker, on ABC. The network’s decision, he added, feels like a particular subversive one, given that the results of the 2016 presidential election cast a dark cloud on the future of LGBTQ rights.
“We’ve come to a place where we can perhaps talk the same language of family between these two Americas, and perhaps change hearts and minds in a time when that seems absolutely, critically necessary,” he said. “You want to change a mind in that other America? You gotta lead from the heart, and you do that by telling stories.”
He went on to note, “There’s not a lot we think we have in common right now, but both Americas have family stories, and we can both be moved by each other’s family stories.”
Check out the full PrideSource interview with Dustin Lance Black here.
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