July 31, 2013 12:02pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Dustin Lance Black Developing Miniseries About Gay-Rights Movement at ABC (Exclusive)
ABC is turning to an Oscar winner for its next miniseries.
The network is teaming with Dustin Lance Black to develop an eight-hour scripted miniseries about the history of the gay rights movement, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Black, who won an Oscar for penning the screenplay to the Harvey Milk biopic Milk, will write the series for ABC Studios. Laurence Mark (Julie & Julia) will executive produce the untitled project, which is in development, alongside Black.
The writer-producer, 39, was raised in a strict Mormon house in Texas and has worked tirelessly for marriage equality and gay rights as his career in Hollywood continued to rise.
In addition to winning an Oscar for Milk, Black's credits include HBO's Big Love, the features Pedro (about The Real World's Pedro Zamora), J. Edgar and 8, the 2011 play re-enacting the closing arguments in the federal trial that led to the overturning of California's Proposition 8. For its part, the play was sponsored by the American Federation of Equal Rights -- where Black is a founding board member.
Additionally, Black served as a narrator on 8: The Mormon Proposition, which chronicled the Church of Latter-day Saints' involvement in California's Prop 8. More recently, he's teaming with J.J. Abrams on an untitled earthquake feature and is adapting Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer's book about a double murder within the Mormon church.
For ABC, the Black effort joins the network's miniseries adaptation of David France's Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague, which is in development and follows an improbable group of young people -- many of them HIV-positive young men. The documentary focuses on two coalitions -- ACT Up and Treatment Action Group -- whose activism helped turn AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.
The network also has 13-episode limited series The Black Box, starring Sherlock Holmes' Kelly Reilly, being eyed for a midseason bow. Fellow limited entry The Assets -- an adaptation of the best-seller Circle of Treason -- also is in the works for 2014.
The projects come as ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee is making a push into limited series to fill the gap between the network's split-run dramas as the network's scripted fare pushes pause for the holidays.
Black is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the project is not a semi-autobiographical drama.