ABC Greenlights ‘When We Rise’ LGBT Rights Mini With Gus Van Sant Directing

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ABC is reassembling the team of the 2008 movie Milk for another project about the gay rights movement, eight-hour miniseries abclogoWhen We Rise. Milk director Gus Van Sant has joined the mini, written/executive produced by Milk writer Dustin Lance Black and executive produced by the film’s producer Bruce Cohen. The project, which had been in development at ABC for more than two years, has now been officially greenlighted for production with Van Sant directing the first two-hour episode. He will executive produce the mini alongside Black, Cohen and Laurence Mark.

When We Rise chronicles the personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. civil rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to its successes today.

vansantblackThis is the second episodic order for ABC in the past week — the network also gave a 13-episode straight-to-series order to drama Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland.

ABC, once known for its big-budget miniseries, most notably from producers Oprah Winfrey and Robert Halmi Sr., has scaled back on the genre like all broadcasters. Its two most recent efforts, The Assets and the upcoming Madoff, are produced by ABC News’ Lincoln Square Prods. When We Rise comes from ABC Studios.

Milk landed eight Oscar nominations, winning for best screenplay (Black) and best actor (Sean Penn). The film earned Van Sant his second directing Oscar nom following Good Will Hunting.

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