A few weeks ago, the likes of Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths were announced for major role in Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black’s major, 7-part gay rights miniseries, When We Rise. Now some more big names have signed on, with Deadline reporting that Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Denis O’Hare, David Hyde Pierce, Michael K. Williams and Ivory Aquino are set for the show. Williams and Aquino will appear in larger roles, while the others are described as ‘guest stars’.
The show 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 US Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the successes of today. The period piece tells the history of the gay rights movement, starting with the Stonewall Riots in 1969.
Guy Pearce will star as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, who joined the gay liberation movement in 1972 and was befriended by pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. Parker will play women’s rights leader Roma Guy, who co-founded the San Francisco Women’s Building, and as a public health commissioner worked with others to bring healthcare access to all San Franciscans. Griffiths will play her wife, social justice activist Diane.
Deadline adds that, ‘Williams will play African American Community Organizer Ken Jones. Aquino is transgender activist Cecilia Chung. Goldberg is Pat Norman, the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department, O’Donnell plays Del Martin, co-founder of the first Lesbian organization in the country, O’Hare is Jim Foster, openly gay Democratic party organizer, and Pierce will play Dr. Jones, Cleve’s father.’
The series reunites Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black after the Oscar winning success of Milk. Van Sant will also direct the two-hour first episode, both will also produce the other episodes. Shooting is currently underway on the ABC miniseries in Vancouver and San Francisco.