Guy Pearce, still adored as sassy Adam in the groundbreaking 1994 comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, will star as legendary activist Cleve Jones in the LGBT rights miniseries that has the potential to be our Roots.
As per Variety, Rachel Griffiths and Mary-Louise Parker have also joined the cast of When We Rise, an event miniseries about the battle for LGBT rights and adaption of the Cleve Jones memoir that is set to air on ABC at some point during the 2016/17 television season. Broadway veterans Austin McKenzie from Spring Awakening and Emily Skeggs from Fun Home are also joining the cast as younger versions of Jones and Parker’s women’s rights activist Roma Guy.
Expectations and excitement are high for the movie, an adaptation of Jones’ memoir that marks a reunion for writer Dustin Lance Black and director Gus Van Sant, who last collaborated on a little movie called Milk. That flick of course won Black a screenplay Oscar and star Sean Penn a statue for Best Actor. Van Sant will direct the two-hour first episode of the miniseries.
Black is elated that his dream project is finally getting off the ground:
“It’s been the honor of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years. To have collaborators of this caliber sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all.”
By the way, for all those expecting (or secretly hoping for) a Stonewall-ish whitewashing, the roles of gay African-American LGBT activist Ken Jones and trans pioneer Cecelia Chung will be cast soon.
We can’t wait to watch. This is the first major LGBT-oriented event series on television, and this casting makes us optimistic that they’ll get it right.